I was instantly jealous when I first saw a demo of the Layar augmented reality browser for Android smartphones. Now, a year later, AR has finally made its way to the Symbian OS.
The app that makes it happen is called Wikitude. Let’s have a look…
Here’s a list of the available layers when I start up Wikitude here in Toronto, Canada (your options may vary depending on your region):
- Arch Inform
- Foursquare Venues
- Google Local
- Gowalla Spots
- Last.fm Events
- Meetup Events
- Ontario Museum Association
- Windfinder.com Wind & Weather Forecast
- University of Waterloo
- Yahoo! Upcoming
- Zooners Events
- Zooners Places
Along with these shamelessly commercial ones:
- Best Buy
- Harley Davidson Stores
- Hertz Car Rental
- Irish Pubs Worldwide
- Starbucks in US
One or more of the companies above might well be funding Wikitude through some strategic partnership, but it kind of irks me that some of the commercial layers are selected by default when I launch the app.
Anyway, here’s Wikitude in action, nowhere near a Best Buy or Harley Davidson Store:
Using it is as simple as calibrating your compass and scanning the horizon for points of interest. To find out more about a particular POI just select and click on it as I’ve done here.
The potential for augmented reality is huge, from navigating around a foreign city to checking home values in a particular neighbourhood to (one day) grabbing someone’s url and/or social media handle as they approach you at a conference or singles bar.
It’s not something you’ll want to run constantly — at least until battery technology improves and someone makes a half-decent pair of AR glasses — but it’s probably the most powerful demo of near-future technology that you can show off today. And it’s finally available for my Nokia.