Top 10 Augmented Reality iPhone Apps

While Lawnmower Man may have led us to believe the future was a virtual one, it seems that in fact augmented reality (the overlaying of digital data on the real world) is where we’re headed.

A buzz technology right now, augmented reality apps are quickly gaining momentum on the iPhone. So we sort the digital wheat from the pixelated chaff to bring you ten AR apps for the iPhone that vary from functional, to educational, to just plain fun.


1. Le Bar Guide


Le Bar App Image

Although the wisdom of getting drunk people to wave their iPhones around on today’s mean streets is questionable, if you drink responsibly, as this Stella Artois-backed app urges you to, this could be a handy tool. As with similar location-based AR apps, Le Bar (that’s French for bar, by the way) Guide will assist you in finding the nearest watering hole, give you ratings and then even point you to a taxi within stumbling distance. It’s accurate to 20 feet, which is a coincidence, as that’s about our level of accuracy after three pints of the French stuff.


2. WorkSnug


WorkSnug App Image

Another corporate-backed app, this time by Plantronics, is WorkSnug, an iPhone app that finds digital nomads a place to lay their weary laptop. It identifies Wi-Fi hotspots and potential workplaces – from coffee shops to professional rent-a-desk office spaces – with user reviews encompassing power provision, atmosphere, noise levels and even the quality of the coffee. Although currently only available for London, versions for San Francisco, New York, Berlin, Madrid are due soon.


3. Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy


Pocket Astronomer App Image

This star map app will spell out the stars, planets and constellations for you. Needing no connectivity, this clever app contains data on 10,000 stars, 88 constellations and lunar phases, while the “tonight’s sky” feature shows meteor showers and visible planets based on your location. Just hold your iPhone skywards on a bright night and before you can say “Hubble telescope” you’ll be looking at Uranus.


4. DishPointer


DishPointer Image

Staying on the celestial theme, what started out as a clever Google Maps (Google Maps) mashup has been turned into an iPhone app, and is within days of launching for Android (Android) handsets too. The mobile version of DishPointer is designed for satellite installers or mobile broadcasters to hold their phones up to the sky and get a virtual overlay of their nearest satellites to know which way to point the darn dish. If you aren’t employed in such a field, yet you have this on your phone, then your nerd-score just went through the stratosphere. Way to go, cable guy.


5. AugMeasure


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Finally an iPhone app your dad can get excited about. Augmented reality measuring arrives with AugMeasure which lets you gauge short distances using on your iPhone’s camera. AugMeasure displays distances (up to 30 centimeters or 12 inches) on the screen overlaid onto the live image which will change as you move the phone. While the results might not be precise enough for that intricate woodworking project you’ve got going on in the basement, for those quick, “No, it’s definitely longer than 6 inches” moments, it’s a must.


6. Virtual Graffiti


Virtual Graffiti Image

If the militant grammar nerd within knows that the sign for “Buddys Bar” needs an apostrophe, then Virtual Graffiti can help. Snap an image, add your witticism, embellishment or “tag”, then, once uploaded, your artistic addition to the world can be browsed on a location basis thanks to the Google Maps integration. All the fun of tagging, none of the embarrassment of getting caught with a spray can in your hot little old-enough-to-know-better hand.


7. Theodolite


Theodolite Image

If you’re the type that likes to know what axis is bisecting your Northerly inclination and at what altitude, then chances are you already have an actual theodolite. If you don’t and that sentence gave you chills (in a good way) then you’re 99 cents away from topographical heaven. As well as offering all that a theolodite might, but in a decidedly more portable package, this app overlays such data over your camera’s image and even lets you snap the odd screenshot for posterity.


8. Car Finder


Car Finder Image

We’re sure you have no use for this one yourself, but if you know anyone who might have difficulty finding their way back to the car in those huge parking lots, then the Car Finder app is a good suggestion. Once the car’s location is set, the app creates a visible marker showing the car, its distance away and the direction in which to head. There are other non-AR apps which offer this kind of tool, but we think seeing it on a real-life display will make locating that pesky Pontiac a piece of cake.


9. Firefighter 360


Firefighter 360 Image

Catering to both pyromaniacs and Backdraft fantasists, Firefighter 360 will set your immediate location on fire, requiring you, as heroic fireperson, to get out the hose, douse some flames and save some passers-by. As far as iPhone gaming goes, it’s arguably not a high point. The sound effects are crude and the graphics cartoonish. But it’s an interesting application of AR that makes us excited about the next wave of AR games. Did we mention you get to play a fireperson?


10. iPew


iPew Image

Want to shoot people in the face with a laser? Yep, there’s an app for that. iPew could easily also be named iPuerile, as it really is that dumb. But, sometimes it’s the simple things in life (kicking leaves, vanilla ice cream, swapping around the keys on a colleague’s keyboard when they’re on vacation) that offer the most pleasure – at least on a short term basis. iPew offers you a choice of weapons and provides gratifying noises as you get someone in your virtual sights and blast them away. Recommended for board meetings, long commutes and those cozy nights in with the in-laws.

John Mayer “Heartbreak Warfare” Augmented Reality

Studio B teamed with Adobe and John Mayer to create the worlds first Augmented Reality music video. Studio B shot and keyed the green screen footage using the new Apple ProRes 444 codec.

Flash Augmented Reality (FLAR) is a way of creating a digital hologram in 3D space by holding up a marker to your computer’s camera and activating a special piece of Flash software. As you can see in this video, I’m holding up a piece of paper with the designated marker (in this case a broken heart), and the video of John Mayer follows it around the screen, and even tilts in 3D space!

The FLAR technology was featured in WIRED Magazine, and you can check out their video as well.

You can try out John Mayer’s Augmented Reality video for yourself at Johnmayer.com

Studio B Films is a video production company based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in documentary, sales and marketing sizzle videos, customer stories, motion graphics, corporate communications, green screen shooting, and creative video editing.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos augmented-reality maps

In a demo that drew gasps at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos new augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft.

Blaise Agüera y Arcas is the architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, building augmented reality into searchable maps. He’s also the co-creator of Photosynth, software that assembles static photos into a synergy of zoomable, navigatable spaces.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ background is as multidimensional as the visions he helps create. In the 1990s, he authored patents on both video compression and 3D visualization techniques, and in 2001, he made an influential computational discovery that cast doubt on Gutenberg’s role as the father of movable type.

He also created Seadragon (acquired by Microsoft in 2006), the visualization technology that gives Photosynth its amazingly smooth digital rendering and zoom capabilities. Photosynth itself is a vastly powerful piece of software capable of taking a wide variety of images, analyzing them for similarities, and grafting them together into an interactive three-dimensional space. This seamless patchwork of images can be viewed via multiple angles and magnifications, allowing us to look around corners or “fly” in for a (much) closer look. Simply put, it could utterly transform the way we experience digital images.

Dosh

Dosh grew up in the Twin Cities. At a young age he also took piano lessons and then discovered FM radio in the early ’80s. Dosh began drumming at age 15. By the time he left home for Simon’s Rock College at age 16, he had decided music would likely be his profession, however, he subsequently got a degree in creative writing.

Throughout the ’90s, he played with a number of bands on the East Coast. When he moved back to Minneapolis in 1997, he started his own band, as he had begun to compose his own music. He also worked at his alma mater, Lake Country School, teaching percussion, driving the school bus, and assisting classroom teachers. Immersing himself in the local scene, Dosh played with many bands over the next five years: Nasty Goat, Best Red, Animals Expert At Hankering, Iffy, Vicious Vicious, “T,” and Lateduster; all this time, recording tape after tape of original music on a 4-track machine.

Dosh’s work with Andrew Broder in Lateduster and Fog gave him an experience that helped him begin to perform solo. In 2002, he released his debut recording, Dosh CD, which he had recorded himself, mostly in his basement. The CD developed a following in the local Twin Cities scene.

After playing many shows, City Pages voted him second on their annual “picked to click” list.

Dosh CD was re-released internationally in September 2003 on anticon. records, and was reviewed in the Village Voice, Urb, Flaunt, Xlr8r, The Big Takeover, and a number of online magazines.

Dosh is also known for the incorporation of his family life into his work. His EP, Naoise is named after his son. On “Naoise” is “Happy Song for Tadgh,” a reference to Naiose’s half-brother, Tadgh. He is also known for writing a song for his future wife at the time called, “I Think I’m Getting Married.”

check’em out:

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Dosh Videos:

Dosh – “Capture The Flag” Live At Home

Andrew Bird & Martin Dosh – “Simple X” – Live at Bonnaroo

Dosh

Richard Dawkins – Atheism. A call to arms.

Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position — and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. A fiery, funny, powerful talk.

Oxford professor Richard Dawkins has helped steer evolutionary science into the 21st century, and his concept of the “meme” contextualized the spread of ideas in the information age. In recent years, his devastating critique of religion has made him a leading figure in the New Atheism.

Why you should listen to him:

 

As an evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins has broadened our understanding of the genetic origin of our species; as a popular author, he has helped lay readers understand complex scientific concepts. He’s best-known for the ideas laid out in his landmark book The Selfish Gene and fleshed out in The Extended Phenotype: the rather radical notion that Darwinian selection happens not at the level of the individual, but at the level of our DNA. The implication: We evolved for only one purpose — to serve our genes.

Of perhaps equal importance is Dawkins’ concept of the meme, which he defines as a self-replicating unit of culture — an idea, a chain letter, a catchy tune, an urban legend — which is passed person-to-person, its longevity based on its ability to lodge in the brain and inspire transmission to others. Introduced in The Selfish Gene in 1976, the concept of memes has itself proven highly contagious, inspiring countless accounts and explanations of idea propagation in the information age.

In recent years, Dawkins has become outspoken in his atheism, coining the word “bright” (as an alternate to atheist), and encouraging fellow non-believers to stand up and be identified. His controversial, confrontational 2002 TED talk was a seminal moment for the New Atheism, as was the publication of his 2006 book, The God Delusion, a bestselling critique of religion that championed atheism and promoted scientific principles over creationism and intelligent design.

“Dawkins … is a master of scientific exposition and synthesis. When it comes to his own specialty, evolutionary biology, there is none better.”

Jim Holt, The New York Times