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As you can see above, augmented reality is going mainstream. I believe that future generations of applications like "Layar" will be metadata engines delivering content on Microvision see-through eyewear. That way, you won't have to hold up your camera phone anymore. You can just walk around and see the information co-located with the real-world environment.

Microvision is positioned like no other company to enable this emerging category. There are a few reasons, but principally it's due to the power of scanned laser illumination, which gives us a very high brightness display, clearly readable in sunny conditions. As I mentioned a while back, we have built a benchtop demonstrator of our eyewear optical system (think see-through lens), that's mated with a PicoP to deliver a very high-brightness see-through display.

We continue to iterate and develop the optical system and how it interconnects with the PicoP, and we're excited about our progress. But what's key to building this market is establishing critical mass on the content and user experience side for consumer AR. The development of Layar, and its support from established players in the mobile phone space, bodes well for rapid adoption of see-through mobile device eyewear in the future.

Layar, worlds first mobile Augmented Reality browser

The World’s First Augmented Reality Browser. Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.

Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in Android Market for the Netherlands. Other countries will be added later. Planned roll-out dates for other countries are not known yet.

How do you use Layar?
By holding the phone in front of you like a camera, information is displayed on top of the camera display view.

For all points of interest which are displayed on the screen, information is shown at the bottom of the screen.

What do you see in the screen?
On top of the camera image (displaying reality) Layar adds content layers. Layers are the equivalent of webpages in normal browsers. Just like there are thousands of websites there will be thousands of layers. One can easily switch between layers by selecting another via the menu button, pressing the logobar or by swiping your finger across the screen.

We offer companies the possibility to publish their own layer in our browser(through an API). Currently several companies have already signed up for Layar and will publish their own content in their branded layer soon. We will share with you soon which layers will be available in your country.


At June 24, 2009 at 4:10 PM Kevin said...

Glad to hear companies are working on the software end of things - no use having 3D glasses if there's not much AR stuff to display! Hope you can license your Color Eyewear to Apple for their next generation of iPhones and iPods. I've talked to a lot of people lately about how they love what their smartphones can do, but don't like the small displays. I think Color Eyewear is going to be huge (literally!).

I'm still curious to know how you will display the dark part of images using a see-through display. Eg. it's hard to read any color text against a high contrast background (i.e. lots of a dark and light areas), unless you can add a contrasting outline or shadow to the text.


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