Home Augmented Reality Among Time’s 10 Tech Trends for 2010

Augmented Reality Among Time’s 10 Tech Trends for 2010

Thanks to the growing popularity of mobile augmented reality (AR) applications such as Layar and Wikitude, as well as countless advertising campaigns from corporate giants, AR is beginning to make its way out of the shadows of obscurity and into popular culture. Once an experimental technology left for expert engineers, AR is becoming more and more accessible to both developers and consumers of the experiences. Now, the greater AR community has another feather for its cap as Time Magazine has recognized it as one of its 10 Tech Trends for 2010.

“One challenge for 2010 will be harnessing the growing ubiquity of webcams and smart-phones to make augmented reality useful as a tool in day-to-day life,” writes Time’s Dan Fletcher, pointing out the U.S. Postal Service’s virtual box simulator that helps customers determine what size box to use by holding the item they are shipping up their webcam.

Unfortunately, Fletcher merely skims the surface of AR in his 10 part article published Monday, and in doing so he unintentionally labels players in the mobile AR space as “gimmicky.” I can see how it would be easy for someone investigating AR iPhone apps to be overwhelmed at the plethora of apps that let you shoot things in an augmented first-person perspective, but it is still disappointing that he failed to notice the quality apps in the space.

But hey, it’s still great for us augmented reality fans to see our beloved emerging technology receive national notoriety in a publication such as Time, so we’ll take what we can get. AR snagged the #4 position on Time’s list, but when you look at some of the other trends listed, you notice that AR is already taking advantage of most, if not all of them.

Time’s #1 tech trend for 2010 is location, and it points out the growing popularity of services like Foursquare and Gowalla. Mobile AR applications have been taking advantage of location data since day one and it continues to play a crucial role. After location comes “building platforms, not websites,” which Layar has been developing with their third-party POI data-sets and their upcoming layer marketplace. Good thing “frictionless payments” is another trend to watch for in 2010, otherwise Layar’s marketplace would be ahead of its time.

Also on Time’s list is social gaming, and social objects, immediately reminding me of Tonchidot’s Sekai Camera app which lets users leave AR objects in physical space for people to interact with through the application. One could argue that AR uses all of the other nine technologies featured on Time’s list with the exception of the iPad, which unfortunately has no camera with which to augment our realities.

On a related note, Layar co-founder Claire Boonstra was named to Laptop Magazine’s list of the most influential women in technology. Alongside Boonstra was Google‘s Marissa Mayer, Caterina Fake of Flickr and Hunch fame, and Melinda Gates. This, as well as Time’s inclusion of AR on their tech trends list, is great exposure for augmented reality.

If you’d like to learn more about how companies are using augmented reality for marketing in both desktop and mobile-based experiences, be sure to check out our latest premium report on the subject which was released earlier this week.

Don’t miss the ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit on May 7th in Mountain View, California! We’re at a key point in the history of mobile computing right now – we hope you’ll join us, and a group of the most innovative leaders in the mobile industry, to discuss it.

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