Augmented reality app running on iPhone

With the the oncoming flood of powerful devices such as the iPhone, it’s almost certain that we’re about to make the leap into an augmented reality. I’ve predicted we’ll have common-place AR apps in early 2009. My guess is that Google will introduce a Maps-based application; possibly one that displays landmark-labels.

Look into the all-seeing eye.UPDATE, 2009: I was right that a public consumer AR Maps application would debut around early 2009: the Wikitude AR Travel App displays hovering labels over buildings and landmarks when you point your phone at them. I was almost right about Google’s part; it runs on Google Android phones—but was created by independent developers.

Here’s a video giving us a taste of what’s possible—an iPhone app capable of displaying 10 frames per second in live-video realtime tracking. It was made using version 4.4 of the ARToolkit, created by ARToolworks.

[Subscribers—visit the post if you can't see the video]

Gizmodo mentions that this won’t be found in the Appstore anytime soon, and quotes the creators:

It’s running slowly, but once Apple releases a video [API for the iPhone] SDK, performance should get to 20-30 frames/second. We’ve all seen the awesome 3D games that can run on the iPhone, so fast AR applications will also be possible in the future, with all that multi-touch goodness thrown in as well.

I’m thinking there must be someone already brewing AR apps of some sort. Evernote is close, letting you take a picture of text (e.g. a poster or DVD cover, etc.) and making the text searchable. Location-based social applications are also on a roll, displaying people in your area and what they’re up to.

With the iPhone’s 3G version there’s nothing that stands in the way; there’s bandwidth, GPS location and then the phone’s accelerometer. These combined could be used to make a label-application like I mentioned above: The accelerometer could track which way you’re facing and when you turn, the GPS where you are and the 3G could provide a fast and live connection to something like Google’s maps.

I doubt AR is an area that Apple hasn’t considered conquering. Even though it currently seems they’d rather want to use the phone’s accelerometer to make lightsaber sounds.

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23 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. There are similar apps in the works for the Android. More important, this dovetails nicely with Jamais Cascio’s post about augmented reality, “Making the Visible Invisible.”

  2. Thanks for the note Phil. I remember the Enkin software as well, but I haven’t heard anything about them since they lost in the Android Dev Challenge—perhaps Google’s taken it to the labs.

  3. Another Augmented Reality iPhone App, recently launched it the “Virtual Santa” – Christmas Special from metaio.

    You can get a direct link to the free App as well as screenshots, movie, description etc. at

    Enjoy and Happy Holidays to everyone!

  4. I have started a facebook group petitioning Apple to open the API for video augmentation. This will allow agmented reality apps in the store! Please join and pass it on:

  5. Now in the OS and SDK version 3.1 beta 3 there are a couple of new properties for overlaying a UIView over the video camera and for preprocessing the video image (changing the picture itself). It looks like Augmented Reality will be allowed soon.

  6. Hey Edwin. Right, I predicted the augmented reality support right before they released SDK 3.1. They’ll announce full support soon. Have you had a look at the new features—are there any limitations?

  7. Dox

    Wow, this is one of those cool and great app that exist nowadays! I also found this another Augmented Reality iPhone app called Mrphoto, you can know il on …it’s very interesting the power off Ar also in everyday life!

  8. Seac02

    For the first time the augmented reality is being made available for such an important religious event as the Exposition of the Shroud.
    An interactive navigator guides us step by step in our visit to the Shroud and to discovering Turin: it is the “Sindone”, the new application for iPhone and Blackberry which, thanks to the possibility of augmented reality, ushers in the pilgrims into the 21st century.
    It owes its origins to a strict collaboration among the Shroud Museum, Seac02 and e-Gate srl.
    It is also the only official application of the exposition. It could be downloaded from Apple Store or from the official Holy Shroud site

  9. If your camera doesn’t have this option, try going outside where the light is usually better. Mega pixels are how manufacturers measure the pixel count of an image created by a camera. This often enables consumers to review each camera individually to get all the details and find out what is included with their purchase.

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