New Augmented Reality Apps Launched for Apple iPhone

--Apps Let Users Discover Points of Interest, View Nearby Tweets and Flickr Photos, Capture Fairies

A number of new augmented reality applications for the Apple iPhone have launched in the Apple App Store over the past few days, now that that technology is officially supported by the device (thanks to the release this month of iPhone OS 3.1). They include:

  • Bionic Eye from Presselite, which allows users to look through their phone's video screen to see icons alerting them to nearby (i.e. less than a kilometer away) points of interest (POI), including restaurants, subway stations, and hotels. According to the company, the app covers all major US cities and includes information on over 100,000 points of interest. The company says that if users hold their iPhone vertically, they see a "360-degree view of all POI nearby your location, updated in real time as you walk in the streets"; and if they hold it vertically, they see a "list of all nearest POI. When a POI is selected," the company explains, "a blue arrow (compass) is displayed to show the direction and the distance to that POI."
  • Fairy Trails from Freeverse, a game that invites users to activate a "fairy detector" by shaking their iPhone. The game then presents them with various fairies, fireflies and butterflies that are superimposed on their phone's video screen, and that they must then tap in order to collect them in jars. "The more fairies you capture, the more power you'll have to detect the special quicker fairies," the company says. "The iPhone's ability to allow us to merge 3D game elements with real-world, real-time environments opens up tremendous possibilities for new games and apps," Freeverse president, Ian Lynch Smith, said in a prepared statement. "We're really excited about this new technology and have just begun to scratch the surface of its potential"
  • Robotvision, which leverages Microsoft's Bing Local Search to enable users to see icons for local points of interest (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, gas stations, hotels, etc.) superimposed on their phone's video screen, and which also allows them to discover photographs taken and geotagged by Flickr users in their immediate vicinity, as well as tweets that originated nearby. By holding their phone vertically, users can access a map-based view of nearby POI's.

For more on the new applications, see the demo videos and screenshots embedded above and below.


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