In the above example of the 'Yelp' iPhone application, there is a secret function called the Monocle - after downloading the application, you must shake your phone three times (and repeat the words 'Bloody Mary' each time) in order to activate the joy of Augmented Reality, which in this case allows you to see where all the nearest bars and restaurants are as well as customer reviews. As the tech uses GPS and a built-in digital compass, the Monocle only works on the iPhone GPS.
Ever since the phenomenon has become more widely known and acceptable into mainstream culture as a means of fun and life enhancement - after all, as you can see, it projects CGI onto real life imagery and video! How much more fun could you ask from a mobile phone.
I wish I had been quicker to the draw, the very same friend who I showed off my 'Yelp' iPhone application to (in no better a place than Soho) has since seen a feature in the Metro. Unfortunately, at the time of writing I was no where particularly interesting to take my own screen shots, but I will! Meantime all I can provide are generic snaps pillaged from the net.
Another great example, which so far I think is a lot more enjoyable than 'Yelp', is 'Layar':
Not only does Layer display it's results in a much more visually appealing way, but it integrates user photos as well as general information. I've not had much of a chance to play around with this tool, as I have a life, but it is definitely worth a go if you have a chance - and certainly helpful if you end up lost in the middle of the streets.
If, unlike me, you are not a street urchin and you do get lost, say, in the middle of London, then there is an amazing iPhone application called 'Tube Finder' (alternatives are available for New York and Tokyo, 'Nearest Subway' and 'Bionic Eye' respectively)....and yes, it is really fun to use for a laugh:
There are quite a few of these bad boy Augmented Reality applications out there - even one that 'scientifically' analyzes facial features to assess if your face is genuinely beautiful or not, but I don't think it is that accuarate. 'Fit or Fugly':
There is even an application that maps out star constellations when you point your camera at the night sky, although I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. Head on over to Gizmodo, an amazing website which regularly reviews the latest iPhone applications - and which I credit as where I heard about these applications in the first place. As to whether or not these are available on Android, I do not know. If not, they will be.
Something more serious that I found this morning was news of UK artists NDubz' forthcoming album (Against All Odds) being released with Augmented Reality integrated artwork. When the album artwork is held in front of a webcem, the artwork on screen will show '3D' images ("triggered from data embedded within the album artwork") of the band talking and then giving a performance of their new single. "Consumers can turn the sleeve artwork around to view the band from alternative angles".
Such a thing I first heard of during the promotion of the new BMW Z4:
This sounds like we are really getting to the future. I have a friend who works with projected 3D and holographic advertising in the Middle East, so I know there is more advanced tech out there. It's just a matter of time for it to become mainstream.
The company behind the N-Dubz initiative were also responsible for the opening of the UK's first augmented reality exhibition at Nokia's flagship store in Londont to launch the N97. Of course Universal Music UK came up with the idea... Read more at Satellite.