10 technologies to watch in 2011
12/15/2010 1:01 AM EST
Augmented reality: Geotagging the real world
Augmented reality, or the overlay of information on live images via a device display, has already been proved in military applications such as heads-up windscreen displays in fighter aircraft. Now consumer AR is coming to GPS-enabled camera phones.
In 2011, Apple, Google and a dozen startups plan to offer apps and systems that will relay commercial information—such as what's on sale at the various stores in the mall you're visiting—AR-style. Even Intel Capital is looking to cash in on the craze by investing in Layar (Amsterdam, Netherlands), an AR platform company that offers online tools for the development community.
But social networking may be the killer AR app. Sekai Camera, for instance, lets users leave their own AR posts at points of interest. A visitor to an ice cream shop, for instance, could aim a phone's camera at the front of the shop and type a message recommending the soft-serve pistachio. Other Sekai Camera users would see the pistachio fan's posting when they aimed a camera phone at the shop.
Viewing Tokyo's skyline with Sekai Camera reveals hundreds of user-supplied geo-tags highlighting points of interest in the style of social-media.
— R. Colin Johnson