iPhone App Augments Reality With 'Auras'
So your band has booked its first big show at the coolest club in the city and you want the place packed. You've stapled fliers up all over town, posted Facebook alerts and sent out mass emails to everyone you know, but you still wish there was a bigger and better way to promote the event. Well, how about getting a fire-breathing T-rex to circle the city's tallest building and roar out all the details of the show?
This may sound ridiculous, but the new Aurasma app for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 can do just that. Save for the fact that the dinosaur-dragon is a computer-generated "Aura." Regardless, the gimmicky new app would likely draw a crowd, making sure your band doesn't go extinct.
The technology is similar to the bar codes and tags that smartphones are already capable of reading and responding to, except that your phone is actually recognizing everyday objects in their environment.
The app employs the phone's camera, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, accelerometer and gyroscope to recognize images, symbols and objects in real life, which can then be paired up with overlaid videos, animation, 3D still images or other date sources, known as "Auras."
Users simply select an image of a real-life structure they want to tag, select the video, photo or animation to be used as an Aura, indicate the region of the tagged image where they'd like the Aura to appear, then save it. Once that's done, potentially any Aurasma-equipped device that is pointed at that selected structure will "see" the chosen Aura.
To get people started, the Aurasma company has created some pre-packaged Auras, but the idea is that most Auras will eventually be user-created.
Users can even scan their phone's camera across a region to see what Auras are nearby, or set an alarm to alert them when they're approaching one. Auras can also be attached to newspaper photographs or movie posters that "come to life."