The ER technology, as I mentioned in my earlier posting is basically like putting a digital filter over a camera which allows you to get information about your surroundings overlayed on top of the image you are seeing though a camera lens. If any of you have seen the 1988 sci-fi film starring the one and only Rowdy Roddy Piper, “They Live” or read the story upon which the film was based, “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” written by Ray Nelson in 1963, this is the realization of the technology which was only fantasy at the time.
With the advent of smartphones, and portable devices combining cameras with GPS, Compass and Internet, we have seen numerous applications take the ER technology and integrate it in generally accessible applications which carry astounding potential for the way we can consume our environment. One of the earlier uses was the application, Pandemica for the iPhone (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pandemica/id339263856?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6) which allows the player to hunt aliens using the player’s real physical environment as the backdrop to the hunt.
Around the same time, Wikitude was developed which promised to change the way we travel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EA8xlicmT8).
Recently there has been a slew of applications for the iPhone and other devices which allow the user to see ratings and other information for restaurants programmed into the app, beginning in London and NYC. Now Urban Spoon has introduced the ER technology to its iPhone app (http://www.urbanspoon.com/blog/27/Urbanspoon-on-the-iPhone.html).
Soon we will be able to make not only our own maps of our surroundings identifying important places and information, but we will be able to plant virtual goods and messages in physical places which can only be accessed by someone looking through a mobile device while using an encryption key you give them. Imagine your grand child taking a tour of the city you grew up in, all narrated by you with video and photos planted at various locations around the city. A Toronto based developer, is presently working on this.
On a smaller scale, who wouldn’t want to make a treasure hunt for their kids to go into the backyard and hunt for clues which can only be seen through the camera on your or their mobile device? It would be like an easter egg hunt on steroids!
Another plug has to go out to the creators of City Sonic, a great app and interactive documentary the likes of which we have never seen before. This project has the audience experience the music scene in Toronto in a marvelous and dynamic way – thanks goes out to the great minds behind it! (check out: http://www.citysonic.tv/)