Smartphone ‘Augmented Reality’ Will Transform World’s Great Cities to Reflect Your Interests


Augmented reality software company Junaio is showing off what’s possible with the world’s fastest mobile phones.

In the near future, as you stroll down the street, billboards and street signs will change to suit your interests. Ghostly arrows will float in the air, pointing you toward your destination. Buildings, vehicles, the apparel of those you pass, and the very fabric of the reality you perceive will all be as changeable as your wardrobe.

That’s the vision of futurists and science fiction authors like Vernor Vinge, and increasingly, it’s the reality brought to us by mobile devices.

Junaio’s goal is to “make the digital world surrounding us a natural experience,” which means “not just showing some type of information on top of a camera image, but truly embedding the digital information into the real world as a natural experience. That means it has to be accurately aligned to the real world.”

Junaio_cities_ar_system2_620 Previously, optical tracking for augmented reality applications was limited to two-dimensional objects. But with better hardware, true augmented reality has begun to emerge. All-visual processing of scenes allows for a more-perfect alignment of the “augmented” reality with the real reality than any other technology — localization via GPS and related technologies just can’t cut it, and the accelerometers meant to tell phones their current orientation in space are primitive at best. As Metaio’s spokesman notes:

“Now, since the real world is three dimensional — it’s not always a magazine or a movie poster — we are moving to 3D optical tracking. Which means that we can take any kind of 3D object. It can be curved, but it can be also, like a city, very complex, and use that as a reference for optical tracking.”

Digital artists who learn to re-appropriate the city with the most innovative augmented reality add-ons won’t just bring themselves fame and fortune — they’ll also be attracting others to the places they love.

Down­load ju­naio for free at the iPhone App Store or An­droid Mar­ket­place and ex­pe­ri­ence the Aug­ment­ed City.

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