Back in summer 2008 I wrote a whitepaper for some of our clients about Cloud and Crowd based creativity and the need to break digital out into the real world away from screens and desks. Back then I included an image by the excellent Petit Invention as a concept vision for the future of mobile search.
Technology moves quickly and a couple of months later there was already a working prototype in the form of Wikitude AR Travel Guide. Using the Android OS on the G1 phone…
“users may hold the phone’s camera against a spectacular mountain range and see the names and heights displayed as overlay mapped with the mountains in the camera. Users may look out of an airplane window to see what is down there. Users may walk through a city like Seville, Spain, holding the phone’s camera against a building and Wikitude tells what it is.”
The application shows that augmented reality can go beyond the initial wow factor (and the peering around the back of an A4 print-out pointed at your webcam while trying to see something on your screen) and the Second Life comparisons.
IBM’s Seer Android Beta produced to support it sponsorship of the Wimbledon tennis tournament also shows a commercial application going beyond “marketing fluff”. Using it, visitors can find facilities on ground (locating the nearest restrooms), but more impressively, they can “point the phone at a tennis court, find out the court number and also who’s playing and more crucially, who’s winning”.
Once AR comes to the iPhone properly in an easily accessible form then I think we’ll see a whole new level of usage. The 3G S’s compass combined with Google Latitude and Wikipedia overlays would definitely add up to a powerful and socially changing experience.
Priority Mail’s AR Box Simulator also points at a future for an entertaining application usage but in the meantime here is a collection of 10 augmented reality campaigns that are much more in the fun and novelty area.