Video: Access Internet Content in Physical Context Using Augmented Reality

I recently spoke with Dave Elchoness of GoWeb3D who’s one of the early pioneers in the Augmented Reality (AR, but not to be confused with Analyst Relations) industry. In this above video he gives a demonstration of how information (often from the web) can be over layed on top of physical locations. Unlike Virtual Reality (like the now obscure Second Life) the barriers to entry are mobile devices, internet access, and utility can make this a reality.

Dave’s business GoWeb3D provides a data layer on top of the Dutch Layar browser (update: also see Wikitude “World Browser) which is available for some mobile platforms –iPhone is coming. This browser will allow developers to create data layers what will provide AR experiences. Users of this application can “drop” digital content such as blog posts, photos, videos, for their friends or customers who visit a specific location in real life.

[The promise of Augmented Reality is to provide existing internet content in physical context]


What types of business can benefit from Augmented Reality? Any retail or commercial entity with a physical space, any company that sells physical products, any company that does advertising in real life. Despite the promises the biggest challenges will be creating useful applications beyond the ‘cool’ factor. I’ve been using the Yelp “Monacle” feature, which is an interesting first generation –yet the data isn’t always accurate.

I’m still chalking this space as “to watch” as we should first expect growth to happen in the mobile social web first, let’s keep an eye on promising emerging technology as it quickly comes around.

24 Replies to “Video: Access Internet Content in Physical Context Using Augmented Reality”

  1. Sounds like science fiction (Old Man’s War and Rolling Thunder come to mind in fact) and it’s a great idea …

    … but how many people are willing to walk down the street with a phone held out in front of them / are there any other ways this information could be delivered?

    On a side note I’m half surprised foursquare wasn’t mentioned. Combining discovery with communication of said discoveries will only make this more alluring (if they can avoid considering each other competitors that is).

  2. Brian

    Foursqure is really a mobile or location based social network –a different blog post I’m working on.

    I don’t expect people to walk around with the iphone on their forehead –but to use as a navigation device.

  3. I think that the accuracy issue that you mentioned is a key one as it speaks directly to the consumer experience and subsequently adoption. One question: when will the hardware that consumer’s phones are running be in a position to deliver upon the experiences that are necessary for this tech to take off? (wrote more about the hardware issues here: http://weareorganizedchaos.com/index.php/2009/08/20/calm-down-augmented-reality-for-your-mobile-phone-wont-be-as-useful-as-promised/)

    I think that utilizing “markers” could be one potential workaround to the accuracy issue you raised, but my understanding is that America’s “favorite cell phone”, the iphone, doesn’t currently support that functionality (unless you jailbreak your phone which some early adopters may do, but not the general public).

    As for foursquare, it’s a very interesting company, but not many in LA (where I live) have adopted it. Obviously, that results in an underwhelming consumer experience (similar to my first experiences on Twitter on early ’07), the “people” make these offerings compelling and it takes time to build those communities organicly.

  4. That is amazing…..technology is becoming tooo much nowadays. What will they come up with next.

  5. I’m already chalking this space as “to bust”, over-hyped before it’s even hit solid ground. Anything halfway-remotely “interactive” will be wantonly labeled, “AR”. Companies will experiment on the sides, the marketing/ad agencies will use the ‘isn’t-technology-cool gee-whiz, golly-gee’ factors to hook the curious and play up as an offering, (some already are), but once the hard numbers come in, drop-off serious, and AR will insure itself a honored place in the “VR”, “Web 2.0”, “viral marketing” buzzwordized trash-bins.

    Neat gadgetry tech, not meeting any real demand. Fun for the first few times, no repeat value after. Another buzz bubble up, then flame-out.

  6. Exciting to see things like this start to pop up. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how this will work in the future. The technology isn’t there yet but it’s exciting to think of what will come. I would be interested in finding some companies that are going beyond the limitations of a cell phone for AR — for connectivity in a much broader sense. Know of any?

  7. This is a great guy and I’m sure a wonderful businessman! You could check site for more improvement on your business partners. Click at this link http://www.mattarney.com. Combining discovery with communication of said discoveries will only make this more alluring (if they can avoid considering each other competitors that is).

  8. I agree with Jeremiah’s point on waiting for greater growth in the mobile web. Due to the greater proliferation of mobile browsing in other parts of the globe I would also expect this technology to gain a foothold overseas before american consumers really take to it. We’ve already got fairly good access to information so some elements of AR solve a problem we don’t have, but in more crowded urban areas AR could be of greater use.

    I’m sure we’re all excited to see what marketing tactics will be built around this technology, but I’m especially interested in seeing how artists will treat this medium.

  9. this kind of AR (abstracted reality) strikes me, I must say, as a kind of madness to take everything away
    from “knowing” in a natural realworld way. GPSes are the beginning of virtual driving, which is one of
    the last places people are forced to pay attention. why do we need this? we need to figure out if
    there’s any chance to save nature not distance ourselves from it more.

    see what living in the country does to you?

  10. I think that the accuracy issue that you mentioned is a key one as it speaks directly to the consumer experience and subsequently adoption. One question: when will the hardware that consumer's phones are running be in a position to deliver upon the experiences that are necessary for this tech to take off? (wrote more about the hardware issues here: http://weareorganizedchaos.com/index.php/2009/0…)

    I think that utilizing “markers” could be one potential workaround to the accuracy issue you raised, but my understanding is that America's “favorite cell phone”, the iphone, doesn't currently support that functionality (unless you jailbreak your phone which some early adopters may do, but not the general public).

    As for foursquare, it's a very interesting company, but not many in LA (where I live) have adopted it. Obviously, that results in an underwhelming consumer experience (similar to my first experiences on Twitter on early '07), the “people” make these offerings compelling and it takes time to build those communities organicly.

  11. as we should first expect growth to happen in the mobile social web first, let’s keep an eye on promising emerging technology as it quickly comes around.

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