imaGinyze's Augmented Driving app can enhance your heads-up driving experience with safety information and warnings.You know those advertisements for fancy high-end cars that can tell you when you're getting to close to another car, or perhaps, a runaway shopping cart? Cool stuff, right? If you're like me, you probably wish you could have features like these on your run down nine-year-old Ford Escort. Well, thanks to a new iPhone app, you can come pretty close. Using augmented reality (AR) technology,
General Motors is researching technology to augment our windshields, and in May we looked at AR turn-by-turn directions on Android phones from Wikitude. After installing this $2.99 app for the iPhone, users can mount their phones on the dashboard, allowing the device to see the road and detect possible dangers.This isn't the first time we've seen AR invading our cars. In March we showed you that
If a car suddenly slows ahead of you, the app will detect the approaching vehicle and warn you. It can also detect other cars in neighboring lanes, and can tell when you change lanes. The app can be configured to provide any combination of visual, audio and vocal alerts, and the color of the HUD is interchangeable as well.
It seems that a lot of the application's accuracy depends on your ability to mount it and calibrate it correctly before driving. The app requires the device be level, and asks for information regarding the height of the camera and the width of the car. If you happen to have an extra iPhone 3GS lying around, this could be a great use for it so you don't have to remount your phone each time you go for a drive.
Is this a super cool example of augmented reality? Yes. Will people actually use it? Probably not. At least not with their phones. We do too much on our phones to dedicate the entire device to one function while in our cars.
I have no idea why Garmin, TomTom, Magellan and all the other in-car GPS makers haven't jumped all over augmented reality. Or maybe they have and we just don't know yet. Future generations of GPS units should have cameras on them that capture a view of the road and provide directions and warnings from a dedicated device. People would actually use that because it wouldn't mean awkwardly mounting their phones and anything beats those ugly 2D maps that we deal with today.
For now, however, imaGinyze's app serves as a reminder of the powerful capabilities of the magical pocket computers we all carry around each day.