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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wow. Layer's Object Recognition AR Kills The QR Code Star | Fast Company

Which is where Layar Vision changes everything: What if you could hold your AR-enabled iPhone up to something in real life that you just came across--say the cover of Fast Company magazine--and get an overlay of data about it, perhaps an option to click to this webpage or a special offer of subscriptions?  That's something Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald, founder of Layar, suggested to us is one of the most powerful exploits of the new tech. Vision really does behave like Google Goggles does: When Layar "sees" an item it recognizes, wherever it may be, it returns data to your phone immediately. In Google's case it's just it's traditional search result list, accessed in a very visual way. In Layar, it results in whatever action has been associated with the object. All it takes, Maarten explains, is for the developer to choose the planar object they'd like to be recognizable, upload it to Layar's servers to act as a fingerprint, and then the app does all the rest.

The object can be anything from a poster to a magazine to a small item, and the action can be anything from overlaying a 3-D graphic to playing a video file to sending you to a webpage. Maarten was careful to note "I really think that for the publishing industry it'll work best" at first: "Say you just wrote a book and want to market it. Upload a picture of the cover to our server" and then you can "link a bio, a photo of the author, a video or you can show a 3-D object, for instance a spaceship if it's a sci-fi novel." And from there, for the user who sees the AR effect, it's "so easy then to say 'I Like this' or I'll Tweet this or comment on this," perhaps meaning the "real world can now be very easily linked to the digital world." 

Instantly there's the power of this system, laid bare. Layar developers really can "hack reality" now. Imagine, Lens-Fitzgerald suggests, that there are really practical uses: "Say you're buying chicken in the supermarket, and you hold your phone over it--then you can see there're antibiotics in the meat" for this particular package, because a developer has made a food facts database, and uploaded an image of the typical store chicken label, linking it perhaps "to an article by Reuters about it". That's one way to circumvent, or subvert, advertising, but of course advertising may be one of the earliest beneficiaries of this development, alongside publishing. As a magazine, you could upload your next cover art to Layar, and give the first 1,000 visitors who click on the Layar-discovered hyperlink a prize or gift of some sort. Meanwhile advertizers could plop a 3-D image of the latest sleek concept car onto the flat 2-D image in a two-page newspaper ad, adding in all sorts of interactivity and detailed specs.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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