How AR Browsers Should Be...

Frankly, I got tired with AR browsers. When Wikitude first launched I was excited. When Layar came out the whole blogosphere was thrilled. But now (only a couple of months after Layar went public), I'm feeling quite jaded. Everybody and his sister are making an AR browser application, and most of them are just he same.

Apparently, I'm not the only one harboring those feelings. The title of this post is taken from a mail sent to me by Daniel Wagner of Graz University of Technology, one of the best known names in the field of mobile AR. Wagner writes:
Rather than inventing the next (10th?) AR browser, we've been working on generally improving the usability of such applications. My team member Alessandro [Mulloni] has come up with some cool gestures and good ideas on how to avoid information overflow and how to let people easier navigate in a typical AR browser scenario. The result is something like. "this is how an AR browser should actually be" - without restricting to a specific application scenario.

While AR in general is from a first person perspective, Mulloni looked into extending it with panoramic and bird's-eye perspectives, in order to enhance the user's understanding of its surrounding. This is how it looks:

In his paper, Mulloni finds that such smooth transition into other perspectives can really help the user. So, what do you say? A new avenue for AR browsers, or is the real conclusion from this research is that AR still needs to be complemented by a top-down map view in order to be usable?


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