Layar in 3D

Layar, whose mobile augmented reality browser has been adding new content is spades lately, has just announced 3D support for the browser. Layar overlays digital information about the object you are viewing on to the camera view of your phone, e.g. information about apartments for sale in a building. Layar 3D makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone.  The 3D capabilities are now available to developers while 3D will be available to consumers in version  3.0 of the browser due to be released in November.

While the Layar features are not very sophisticated yet, Augmented reality and 3D seem like a natural fit. TV technology is already moving to 3D (it was one of the big buzz words at the recent IBC TV trade show) and companies like Vuzix, who make video eyewear, are taking AR seriously for applications like aviation training. The latter showed me a demo using their very stylish new 3D wrap glasses which included a motion sensitive view, i.e. when you tilt your head to the right the video orientation doesn’t change, and tag-based augmented reality features built in collaboration with the German AR company Metaio. Even for a non-gamer like myself it was pretty exciting stuff and points the way to the next generation of AR applications. Maybe you will be plugging these glasses into your phone sometime soon to view Layar.