Tag: Augumented Reality
Tying together two recent posts, the WiFi tech that Apple is exorcising from it’s app database is the same technology that makes GeoSense work on GPS less laptops.
On a side note I think Sekai Camera was one of the few Augumented reality apps that developed well. The comments places were far more location specific than Layar’s display.
By finding your location with nearby WiFi Access Points. Not such a big deal on iPhone since it has GPS but it just shows how useful a tool it is.
I’ve said it before but whenever I mention it around others online it starts an instant flame war.
Augmented reality is ALL gimmick.
So to quantify that I’m going to post some evidence. Remember these apps are supposed to simplify you life by making it easier to find other people or locations in your immediate area. Try to keep in mind the usefulness of what you see; don’t fall into the, “Gee shucks! It put words over a live camera image!” mentality.
Image 1 Layar:
This is a layer on Layar that shows where government stimulus money went. It’s basically tying the money to the buildings in charge of the department that got the money.
The Augmented Reality version on the left.
Look closely and imagine you’re trying to got to one of these locations. Apart from the useful radar map in the corner the dots don’t match up to anything in the real life image. It fails on every level in that you are now constricting your vision in to a 320×480 rectangle full of data that has no relation to anything else. Other than turning to face your destination and walking a straight line (through the buildings and across busy streets) you have no help in getting to your destination. And you lose awareness of your surroundings while increasing the danger of walking into moving traffic, an open manhole cover, or other pedestrians.
Now focus on the normal version on the right. Basically what google maps or any existing navigation software can get you.
Wow, now we can actually see where those dots are in relation to each other and our location, not to mention how to navigate the streets to get to them. Compare the radar image in the corner to see that you’re still facing basically the same direction but the data makes so much more sense now.
Image 2 Stalqer
This is a social networking program that shows where your friends. Imagine you’re in a big city and you need to find all 113 of your GPS phone carrying friends within a 50k radius.
From our view from what is apparently the Carlton Ritz valet drop off we can see that buddy Rob with the $90 pre-worn cap from American Eagle is hiding behind a stack of luggage to the right. Just left of center our buddy the “The Larch,” is in the trunk of a car, and under the hood some dude in a suit is getting a picture with Richmond. Thanks to AR It looks like there’s a party in the Ritz parking lot and everybody’s invited!
Now we can actually see where everybody is. Which is the point of the whole app in the first place!
Now the usually disclaimer. AR is actually quite amazing when deployed correctly, however nothing available on a phone currently is at that level. Not to mention that it currently being shoe-horned into gimmicky uses that provide nothing other than “Gee Shucks!” moments. I have a friend who was toying with AR on his phone pointing to me the direction that all his contacts were which ultimately provided me with NO information since they were all across the city. Not to mention that it’s was so inaccurate it pointed to me as being at home 20 miles away.
Watching somebody show off and AR app to somebody else reminds me of when the iPhone app store first opened and iPhone users would use their “lightsaber apps” to have imaginary lightsaber duels. I’m sure they were having fun but it’s the nerd version of a circle-jerk; from the perspective of everybody outside their bubble they look like fools that shouldn’t allowed in public with socially stable individuals.
Here’s hoping that AR eventually evolves into a useful tool that can enrich our lives. But please people open you eyes and quit raving over the current useless tech baubles that only impresses people as blind as yourself.
A new fad showing up among smartphone users is “Augmented Reality”; think of it as the way The Terminator sees the world. You look at something and all its stats flash into view, allowing you steal the right sized clothes off their owner, hotwire a motorcycle, and hunt down John Connor.
Unfortunately reality isn’t as cool or as useful. Right now we can take a phone with a camera and depending where you face it will overlay what subway stations are in that direction. Using location software like Google Latitude to map where friends are it would be possible to overlay the location of your friends like this too (except Latitude doesn’t work in the background so you have to kill it to see others, if they do the same nobody can see each other).
There are problems in reality us techies tend to ignore that stop this from being a true “killer app” and instead just a gimmick.
Current software isn’t really giving you anything you can’t get more accurately with an overhead map view. To simulate distance the sign is either at the top of the screen or the bottom rather than close or fading in the distance. Plus the subway that you’re heading to may be in that direction but it doesn’t take into account what is in between; so you may end up getting lost even more by making a bee line to the location rather than taking the correct streets to route around buildings, canals, and major uncrossable roads that could easily be seen and routed around with traditional navigation software. Imagine a metropolis like Tokyo with tons of maze like dead-ends where you can end up right next to the subway, but have a giant building blocking you from the entrance.
Overlaying a signpost in the direction of an object is cool but not really useful compared to existing tech, plus it’s processor intensive for the visual representation which leads to lag in displaying the info accurately. More intriguing is the ability to see an object or person, and download meta-data from the internet about them. However the only deployments of this have been too complex to work outside of demonstration.
It is cool stuff that will hopefully mature into something incredibly useful (like Terminator vision) but for now it’s just a gimmick with no real world value.
More info, and a more favorable view at Ars.