If you have been reading my blog for long enough you will remember that during the Second Life boom, I was supportive of the principle that media would be changed by new capabilities around ‘virtual’ or ‘reality’, even if Second Life might or might not turn out to be ‘next big thing’ in quite the way some of its supporters believed.
My new HP laptop features a built in web cam and 3G card, (it has even got a rather cute keyboard light that on transatlantic flights has been useful when they darken the cabin!). So though its form factor is large, it’s a perfectly capable full communication and interaction device at every level from connected to wireless, sound to video. In other words a decent PC today is a fully functional multimedia device.

It’s a bit like the broadband issue. When it becomes relatively ubiquitous then we get a shift in thinking and new ways to use the bandwidth. Just as in turn in past times we saw the web, and Wi-Fi, all driving significant new uses. So with this in mind I find the decision by Esquire Magazine, (and yes the name puzzled me as previously I thought this was a kind of Playboy style magazine but this seems to not be the case today at least) to be the first provider of augmented reality very interesting.
Esquire is a magazine, currently only on sale in the USA I think, that if you hold up any article in the magazine to a web cam it will automatically bring up a 3D interactive extension of the article. Neat eh? You can see a full demo on their website even if you can’t actually get the magazine to try it out for real. Hats off to Esquire for what I believe is the first example of a general commercial magazine bringing this to a mainstream audience.
Now this blog is all about getting you to systematically go to all the links that I have provided and get to really experience what can be done with augmented reality, and at the same time keep thinking about just what you could apply this technology to. Start off with instruction manuals, as a thought, and then really go for it!
The topic and the techniques have been quietly developing for some time and you can get a really good flavour of what can be done on Chris Lake’s blog featuring ten mind-blowing augmented reality apps and videos. You really have to follow this link and look at the GE and business card demonstrations as both are quite literally, as the title says, ‘mind blowing’!
Of course there are certain routes for advanced technology to get to market fast and one of those is the iPhone, which now has its first augmented reality app, and another is Twitter. These are not particularly good, the Esquire magazine example is much more interesting, and is of a good enough quality to make it a success.
Do some hunting around and you will find a few more examples including companies at TechCrunch starting to look at bringing products or development kits to market. Now here comes your opportunity to post back the uses you came up with!!