Today we'll be looking at some Augmented reality apps and web services. Augmented reality is basically blending reality with internet information. This has been portrayed in movies like the Terminator when a T-1000 looks at people walking through a mall and identifies friendlies based on looking up historical data and whether or not they're armed. These next two apps aren't quite that extreme but it's a huge first step into an internet augmented world:
Layar - This application lets you take information that's geotagged on the web and overlays it on the camera screen of your mobile phone. Right now it's working on Android based phones as well as the iPhone and is really freaky some of the things you can overlay. There's twitter integration so you can see where buddies within a set area have said, very cool when going to an event (if not a bit of information flood i'm sure). You can also see yellowbook type information to look up businesses and places to eat around you. It can also look for 3D art like the Love statue in Philadelphia. If you try this app out at Penn State you'll be able to find a structure that no longer exists at PSU, something even cooler I think as you can see what used to be near North Halls. This has great potential when looking for those looking to learn more about the world around them as more services get online but Wikipedia is already in there and very useful!
Google Goggles - Sorry iPhone fans, right now this is Android only and wow is it mindblowing. Google's been investing heavily in voice and visual search technologies. Goggles allows you to take a picture of something and get search results about it. It's still very early on but it already does a fantastic job of recognizing text, popular logos, and artwork. I took a picture of the Drupal painting in my office and it came up with drupal.org and the official drupal logo. Then I took a picture of a painting in a Deb's office and it brought up the artist, time period, web images of it and wikipedia entries about it. The same for books too. I took a picture of the cover of an art history book and it asked if I wanted to buy the book and came up with search results about the author. Take a picture of someone's contact info and it will ask if you want to add them...yes...it's that crazy! In a future article I'm going to go over to the Palmer to see how accurate it is if they'll allow me to go. Very cool stuff, great way to learn about places and things you may be unfarmiliar with (it can identify landmarks too though I haven't been able to test).
Apture - You can see this in action down below this text. Apture is a js web service that lets you build out players similar to the one below with VERY minimal effort. A few clicks and you have a site looking that much more professional. It also keeps viewers on the page instead of taking them to whoever provided the content (which could tick some people off down the road if this is widely adopted I think). Check it out though, very easy way to find content for a course and integrate it in a slick looking interface.