Have you seen an augmented reality application? It sounds like one of those technologies that look great in a James Bond movie, but could have no real application in everyday life, but there are some great examples now.
The most simple - in my opinion - is the Google SkyMap. Install the app on your phone and then hold your phone up. The screen shows the stars and planets in the sky beyond where you are holding the phone, so you can look through the phone at the actual stars and look to the phone to see a map of the sky above with the names of the stars.
Worksnug is a great app that helps people when working on the road - when you need a café or place to work for a few hours. Point your phone at a café and Worksnug can tell you how many power sockets there are, whether the music is played loud, and how good the coffee is. Turn around in the street and the app can guide you to another place - even if you can't see it.
But now augmented reality is moving into advertising. Magazines with printed adverts can feature live animation if your phone is placed over the advert - with characters or information jumping off the page.
And the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun has taken this a step further by creating an alternative version of the news. A parent reading the regular newspaper can sit with their child who uses a smartphone or tablet to browse the paper. But when the child places their device in front of the newspaper it creates a special child-friendly version of the same news!
I can see a future where adverts become tailored to an audience of one and the same technology allows useful information to be discovered - almost without effort.
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