"Augmented reality" interfaces that present data as a visual overlay on our perspective of the world had a moment in the spotlight a few years ago, sank under the weight of hype they couldn't sustain (some of it under my byline) and are now back in the news for the wrong reasons.
Google Glass eyewear looks neat and makes for an impressive demo, but those connected glasses also cost $1,500 a pop and will set you apart from the rest of humanity as computer-wearing cyborg.
ANALYSIS: Augmented Reality Goggles Recognize Faces, Gestures
But the fuss over Google's cybernetic fashion accessory has given me a reason to revisit the smartphone "AR" apps that intrigued me back in 2009 - and a few that only recently arrived.
Start with one use case where I'd never set aside AR software: outdoors at night. The open-source Sky Map, formerly Google Sky Map, shows whatever planets, stars, meteor showers, nebulas and galaxies I might see in any given direction, all clearly labeled and searchable. Satellite AR tells me where to look to spot the International Space Station – and other, smaller satellites - flying overhead, with each object's visible track shown in bright yellow.