One of the most popular interactive delivery of content in the past 2 years has been Augmented Reality. Augmented reality for those who don't know is a combination of real-world and computer-generated data where graphic objects are blended into real camera footage in real time. In other words, users can view content that could take the form of video, 3d graphics and text layered right on top of real time video from their web cams. The interaction is launched when the user holds up a marker (think like a bar code but more visual) that is printed on a piece of paper to their web cam. The ar code recognizes the marker and then launches the object right into the scene.
You may have seen the more popular examples of AR out there. The GE Ecomagination AR led the way virally and set the media on fire. Major car brands jumped on the opportunity by allowing people to view virtual 3d renditions of specific models. Along came mini games such as the Topps Baseball cards AR where the player on the card pops out in 3d in which you can control him. If he was a pitcher, you can make him pitch, while others you can control their swing of the bat to hit that pitch.
Lately however there has been a race to come up with the most latest and practical use of AR. USPS came up with a unique tool to help people make sure their stuff fits the right box. But Esquire magazine saw this as an opportunity to push more of their content into another level of engagement. Literally content would jump out of the pages including Robert Downy Jr. jumping out of the front cover with a message.
But to experience AR, you are handcuffed to your laptop or desktop as long as your computer has a webcam. Where AR is going and actually has been for quite awhile is mobile. You already have the camera right in the palm of your hands on most smartphones, and the smartphone market is exploding.
Here are the top mobile AR apps available today. Some of them only for the iPhone, but more and more are becoming available for multiple smartphone platforms.
Layar is a mobile app that enables people to virtually see content that has been augmented over environments through your smartphone. Think of it as a mobile browser that shows all the layers of content that people and companies have placed for you to interact with. See youtube videos that have been placed all around the environments, locate stores, food, or anything that you may be looking for including friends. Just point the phone and view the screen as layers of content appear.
One of the popular Layar content apps is the Recovery.gov AR in which people can basically hold their phone up and scan around to see where your money is going in your surroundings. Talk about open transparency!
The Wikitude mobile AR is a great travel tool. It displays data and other points of interest on the screen a you point the phone around in your travels. Think of it as a virtual tour guide.
Currently for the iPhone only, this mobile app allows you to hold up your phone and view all the tweets being posted all around you in 3d. Pretty wild.
Now imagine candidates walking up to your booth on campus or at a tradeshow and able to experience deeper content that jumps right out of your simple pull up banners or signs? From employee video content to key messaging to games popping right out of your tradeshow booths. All this without a power cord and heavy monitors.