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  • Joe 11:34 on March 6, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: ad, , commercial, , lg,   

    Tweepsaround featured in Dutch TV ad 

    NIce! Tweepsaround is used as a unique feature in a TV ad for LG which aired last week on Dutch TV networks. The screens are showed approximately halfway the commercial.

    More about Layar and Tweepsaround.

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  • Joe 00:30 on February 6, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , networkshop, presentatie, slides, , workshop   

    Networkshop Mobiele Augmented Reality 

    (Note: this article and slides are in Dutch)

    Afgelopen donderdag heb ik bij CoworkCompany in Leiden voor een tiental geïnteresseerden een introductie op het gebied van Mobiele Augmented Reality gegeven. De slides van deze gebeurtenis staan hieronder.

    Deze workshop werd gegeven in de serie Networkshops waarbij regelmatig interessante workshops voor en door zelfstandigen worden gehouden.

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  • Joe 12:09 on February 5, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , xmpp   

    The path to the future of AR is open 

    Augmented Reality
    Image by turkletom via Flickr

    Chris Cameron of RWW asks Open or Closed: What’s the Best Path for Mobile Augmented Reality?

    The best path is open, no question about it. This “browser” model is the only way an AR app like Layar (or Wikitude) can survive beyond the gimmicky “app” life cycle. Just ask yourself: do I want to install the gazillionth “metro maps” app when visiting Paris, or just type “metro” in my standard AR browser and get the results (remember, the thing is location aware)?


    Going further, I envision a future for mobile AR where geo-tagged data points will be browsed in a generic way. By that time, the geo browser or whatever you will call it becomes a basic functionality of any mobile device, likely pre-installed and hopefully also downloadable from several vendors.

    How Open is Open?

    The currently available AR browsers (Wikitude, Layar) both have an open model – what they call the API, but in essence it is a formatting definition of a POI list, just like html is used for standard web browsers. At the same time both a closed with regards to their catalog and discovery model, in other words, AR data can only be consumed through either browser once a source has been explicitly registered and thus becomes part of their catalog. This make sense for now, as the market is very young and there are no other mechanisms for discovery or established yet. Remember when the www had only a few thousand sites, catalog services like Yahoo! made sense, they became obsolete after the number of web pages became too huge to be cataloged and search engines started to become the new way for discovering relevant results (and so Yahoo! transformed itself into a destination site including a search engine).

    Another key aspect of the www is that there’s no need to explicitly add your content to some kind of catalog, just put it up and it will be found by aggregators (note: this is an evolving goal, we’re not there yet and have to do with SEO for the good or bad for a while – Linked Open Data is one of the answers here).

    Following this analogy, this is what we need for AR to really become a mature way to “browse the world”:

    • better UX for the mobile hardware (eventually glasses and lenses)
    • open standard for AR data publishing
    • open standard for AR data queries
    • standardized AR browsers / clients

    The path to real Open AR

    The good news is that there are a lot of lessons learned from the regular www to be applied and a lot of existing open specifications and protocols which can be used. To mention a few:

    • publish using linked open data standards (semantic web, e.g. RDF – at least for metadata to support discoverability)
    • support a real time experience from the start (to avoid kludges like Twitter afterwards)
    • support social graphs from the start (AR is about you and your social network too)
    • use open standards for the transfer protocol, XMPP makes a lot of sense here

    Two months ago, Tish Shute presented at the Mobile Monday conference in Amsterdam and introduced the AR Wave initiative to me. This looks like a very strong contender to evolve into the open AR web. If you’re interested in this matter you really should read up on this initiative!

    Oh, and for now and the next few years we should really be very happy with our catalog based AR browsers, Layar and Wikitude are paving the road as innovator and evangelizer for a whole new industry. You can be sure they will keep stretching the experience to the limits as currently imposed by the handsets and immature technology.

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  • Joe 09:02 on January 28, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: apple, ebook, ipad, itouch, slate, web tablet, webtablet   

    iPad, first thoughts 

    SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27:  Apple Inc. CEO St...
    Image by Getty Images via Daylife

    My first thought about the iPad, triggered by Tim Bray: Nothing Creative.

    At the first glance I could not agree more with Tim. There’s nothing revolutionary about this whole iPad thing, it just let’s you “consume the web”.

    At the other hand, this looks like the perfect execution of the whole “web tablet” idea which surfaced ten years ago (2000, 2001) and then almost vanished. I think the iPad is the culmination of evolutionary innovation, helped by Moore’s law.

    For geeks there’s not much fun, no way to tinker and extend. Then, as soon as you see it as a nice consumer device and have it lying around your coffee table this might be a very nice gadget (at a pretty hefty price).

    For me there are also a lot of unanswered questions, like why would I want to have this lying on the coffee table, operating under my identity? Security and privacy anyone? Or is it not meant to share after all?

    Finally, why do we (yes, including me) always have such a strong opinion about Apple products? They must be doing something right in marketing (remember: HP launched a very neat tablet, the Slate, only a week ago). Some introspection: why are we disappointed when we get the perfect version of something wished for 10 years ago? Is it because it’s too late and we’re already way beyond with our thoughts?

    Update: Mark Pilgrim describes his disappointment about the closed nature of the iPad as Tinkerer’s Sunset – be sure to read this excellent writeup!

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    • Jens de Smit 09:35 on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think we’re disappointed because there’s nothing revolutionary new here. We’ve seen many a tablet computer fail and the iPad does not seem to have that “something extra” the iPhone had when it was released. Back then, iPods were hot, mobile phones had become a necessity and Apps were something we wanted even when we didn’t know they existed. The iPhone combined them all into a package too small and handsome for most people to imagine. The iPad on the other hand just looks like an overgrown iPhone with the ambition to take over your laptop’s function but without the technical specs to do so.

      Still, we should not forget that the device that delivered Apple its current status, the iPod, was just as unrevolutionary. MP3 players in all sorts and sizes were a hot item in the eraly 2000’s, but manufacturers were struggling with the price of flash memory, the problem of user interfaces on tiny displays and the then still geeky image of downloading music of the internet. At the right time, when music downloading was becoming much more mainstream, Apple introduced an MP3 player with massive storage, a very good user interface and the right marketing. It wasn’t anything particularly new, just executed so well that it set the standard for portable music players for years to come. When more and more people get their hands on the iPad, we’ll see if Apple pulled off the same quality with the iPad.

      • Joe 10:11 on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        @Jens thanks for your comment! I do agree that the iPod was not a (technical) innovation at all, but the interface was revolutionary and caused me to expect that as a minimum. So when my iPod died and I was left with only my Sony Ericsson “walkman” phone, I just stopped listening to music and podcasts, just because the bad interface became prohibitive to use the device.

        Now on Android the music player is just decent and even usable.

        Maybe we’re already used to the whole concept of (multi-)touch interface on a small portable device to see the iPad as something revolutionary. Let’s see how this will fly and if Apple indeed keeps the lead here (I’m expecting big things from the Android powered netbooks, not in the least because of the more open ecosystem where third parties like Layar have much more possibilities to innovate).

  • Joe 16:51 on December 21, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , maps, visualization   

    Copenhagen Layer: local environment on the map 

    copenhagenlayer mapview

    Copenhagenlayer Map View

    Copenhagen Layer is the name of an environment monitoring initiative which shows you local conditions in Augmented Reality on your mobile phone. These environmental conditions are continuously sampled from the city by volunteering bike messengers who carry around tiny measurement devises – senspods – and upload this data in real time to the Copenhagen Layer data center.

    Currently the project runs in Copenhagen only, so if you’re not in in the neighborhood you’re out of luck to experience the project yourself.

    Good news: as of today the same data can be viewed on the map at The site is still under development and we are actively experimenting with different visualization methods. As more data becomes available, more aggregate data may lead to richer views and more consistent data. At the moment only NOx levels are being used while the deployed sensor type is capable of measuring far more parameters, like COx, temperature, humidity and noise level in dB.

    For more background info about the project see Copenhagen Layer: realtime air quality around you

  • Joe 16:18 on December 19, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Copenhagen Layer: realtime air quality around you 

    Reality view

    Copenhagen Layer in Reality view

    Now that the Copenhagen Conference is over we are left with a disappointing end statement. Apparently this was the maximum our world leaders could achieve when they got together: the potential was huge, the output (very) disappointing.

    In this light I’m very proud to present a local grass-roots initiative to bring street level measurements of environmental pollution to the real time web and your mobile phone.

    Please meet and its Augmented Reality counter part Copenhagen Layer (link opens Layar app on your mobile device, only useful if you’re in Copenhagen).

    So what is it actually?

    It all started with a blog post by Ronni Tino Pedersen in October, about how cool it would be to visualize the local Copenhagen climate and green initiatives as an overlay over the city, using Augmented Reality. There was no clear focus, but people got interested and started to contact him with ideas. And so the plan grew to

    1. take tiny portable environmental measurement devices,
    2. link these to the internet using mobile phones,
    3. have bike messengers drive them around through city traffic,
    4. thus get a real-time cross section of the local environment conditions within the city,
    5. make these data points visible using Mobile Augmented Reality.

    This only could happen by the shared effort of a very enthusiastic virtual team. This team consisted of

    • Ronni Tino Pedersen Strategic online communications @ New Media Days at Danish Broadcasting Corporation – initiator and virtual project manager
    • Michael Setton, CEO of who provided the sensors (senspods) and real time measurement set-up
    • Tobias Lau, CEO and founder of developing environmental projects with a social scientific focus
    • Michael Friis, creator of created the site including the Google Maps version
    • Tomas Skovgaard, architect maa made all graphics
    • Peter Vangsbo Madsen, provided specialist advise on air pollution
    • And myself as data integrator and developer of the Layar implementation

    The result is impressive, using your mobile phone you can experience what the environmental conditions are in your direct neighborhood, and if you’re lucky this data is measured just a few minutes ago! Although not yet directly related to the big picture of the Copenhagen Conference with its focus on CO2 reduction, this project may evolve so that a future version can even visualize the real-time carbon footprint of traffic in the city.

    To quote Ronni Tino Pedersen:

    I actually think copenhagenlayer in it’s current state will make a greater impact as part of the COP15 long tail than it could have during the summit. By focusing on the enabling possibilities of street level measurements we can now show some grassroots action that the politicians couldn’t. This is a good story with a fair chance of making it through the journalistic filters.

    And so it is indeed.

    Encoded uri: layar://cop15

    Are you in Copenhagen? Then jump in: open Layer with the Copenhagen Layer

    Just keep in mind that this project is in its early stages. The measurements are not very well calibrated yet. Interpretation is always risky and indicative at best, but the trends are real and it is very revealing to see the enormous difference of being surrounded by busy traffic or being amidst a calm city park. There are lots and lots more data available from the senspods than NOx alone, these will be integrated once a solid model for interpretation will be established. And with more sensors and more data points available all kind of aggregated views can be constructed and more reliable conclusions drawn. Heatmaps, rush hour vs. mid day traffic, summer vs winter, the sky is the limit.

    This is the start of something great!

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