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Augmented Reality Is Coming To A Device Near You

Wailin Wong reports that after years of use in academia and industry, with tantalizing fictional peeks of its potential on the silver screen, "augmented reality" is ready for the consumer marketplace.

Total Immersion, for example, created baseball cards for Topps this year that became a three-dimensional avatar of the featured player when held in front of a webcam. It also designed product tie-ins for the film "Avatar" for McDonald's and Mattel with technology that makes animated 3-D landscapes and characters come to life when scanned by a webcam.

The next wave of programs probably will be for smartphones, Wong writes, but it won't be a trip in the ethereal park for developers. "We've learned that it's really hard to do this well," says Yelp product manager Eric Singley, whose company developed an augmented-reality application for the iPhone this year called Monocle. When a user holds a phone's camera to view a city street, information about nearby businesses pops up on the screen. A lot of polish is required, he says, to avoid creating a "confusing, messy and jarring" reality.



Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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