Layar was one of the first apps to show the potential of augmented reality, and coincidentally, one of the first Android apps that made users stand up and say "Wow!" But four years later the shine has come off of AR, at least for the purposes that the original app served, like mapping and location discovery. So Layar has reinvented itself with a whole new app, look, and website.
Layar's new ad copy says that the company hopes to "help bridge the gap between print and digital." What does that mean, exactly?
If you've ever wanted a Parrot AR Drone that feels more at home in the water than in the air, you'll want to check out the Ziphius Kickstarter campaign. This remote-controlled floating drone just passed its $125,000 goal with less than a day and a half remaining, and is scheduled to go into mass production later this year with backer units shipping in March 2014.
Ziphius is a floating drone, a Raspberry Pi control board, twin propellers, and a 1080p video camera with an LED flashlight, shoved into a lightweight waterproof chassis.
Pacific Rim is going to be in theaters soon, and it's got giant robots and monsters fighting each other. You know what else has giant robots and monsters fighting each other? Pacific Rim:Kaiju Battle, which is now on Android. This is an augmented reality fighting game that lets you put a miniature cityscape with monsters on any flat surface. It actually works, too.
What? You don't have a Sphero? Well, you're going to need one to play this amusing free game. Sphero is a neat little ball-shaped robot that rolls around in response to things going on inside your phone. In this case it rolls around your floor killing augmented reality zombies with fireballs. That's got pretty much all the makings of something awesome.
So you point your device's camera at the Sphero, and the undead will attack.
Heads up, Google, Glass is about to get some serious competition. Recon Instruments, a Canadian technology company known for athlete-focused heads-up display products, is looking to expand into general-purpose HUD technology. The company's prototype device - dubbed Jet - was officially unveiled today, and Recon Instruments hopes to release a retail product by the end of this year.
At first glance, the Jet looks like little more than a pair of sunglasses with an attached LCD screen; you won't be mistaking Recon Instrument's HUD for Google's anytime soon.
In many ways, the proliferation of the Call of Duty generation is just an extension of ye olde Cops and Robbers, traditionally played with cap guns, rubber bands, or NERF darts. The Tech 4 Kids company is trying to bring kids' games full circle with Tek Recon, a series of toy guns. What makes these toys unique is the video game-style smartphone HUD, enabled with a docked phone and an Android or iOS app.
If you're old enough to have been around for the coolest parts of the 20th century, you know Duck Hunt. I don't need to explain this, do I? No. You know all about the bright orange gun and that annoying little dog and getting frustrated and walking right up to the screen and shooting an 8-bit duck point blank in the pixel. This is your childhood. And now, it's on your phone in a fantastic clone that utilizes the gyroscope in the best possible way.
NASA is kind of awesome. In case you live under some red rocks, the organization sent this crazy robot to Mars that sends us back high-resolution photos. The future is amazing. Of course, there's nothing the space administration loves more than curiosity (which is why they named the Mars rover after it), and it's aiming to fuel yours with this 3D model explorer.
In a somewhat odd move, instead of simply providing the 3D models themselves, the app requires you to print out some markers.
I'm going to be up front: I want Glass. I'm thoroughly intrigued with the idea, I love the possibility of having an always-available camera that sees whatever I see, and completely hands-free Google sounds like a perfectly natural progression of the things like Google Now and voice actions. In the world where personal digital assistants seem commonplace, why should we not expect those things to be always accessible and visible?
Just like its collection of new apps, the Play Store made a strong showing in the game department last month. From Ingress to Clay Jam, there were plenty of great new games to choose from in November. With games, as with apps, there are often too many to download and try each one. To that end, we've rounded up the top seven games every Android gamer will want to take a look at from November 2012.