Layar, maker of the Layar augmented reality platform for mobile, has today announced Layar Vision, a platform extension that enables phones to "see" and recognize real-world objects, including posters, magazines and newspapers. With Layar Vision, the goal is to provide brands and print media publishers' with new ways to engage their audience using augmented reality experiences.
About Layar Vision
To use Layar Vision, developers must first upload reference images to Layar's servers. Those images are then used to extract the fingerprint of the object so it can detect, track and augment the object with audio, video and/or animated 3D objects, as specified. Currently the system only supports 2D images with 3D models on the target objects. Layar Vision will be able to instantly detect up to 50 target objects at launch.
The company says there are some limitations to what the technology can recognize and track. It works best on planar surfaces, like posters, magazines and newspapers, as mentioned above, as well as billboards, flyers, book covers, CD covers, paintings and other surfaces with "a minimum amount of discriminative texture and detail." This is different than Qualcomm's recently released AR SDK for iOS (the Android version was already available), which can track both planar objects as well as simple 3D objects like a box.
The Layar platform is already in use by over 10,000 developers who work to build AR experiences for smartphones. These experiences exist both as layers within the Layar smartphone application itself, as well as in third-party apps using the Layar Player. The Layar app has been installed 10 million times, and now has over 2,500 layers, the company says.
Where and When
Developers can expect to see Layar Vision included in the newest beta of the Layar Platform, arriving in the coming weeks, says the company, but no exact date was given for the launch. For developers using the Layar Player in their own apps, they can expect to see Layar Vision in the Q4 release, on both iPhone and Android.
In addition, to kickstart development, Layar is hosting a contest called the "Layar Creation Challenge," offering a total of $55,000 in cash prizes. The top 10 developers with the best and most useful concepts for Layar Vision will receive between $2,500 and $15,000. You can learn more about Layar Vision and the contest here.