Thursday, October 01, 2009

Augmented Reality on iPhone

Augmented reality is another one of those technologies that I saw demoed at the Media Lab way back in 1997, and finally in 2009 it gets commercialized. (The Kindle and eInk was the other example).

But the new iphone augmented reality apps offers tremendous potential. Yelp already lets you point your iphone camera at stores or restaurants, and it will annotate the image with information about the store. I'm sure Google Earth will soon do the same with even more info including wikipedia entries and photos.

It's like those fancy head's up displays in military aircraft.

But the gaming potential is neat. This upcoming game will put invisible aliens in the world around you, visible only when peering through your iphone screen (like the special sunglasses in that old 80's movie), which you shoot by pointing your phone at them.

Taking advantage of the fact that iPhones connect to the Internet is even more impressive. The video showed shooting aliens in the world around you, but you could also shoot other people also logged in. Your screen revealing the hidden players amongst the people around you. You could play a real FPS in your office or outside in a field. Literally run over powerups, get healed at certain stations, get special weapons, shoot things in the environment like cars to make them blow up, etc. A bunch of Stanford kids tried something similar without the fancy video a year ago, that didn't catch on, and probably the tech is still too slow to really do this well, but it is not far away.

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