Much has been said about the potential of augmented reality, the whiz-bang technology that is like a mash up of real life with super-imposed visuals. It’s kind of like a modern-day equivalent to heads up displays, which airforce pilots use to track targets and navigate. It can be used in all sorts of media, including print or displays where you hold up the content and viewing it through a webcam or mobile phone can activate a whole new dimension.
There have been a few useful applications that have successfully used augmented reality beyond just a quick-hit novelty. The best implementation I’ve seen so far is Yelp’s Monocle iPhone app. When activated, it shows you restaurants, stores and bars as you scan the horizon with your mobile phone. It’s quite an experience the first time you use it and a great way to get a sense of where all the places you’d want to check out are.
GoldRun is company that is taking things further and building out augmented reality experiences for other brands. They create virtual scavenger hunts in the physical world, where you go around looking for things using their application. When you’re at a particular destination, you can collect virtual goods, try on clothing all at your own leisure, whenever you’d like. Similar to how virtual goods can mean real money in the gaming world, I think this has the potential here is just as great plus there’s the added advantage of blending channels between the real world and mobile. Food for thought.