Augmented reality is the natural next step off technological mobile applications. Augmented reality gives you just that bit more information when and where you need it.
Layar is a Dutch app, build by Claire Boonstra, Raimo van der Klein and Maarten Lens-FitzGerald from the sprxmobile company. Layar builds on the Android platform. It gives the mobile user immediate feedback on what the camera of his mobile is 'looking' at. The extra information is displayed in layers. You can switch between layers as well.
The examples mentioned are mainly commercial (estate prices, restaurants, hotels...). But this application might be very interesting for educational purposes, to get learners out in the street and amongst the topics they need to learn. Now that is ubiquitous learning if you ask me. And, if you would link augmented reality to the semantic web, we would probably have something like the fourth dimension. Cool idea.
At this moment Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in Android Market for the Netherlands. Other countries will be added later.
Want to hear more about Layar and see it in action? Well lookie here:
It does feel as though the world is becoming less and less surprising though. If everything can be viewed and found... there is not much left for exploration. Unless you are looking for a rundown, very dangerous ghetto to track down a homeless person... those people and areas will probably be the last to be added. I hope humanity will build star-travel-ships soon... need to have some surprises in my life.