This past month the specter of augmented reality, which in the past had been mostly research papers and speculation, has slowly been turning into real products.  With a nice long three day weekend to relax, I thought I’d reflect on the more important happenings of augmented reality.

Augmented Reality Apps


The hottest topic for augmented reality apps was the easter egg in the iPhone app Yelp.  With three shakes of the iPhone, the Monocle application would be unlocked allowing camera based AR.  The impact of this application on the news can be seen in this technorati tag tracker:

Yelp Bump







Wikitude Drive

Wikitude, the creators of the first reality browser, gave a preview of their augmented reality navigation system for the Android.  The navigational system called Wikitude Drive overlays point-to-point directions on the camera view.  Some concerns were expressed about safety for the driver, but this application is no different than any navigation system already on the market.  And for you iPhone junkies, don’t worry, they’ll be releasing it on that smartphone as well. 

And while I’m on Wikitude, they also released Wikitude 3.0, an enhanced version of wikitude.me.  Read the article for more details. 


Layar 2.0

Competing for the mindshare of future “reality browsers”, Layar has done a good job of getting its product noticed even though it came six months after the Wikitude app.  Layar is already onto version 2.1, making improvements to its browser like linking within Layars and sharing screenshots. 



Living up to his promise of AR education games for kids, Ori’s company Ogmento brings us a demo of their Put-A-Spell game for young children. 


iPhone OS 3.1

Of course, this operating system isn’t an app, but its precursor to an assumed flood of AR apps we’re expecting to see when 3.1 finally becomes live.  Expected in September, grumblings of delays have been speculated based on progress in beta.  When it finally does drop, expect to see a huge spike in augmented reality articles. 



AR Goggles


While we’re still a ways from augmented vision, its still nice to track progress of augmented reality goggles.  Ori Inbar gives us a peak into the progress of AR goggles in an interview with Zvi Lapidot, CEO of Lumus.  While we can’t expect to see a commercial product from Lumus until 2011, mostly due to a lack of VC funding, we can take a look at this demo from them.



While we’re still waiting for the AV920 Wrap to be released this fall, Vuzix has updated their website with a page with an AR Education Group.  This group will focus on training services for various industries from medical to military with both off-the-shelf training and custom. 



At the recent SDForum, research fellow Kari Pulli, talked about Nokia’s take on mobile augmented reality.  They believe the future to be, not on handsets, but in AR goggles and are developing a prototype model.  The slide show can be seen here.


Interesting Articles

Eight months ago, I could keep up with all the discussion easily.  Now many new hats are being thrown into the ring.  I’d like to point out my favorite articles from around the ARNet.

Games Alfresco, Ori InbarWhy People Get Excited About Augmented Reality  

Ori gives us a nice rundown of the influence of science fiction on technology and how augmented reality will bring us: x-ray vision, time travel and teleportation.


Ugo Trade, Tish ShuteEverything Everywhere: Thomas Wrobel’s Proposal for an Open Augmented Reality Network

Showing what a great discussion Thomas unleashed, the comment section was nearly as long as the article itself.  As a frequent contribuitor on the AR blogs, it was nice to see Thomas outline his vision for the future of augmented reality. 


Bruce SterlingAt the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry

This video was recorded at the Layar Launch Event.  Bruce Sterling, a promenant sci-fi author who helped bring about the cyberpunk movement, gives us a rundown of down-market cheesy AR, who’s leading the AR development race, what to call augmented reality and other ramblings on a fledgling industry.  Bruce is also writting regularly about augmented reality and other wired topics on his blog Beyond the Beyond


Marshall Kirkpatrick, ReadWriteWebAugmented Reality: 5 Barriers to a Web That’s Everywhere

The challenges to an augmented reality world are more than the sum of its parts.  Marshall breaks down these challenges in five parts: Social vs. Real-Time, UX, Spam and Security, Interoperability and Openness. 


Rouli Nir, Augmented TimesLooking for a Modern Day Chaplin

Rouli explains why we need more storytelling and mystery in our AR applications.  As he says, “content not technology is the way forward.”


This hits a nice cross-section of my favorite articles from the last month.  I also would like to point to the three articles on my own site that got the most traffic: Proposal: Augmented Reality Scale, 10 Things Your AR App Must Have to Succeed, and 10 Franchises That Need Augmented Reality.

I’d like to say that I discussed all the major happenings from the past month, but the volume of AR information coming out lately makes that impossible.  For the items I have missed, I suggest checking out the Weekly Linkfest on Games Alfresco/Augmented Times (of course, most of my readers, also read that site, but for those that aren’t yet):

 Weekly Linkfest – Sept 6th

WeeklyLinkfest – August 30th

Weekly Linkfest – August 23rd

Weekly Linkfest – August 16th


Lastly, if you’re still not on the augmented reality bandwagon, I present to you the most recent augmented reality trends graph on Google trends.



Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

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