Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Layar Mobile Augmented Reality Browser

Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.

Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in all Android Markets. It comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands.

How do you use Layar?

By holding the phone in front of you like a camera, information is displayed on top of the camera display view.

For all points of interest which are displayed on the screen, information is shown at the bottom of the screen.

What do you see in the screen?

On top of the camera image (displaying reality) Layar adds content layers. Layers are the equivalent of webpages in normal browsers. Just like there are thousands of websites there will be thousands of layers. One can easily switch between layers by selecting another via the menu button, pressing the logobar or by swiping your finger across the screen.

The Layar Content Catalog includes the following categories:
  • Real estate
  • Health care
  • Transportation
  • Tourism: Places to stay
  • Tourism / Tours / Guides
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Games
  • Weather
  • Retail
  • University / Schools
  • Local search & Directory service
  • Social networks & communities
What does it take to make a layer

A layer consists of three parts: The layer definition, the list of POIs (Points of Interest) and each individual POI.

The layer definitions are created on the Layar Provisioning website and stored in the Layar database. The web interface will allow developers to set all the attributes that make the look & feel of the layer. It will also allow the developer to manage the publishing process of a layer. Once published, the end-user will be able to view the new layer in the Layer Gallery inside the app.

In summary, a layer developer needs to create a layer definition via the Layer Provisioning Website and expose a web service (REST) that can be called by the Layar Server using the Layar API and optionally expose (made-for-mobile) web pages for further action on each POI.

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