If you've been paying attention to the news cycle lately, you've probably heard that Google—by way of the obscure "Niantic Labs"—released a game of some kind. You saw a trailer that depicted people discovering hidden energy fields within statues, landmarks, and artistic sculptures. You had no idea what was going on. You signed up for an invite anyway, because like any other weird Google product, you want in regardless of what it is.
Just in time for Halloween election night, the original paranormal investigators are ready for another round on Android. But hold on, would-be busters: this ain't no ordinary mobile cash-in. Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast is an augmented reality mobile cash-in. The core gameplay is finding ghosts though your smartphone camera (AKA Ecto Goggles), zapping them with your handy dandy nuclear-powered Proton Pack until they're weak enough to catch in a regulation Ghost Trap.
We've seen some really cool things come along with augmented reality technology. In fact, just a few days ago the Chestburster app made its way to Android, allowing users to finally see what it's like to watch a baby alien tear its way out of things (up to and including actual chests). Now, however, we see augmented reality used in a much more practical manner with a new app called HandsonAR.
If you always dreamed of reliving Kane's experience in Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror flick Alien, now's your chance. Chestburster uses a custom t-shirt and augmented reality to bring your own baby alien to life at the expense of your chest, minus the blood, guts, pain, and, you know, dying. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.
Badass, no? The companion app just landed in the Play Store for free today (you can't see the goods without the app), but the shirt will set you back $30.
Amazon-owned development house A9 Innovations has released a product search app built on the idea that instead of tapping buttons to take pictures of products, you'd rather just point your camera at products. Probably not a bad notion! Not exactly the most important thing to spend a bunch of money and time developing, but hey, if you can just wave your phone in front of a movie and get pricing and review information, it's gotta be worth it, right?
Announced last month at SXSW, Marvel's Augmented Reality app has finally hit Google's play store, promising to "bring the Marvel Universe to life like never before utilizing your Android powered device."
Essentially the app allows users to scan select Marvel products (which feature the AR logo) to unlock and view exclusive Marvel content. The app unlocks a surprisingly wide array of content, from 3D shorts to script excerpts, exclusive art and commentaries, and "key features on select comics."
The app's augmented reality functionality is powered by Aurasma, the self-proclaimed first visual browser, "bringing the physical and virtual worlds together." For fans of the Marvel Universe, this app seems like an awesome way to get an extra dose of Marvel content.
Epson announced today that the Moverio BT-100, the first Android-powered see-through wearable display, is now available from the Epson store.
While Epson's Moverio glasses aren't exactly the fabled augmented reality spectacles Google is said to be working on, they are at least an interesting entry into the wearable display market, utilizing a wired, Froyo-powered track pad controller and micro-projection technology to put a perceived 80" display over whatever you're looking at.
You've got to hand it to Google. They don't let silly things like "feasibility" and "finances" get in the way of an awesome idea. The New York Times is reporting that Google is working on a set of glasses with the specs of a smartphone, including 3G and 4G data connectivity, GPS, a camera, and oh yeah, a heads-up display.
Not the actual display. We wish, though.
The glasses, which are supposedly under development at Google's not-so-secret Google X lab, would cost about as much as a smartphone, so they likely won't be for the light wallet.
Augmented reality has spent years in the "great idea, not quite there yet" bin, right next to motion controlled TVs and self-driving cars. Of course, what's the best way to improve a fledgling technology? Stick a trigger on it and let people shoot things with it. The Xappr is here to bring that essential step to the evolution of AR technology.
The Xappr gun, developed by game studio MetalCompass, is an attachment for your phone designed for first-person shooter games.
Bringing to the Android Market what I consider one of the only useful augmented reality apps in existence, iOnRoad has introduced iOnRoad Augmented Driving. This app utilizes your Android device's rear camera to have a look at traffic in front of you, and, using complex visual algorithms, it determines headway, speed, direction, and potential traffic threats.
What's more, the app still keeps watching, and keeps you abreast of any potential dangers while running in the background, meaning you can switch to your music player, messaging app, or phone, and still get alerts from iOnRoad.