GEOG 583
Geospatial System Analysis and Design

Technology Trends: Augmented Reality

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A quickly growing area of location-centric technology concerns the development of Augmented Reality systems, which are systems that are designed to present digital information to users based on what they are looking at in reality. For example, using augmented reality glasses, you could look at a building on the street and the system could overlay details about who owns the building, the number of occupants, and when it was built. Augmented reality tools are likely to end up on your phone before they end up in a special pair of glasses, as several companies are already prototyping such systems that would use the camera on your phone to survey a scene and present digital details about that scene as overlays on the phone display.

Here's a very short (but compelling) video demonstrating Layar, which is a free augmented reality "browser" designed for mobile phones. Even though the examples shown here are quite simple, I am sure you can imagine the potential for this sort of technology.

Please watch the following video, Layar - Impactful Augmented Reality in Your Everyday Life (2:15)

Transcript of Layar Video

Layar is a platform where everybody can create their own fantastic augmented reality experiences.

Augmented reality is a new mass medium. That's where the real world is combined with digital.

We're gonna bring these digital experiences into reality. You’re going to engage into reality with this new medium.

Today with Layar you can experience history, art, ATM finder, real estate for sale, how things looked 10 years ago 1,600 years ago, Foursquare, Twitter, tourism, sports, commerce, gaming, social… Gaming, and augmented reality is a completely new job. Interacting with objects right in front of you… you know, we got crazy s**t on there. It's you moving around, experiencing it. Whatever you want, whatever you want to see, it's all in there.

One of the best things about augmented reality is that you can create anything. You can make your own world. There are no barriers, there are no limits to what is possible when your reality is your canvas.

The medium is really in its infancy. We’re only getting started. We're in the 1994 of the Internet. We're at the moment when radio became TV.

The future of Layar is bright. I see a future where augmented reality is a very prominent place in everyday life.

It's exciting, you know. Everyday at Layar we get one step closer to realizing our dream and every day brings more confidence that we are on the right track. With Layar, we want to bring impactful augmented reality into the everyday life of people.

The next video expands the notion of Augmented Reality a bit further and demonstrates brand new technology that allows you to project displays directly onto the environment. This may not sound very impressive, but trust me when I say it is pretty unbelievable what is already possible. I think you will see right away why we will want to consider this technology in the future when we're envisioning new GIS systems.

Please watch the following video, The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology | Pranav Mistry, (15:19).

Watch the TED video with interactive transcript available at linked site.

Deliverables for this week's technology trend:

  1. Post a comment in the Lesson 4 Technology Trends Discussion in Canvas that describes how you could envision using or incorporating aspects of Augmented Reality in the design of GIS systems. What unique capabilities does it offer, and what tasks do you think it would best support?
  2. Then, I'd like you to offer additional insight, critique, a counter-example, or something else constructive in response to one of your colleagues' posts.
  3. Brownie points for linking to other technology demos, pictures, blog posts, etc., that you've found to enrich your posts so that we may all benefit.