Augmented Reality: “There’s an app for that”

Augmented reality applications have made a big splash this summer with video and GPS enable mobile devices which allow live stream images to merge with digitally overlaid data to create an augmented view of the world in real time.

Here are a few applications that have caught my attention:

Nearest Tube – AR app that shows you the direction and distance to nearest subway entrances. (YouTube video)

Layar – augmented reality browser letting you view information about the world around you.
(YouTube video)

Yelp - this augmented reality app provides you with information and reviews about local restaurants. (YouTube video)

When I think of where this technology might take us, my minds wanders to all sorts of apps. Just think what it might mean to real estate and home buying (I see an AR app that let’s me view home values and property tax rates while I drive down the street) or comparison shopping (just point your phone’s camera at a product and the AR app tells you not only the competition’s price, but also calculates the distance to other store and gives you the total cost of the alternative including your added cost of gas and travel).

When I shift my thinking about AR apps to the physical library space I see our whole collection opening up before our eyeballs. Imagine the ability to walk down an aisle and see the reviews and popularity of an entire shelf titles just by pointing the camera lens on your phone at the spines (or outfacing covers).

Indeed, augmented reality apps are just in their very earliest infancy. But it’s interesting to think and ponder the possibilities… because if you can think it up, you can be sure to bet that “there’s (going to be) an app for that.

What library AR apps can you imagine?


Unknown said...

To further your example of using AR apps in the physical library...

I have long been dreaming of technology that would collocate like items that are currently scattered physically (due to classification schemes). This is particularly problematic in interdisciplinary topics, like Food Studies. In a digital environment it's no big deal, but it sure limits DISCOVERY in the physical world.

In a public library it could take shape as simply as "If you like X, you might like Z." And then the AR provides the user with a way to find "Z." :-)

Thanks for the great post. Thinking about this stuff jazzes me to no end.

martin said...

I use a neat app on my blackberry for comparison shopping. It's not as cool as you envision, but I'm sure we'll get there.

Kerry said...

I browse bookstores for new titles of interest and then go home and check online to see if the library has any of them. Maybe an app go let me point my device at a title in the store (or at a magazine or newspaper review that I happen to be reading) and bring up the closest library location for that title.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long it will be before we get something comparable in the U.S. Talk about changing the nature of guided tours ... of towns, museums, whatever. Very cool.

JenWaller said...

@the1tbone: AR's potential to change the nature of guided tours, museums, etc. has implications for education and instruction too!

FIU Medical Library said...

Thanks for the great post! The automatic trackback does not seem to work between WP and Blogger.
So here is what I thought after reading this post. "When I think about AR, I see the whole world, the real physical world in which I move, live, play, and work, being transformed into a gigantic library. The library is no longer one place where you go for information. AR brings information to the world and makes it a library of your own. This library is not only extremely fun because you can interact with it in real time, but also immediately intelligible. Your perception is augmented by your mind. Information is provided in its context. This library is the real world layered with information over it. AR presents the world infused with information, an amazing library that is your breathing, living environment."

Batarang said...

Bokodes are a cool technology in this vein.