developer challenge that was launched by mobile AR platform junaio that promised $5,000 to the creator of the most interesting and unique junaio content channel. Last week, a handful of judges (including myself) determined the winner from a group of finalists with a unanimous vote for archINFORM - a channel that provides architectural information about the buildings around you.Back in April we told you about an augmented reality (AR)
Of the five finalists, the judges and I felt that archINFORM stood head and shoulders above the other channels in terms of originality and usefulness. I tested the channel during my vacation in Boston and New York City last week and found that the app came in handy for learning about historic buildings. The channel will show photos, construction dates and architect information about nearby buildings, which is especially entertaining (at least to history buffs like myself) in historic cities like Boston and New York.
I felt that the channel deserved to win because it didn't seem obvious like some of the other finalists. I personally hadn't seen anything like archINFORM before even though the same content is available on the Layar and Wikitude AR browsers as well. One of the criteria we considered was how well the content fit into the world of AR, and browsing for information about buildings feels very natural in an AR view.
Walking in dense streets with tall buildings already has our heads looking up to the skyline, so it doesn't take much more to hold our phones up to see more information. You may look like a tourist if you hold your phone up to a building, but its better to be mistaken for a photo-snapping tourist than to be gawked at for waving your phone around looking for other random AR icons.
However, in the case of archINFORM, this is more of a testament to how well AR fits into the experience of sightseeing in a new city. When it came down to it, we decided that archINFORM deserved to win because it was practical, unique and we could actually see ourselves using it. These are the qualities that need to continue to drive AR innovation to help the technology continue to slowly inch into the mainstream.