There is a good range of options for getting road directions information on mobile phones, from basic and free Google Maps for mobiles, native iPhone and Nokia driving directions applications through to free, almost fully featured demo GPS navigation tool from NAVIGON and a range of inexpensive applications from all top GPS navigation service providers. As I already stated in my earlier post, mobile phones have become fully enabled GPS navigation devices, so not much more to be said on this topic unless we look beyond just “in-car navigation” and into augmented reality capabilities.
To kick start a new series of topics just a quick note about what does “augmented reality” concept mean. In simple words, Augmented Reality (AR) is a term referring to a capability of blending digital, computer-generated visual effects with real-time footage of a surrounding real-world environment. A practical example of implementation of this concept is a “Head-Up Display” in the latest BMW 7 Series Sedan:
“Head-Up Display presents important information - speed, navigation directions and alerts - directly in the driver's field of vision. The information is projected via the windscreen into the driver's field of vision, thus minimizing distraction. The virtual image appears approximately two metres away, at the end of the bonnet. The driver's attention stays on the road ahead and the eye strain of repeated refocusing is eliminated.”
There are also quite interesting early attempts to create augmented reality applications for mobile phones which I will review it in the next post on this topic.