It seems that reality just isn’t cutting it anymore. We humans want to supersize reality, layer more and more stuff on top of reality to really trick it out. Innovative folks out there have been working to develop Augmented Reality technology since 1992, creating applications that blend our real physical world with computer-generated virtual imagery, and the results are pretty darn interesting.
There are some new mobile applications out there that help you, among other things, find subway stops, restaurants, identify landmarks, navigate the roads, identify someone’s face and pull up all of their online profile information, or pull up all of the wikipedia entries about your surroundings. If it can be layered on top of reality, someone’s figuring out how to do it.
For instance, take a look at this Yelp! app that uses the camera and GPS on your iPhone to tell you instant information about the restaurants around you.
This Top 6 countdown of hot mobile Augmented Reality apps explains where we are today and gives you a taste of the future possibilities of this technology.
And here’s a great example of an Augmented Reality digital hologram, used by GE to promote their Smart Grid technologies. You print off a special page and hold it in front of your web cam to view the hologram.
Lastly, this video shows an iPhone app that uses Augmented Reality to teach kids spelling. Watch out, children of the future!
Despite its early 90′s origins, which in Computerland makes Augmented Reality practically ancient, the possibilities of this technology are still nascent. The applications and graphics still feel a bit primitive (though, admittedly, in a futuristic way), and the overall consensus among techno geeks everywhere is that we’re just taking the first steps in what will be a huge leap forward for reality as we know it.