Layar, which is a free appliction for mobile phones – is the first to give you an augmented reality browser in the world.
What is an augmented reality you may ask and how does it work?
Starting up the Layar application automatically activates the camera. What you see on your mobile is exactly what you see on your phone. The difference with Layar is it would actually show you another layer (like an overlay) of specific things such as bars, restaurants, information on properties for sale and it can also overlay a map of where you are precisely located which moves with you as you move your phone. In other words, if you start moving your mobile phone pointing from east to west, the map overlay also moves showing you exactly the way you are pointing your camera.
How does it work and what technology do they use?
Layar uses API from their launching partners and local market leaders such as ;
- ING(bank), Funda (reality website), Hyves (social network), Tempo-team (temp agency) and Zekur.nl (healthcare provider).
- Local search (powered by Google) which is said to be their first global layer in their application. Through this, Layar is then able to use maps and locate your exact position in relation to your queries or search.
- Layar is derived from location based services and works on mobile phones that include a camera, GPS and a compass. It is firstly available for handsets with the Android operating system (the G1 and HTC Magic).
- The embedded GPS automatically knows the location of the phone and the compass determines in which direction the phone is facing. Each partner provides a set of location coordinates with relevant information which forms a digital layer.
- By tapping the side of the screen the user easily switches between layers. This makes Layar a new type of browser which combines digital and reality, which offers an augmented view of the world
Here is a video to show you exactly how this works;
We hope this explains a little bit more of what Layar is all about. Now for the final verdict of “pros” and “cons”.
- This is the first of its kind and we’re looking forward to using this technology.
- The other possibilities to use this application are enormous. Just the ability to point to a property and find out exactly its price and also to be able to drive around and find out which properties are for rent.
- This would be very useful in promoting local attractions and is a great promotional tool for the tourism industry.
- The application is only currently available on the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in Android market for the Netherlands.
- The only country it’s available at the moment is in Netherlands and soon to be rolled out in UK, Germany and US this year.
- We would like for Layar to consider launching here in Australia this year as well. We’re pushing hard for this folks and we’ll keep you updated.