Metaio, a company based in Germany has set its sights on becoming the premiere Augmented Reality provider for hand-held devices, and with the release of an upgrade to its main app, Junaio, appears to have succeeded. TechCrunch says the new app has made some major progress in providing users a true AR experience and EndGadget says the app is worth more than a peek, because in the virtual world of AR apps, few offer anywhere near the experience that comes with upgraded version of the venerable app. It can be seen in action in a video posted by the company on YouTube.
For those not keeping up, augmented reality is where a device such as a Smartphone or iPad adds data to what is out there in the real world. Point your iPhone at a street for example, and your phone will show you the street scene using the camera mounted on the front. It will look like you’re looking though a pane of glass. But also on the glass is stuff that isn’t really there. Names of restaurants appear to hover in the air in front of them, little arrows pop up overlaid on the actual street indicating where to turn, or in the case of Junaio, little animated characters can pop out of a comic book and start walking around on your desk.
TechCrunch says Metaio has been sitting close to the top of the pack of AR providers for the past couple of years, but with this new upgrade has made the leap to the top. Now in addition to a streamlined menuing system that focuses the attention on its major function, your phone with the Junaio app running suddenly becomes an experiential device, instead of a passive one that does little more than offer pictures, video and text.
EndGadget explains that Junaio works in one of two ways. The first relies on data given to the company by other Junaio users. In this case, you run the app, point it at your environment and immediately get overlaid information about hotels, restaurants, night clubs with ratings, etc. In the second scenario, users point their phone at a piece of paper that has a QR code on it, which it reads like a bar code. Upon doing that, signals are sent to a Matio database filled with AR animations. For example, if you purchase a coloring book with a QR code in it, you can then read that comic back with interactive characters from the book that come to life in front of your eyes.
QR codes can also be embedded onto web sites, bringing those to life as well. In the best cases, a site will display a QR code that causes characters such as animals or dinosaurs to leap off the page and come to exist in your real, virtual world. This means that once the characters have been brought up on your phone, they can be made to interact with your real world by running around on your desk, fully aware of objects in the way which they run around or have to climb over. They can also be made to exist off your desk in your office or home, running up stairs or up and down hallways creating mischief. Such characters can either be controlled by the user or made to behave autonomously.