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What is Augmented Reality?

Imagine leaving your home in the morning and walking to meet a friend – and along the way “virtual signposts” lead you to your destination. Sound like science fiction? It’s really more like science fact, since the idea is actually, reality.


Augmented reality is the process whereby software applications apply graphics over a real environment. Earthmine gives you the tools to make your own AR.

The technology is already being used in smartphone augmented reality apps like Wikitude. And even more recently for Google Glasses, which offer the wearer the chance to see a virtual information overlay from his own point of view. The technology uses either a graphic or an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) tag to trigger the AR overlay.

The Coolest Tech You’ve Never Heard Of  
Augmented reality is probably the coolest technology you’ve never heard of, although the technology has been in use for a couple of years now. Topps uses the technology to power virtual baseball cards, while Nintendo uses the technology in Nintendo 3DS card games – that pit virtual video-game characters against each other.


Using augmented reality, Topps baseball players actually swing a bat, while Nintendo’s Kid Icarus battle foes – virtually. 

As a technology, augmented reality has multiple uses, like entertainment and education, just to name a few. The most recent entrant into the augmented reality game is Google though, whose Google Glasses, “help you explore and share your world.” Google Glasses actually have the potential to be an iPhone killer, taking the smartphone to the next level.

The technology puts virtual reality within reach of consumers, who before could only experience it using multi-million dollar hardware setups.

Making a Virtual World  
As our real world becomes increasingly connected to the digital one, leading app developers who find ways to implement augmented-reality components into their apps will rule the roost. Using augmented reality just think of all the cool things you can do with app development for iPhone and iPad - maps of the sky that tell you where satellites and planets are, or where you can find a good coffee or yogurt place. One thing is definitely for sure: augmented reality is the future.

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What Are Google Glasses?

Introducing the Next Big Thing: Google Glasses, high-tech eyewear for the Digital Age. The glasses, which are still in development, will overlay graphics onto reality – basically putting a heads-up display right in front of your eyes.


Google has not announced a price point or release date for the gadget, but insiders have hinted the glasses may be available to consumers by the end of the year. 

How They Work
Google Glasses could potentially be an iPhone killer. How? Well, like your iPhone, they would provide access to encyclopedias of information, but using something called augmented reality, the glasses would basically overlay information and graphics as you’re walking through the real world. Want to get directions to the coffee shop? The glasses would put “virtual signposts” (that only you can see) in your field of view, in order to navigate the way.


This view – from behind the glasses – provides an idea of what type of augmented-reality features might look like. Information about specific locations is available at a glance.

Got a dinner appointment with a friend? The glasses will display a notification right in front of your eyes. The possibilities (and ease of use) have the potential to make the smartphone – dare we say it – obsolete. Just imagine a digital landscape laid out in front of you that serves up restaurant reviews (while you’re standing in front of the restaurant), reservation times and a menu – all virtually.

A Day in the Life of “Project Glass”
Once put into use, Google Glasses will be wirelessly connected to the Internet and feature the functionality of a smartphone. The wearer would be able to control that functionality via voice commands, as well as camera functions for capturing still images and video clips.


The technology may still be a year or so off, but just to be discussing the potential instantly causes our minds think of sci-fi classics that predicted a heads-up displays, like “The Terminator.”

Google created a video based on “Project Glass” (Google’s name for the Google Glasses project) to show how the glasses would work during a typical day of errands in and around New York. In the video, we see the world in first-person view and what users would see. For example, while pouring a cup of coffee, the guy in the video happens to glance upward and the display shows a tiny clock, a notation about the temperature outside and a personal memo about visiting a friend, as scheduled for that night.

Take a look:

However, Google Glasses is an idea that may take some getting used to. Internet pranksters are already posting videos that mock the futuristic headgear, including a Google Glasses World of Warcraft parody.

Then again, there was another gizmo a few years back that once might have seemed like nothing more than the product of a slightly nerdy fantasy, and it caught on pretty well. It was called the smartphone.

As far as production of the actual glasses, it’s unknown if Google will license the technology to a hardware producer, but it’s possible they could also partner with a glasses manufacturer like Ray-Ban, Maui Jim or Oakley. The glasses are expected to be fashionable as well as practical.

Powered by Android
When Google Glasses eventually appear on the market, they will harness the processing power of Google’s Android. The Android OS is one of the most successful platforms today and the fastest growing mobile operating system in the world.


Google founder Sergey Brin was recently spotted in public wearing a stylish pair of Google Glasses. 

If you’re looking to get firsthand experience developing apps for Google Android, why not go to an Android App Development summer camp? You could learn to make games and apps that someday might even be playable on those cool Google Glasses.

What do you think of Google’s Glasses? Would you wear them?

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