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IST Spring Conference - Augmented Reality

June 6, 2011 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

First there was the real world, and then there was the virtual world.  Reality and virtual reality.   And now, there’s augmented reality, or AR for short.  

Fiacre O'Duinn from Hamilton Public Library gave us a fascinating talk about AR at the IST Spring Conference last week.  

Amsterdam AR is a technology which allows virtual data to overlay the real world.   Layar is the company which is dominant for AR at the moment and comes already loaded on many mobile phones. (Check to see if it is loaded on yours!)  Layar is open platform with over 2 million users and offers opportunities to experiment with AR. 

Here is a real estate example of AR from Amsterdam.  Hold up your phone and a red dot appears, revealing the properties for sale and their asking price.  Phone numbers are included so all you need is to call up for a viewing appointment.

Another example is Street Museum.  Carnaby street Again hold up your smart phone to view the street in front of you and view a scene superimposed on the screen of a period back in time - here it's the swinging Sixties on Carnaby Street.  If you tap the screen, historical facts pop up describing what happened on the spot in the past.  All the images showcase the collections of the Museum of London and allow visitors to view them live, juxtaposed against the current reality. 

O’Duinn quotes Koert van Mensvoort when he says “[while] our environment was previously made up of objects, now it consists of information”.  The place surrounding us becomes the interface with all the complications that this brings...

Geoloqi was another platform which piqued my interest.  It is a private real-time mobile and web platform for securely sharing your location data.  Using this will supply you with ambient information.  For example, you pass by a grocery store and your device reminds you to buy eggs, or you walk by a library and are reminded to pick up your holds… Food for thought!

Augmented Reality promises to have as profound an effect as the Internet, according to O’Duinn.  For more about AR see his presentation and other documents at and see his web site at

Stay tuned for part 2 next week on the IST Spring Conference.


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