Monday, November 20, 2006

MARA: Filtering real world via the screen

Technology Review: Hyperlinking Reality via Phones

From Technology Review:

A Nokia research project could one day make it easier to navigate the real world by superimposing virtual information on an image of your surroundings. The new software, called Mobile Augmented Reality Applications (MARA), is designed to identify objects viewed on the screen of a camera phone. The Nokia research team has demonstrated a prototype phone equipped with MARA software and the appropriate hardware: a global positioning system (GPS), an accelerometer, and a compass. The souped-up phone is able to identify restaurants, hotels, and landmarks and provide Web links and basic information about these objects on the phone's screen. In addition, says David Murphy, an engineer at Nokia Research Center, in Helsinki, Finland, who works on the project, the system can also be used to find nearby friends who have phones with GPS and the appropriate software.

Kudos to David - this is a project that deserves to be picked up and generate some real excitement. Less about the technology though, this seems to be more about what kind of alternative reality do we use to populate this information? With the 3d physical world, there's only one thing allowed in any one place. But multiple different databases in the virtual world will just fragment things. One thing is clear however, no proprietary solution will succeed here.

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