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EyeTour Develops First Augmented Reality Experience For Puerto Rico

Posted on 17 July 2009 by EyeFred

Welcome to the future of tour technology!

SAN JUAN, August 18th, 2009.  EyeTour has become one of the first developers in the world to provide an Augmented Reality tour experience for users of advanced mobile phones.  Augmented Reality is one of the most exciting technological developments that is rapidly gaining acceptance through the use of advanced mobile phones like the Google’s G1 and the iPhone, and innovative applications such as the recently released Layar Reality Browser by Amsterdam-based company Layar.

Following the release of the Layar Reality Browser in June 2009 and it subsequent API release in July 8th, 2009, EyeTour became one of fifty developers in the world entrusted with developing content or ‘layers’ to be browsed using the novel application.  EyeTour’s award-winning content, which includes high-quality video tours of Puerto Rico’s greatest attractions, photo galleries, and site information, is available now as an Augmented Reality experience for owners of advanced mobile phones running on Google’s Android platform, like the G1 phone available locally through T-mobile.  Users need to download the Layar Reality Browser application to their phones in order to experience Puerto Rico through technology akin to that previously found only within the realm of science fiction.

The concept is easy to understand through personal experience and extremely intuitive, but decidely harder to demonstrate through still images or words (which is precisely why we prepared a video demonstration – see Youtube video above).  Advanced mobile phones such as the G1 or ‘Google Phone’ are capable of overlaying information on top of the real world by using the device’s camera, GPS, and compass.  When you point your phone’s camera towards a target (as you would to take a photograph with it), you’ll be able to see additional information displayed on top of whatever you are looking at on the device’s screen.  EyeTour’s Layar contribution allows users to walk the streets of San Juan, finding their way from historical site to historical site via radar, while being able to access high-quality videos, photo galleries, and additional information such as contact phone numbers and hours of operation.

The project is the latest in EyeTour’s string of technological innovations within the tourism industry and is part of the company’s commitment to establishing Puerto Rico as a leading destination for tech-savvy tourists, as well as to  promoting local development efforts.  EyeTour’s Augmented Reality experience was developed in conjunction with Puerto Rican developer Pablo López – known locally for the hit iPhone application, Parranda – who also developed the current version of EyeTour.com, recipient of this year’s SME WebAd Award for Best Website.  Mr. López’s new tech company, based in Puerto Rico, focuses on the development of next generation mobile applications and services.

A Selection of 8 Layar Dreams – concept designs selected for the Layar Blog. EyeTour is second from top.

8 Layar 2.0 Videos – examples of layers developed for Layar 2.0 launch (August 17th, 2009).  EyeTour is second from bottom.

Layar’s Press Release:

Press Release: Layar Reality Browser Announces Global Launch and New Features in the Latest Release

Over 100 partners worldwide developing content layers including well known brands

AMSTERDAM, August 17th 2009. Layar, which was first launched in June 2009 in The Netherlands, announces that it’s second generation Reality Browser is now available globally on Android devices. Many new content layers are available in the Reality Browser which vary from Wikipedia, Twitter and Brightkite to local services like Yelp, Trulia, store locator’s, nearby bus stops, mobile coupons, Mazda dealers and tourist, nature and cultural guides.

Layar Reality Browser 2.0
To discover new content quickly and with ease, the new Reality Browser includes sections for ‘Featured’ and ‘Popular’. All layers are also accessible via a keyword search in the search function. Layers that are used often can be saved to ‘Favorites’. In addition to the enhanced augmented reality camera view, it is now possible to select Map or List view. For every Point of Interest (POI), several actions can be taken such as: linking to a mobile site for more information, playing a live location based trivia game, linking to a video or sound clip, clicking to call for reservations, and looking at a route description to the POI. Content partners can fully customize their layer to provide a distinctive experience for the user.

500 more developers
Over 100 developers worldwide have been given access to the Layar platform by means of an API key, and are currently developing layers.

Scott Halcomb of SystemK from Japan, who developed 22 layers including the ‘Sapporo Hotspots’ layer:
“With the Layar API and support of the developers community, creating layers has been a pleasure”.

Dave Elchoness of GoWeb3D from the USA/ India, with 11 layers published including FlickAR:
“We strongly believe that Layar represents the next evolution for mobile applications and feel privileged to participate”.

Michael Coutinho, Technical Manager at Trulia, USA:
“This is a great idea. I was able to develop our layer in about three hours.”

To further grow the community of developers, Layar has released an additional 500 new API keys. The supporting wiki (http://layar.pbworks.com), with developer instructions and documentation, are all now available.

Layar for all
Starting from today, Layar is available for everyone with an Android phone anywhere in the world.  The Reality Browser can be downloaded in all local Android Markets and is pre-installed on the new Samsung Galaxy (i7500) in the Netherlands.

Dirk Groten, CTO:
“The next platform on which Layar will be available is the iPhone 3GS. We are currently investigating other platforms that support our functionalities.”

Raimo van der Klein, CEO:
“With the release of this Reality Browser we believe we have created a worldwide platform that will bring both fun and relevant Augmented Reality experiences in one application to a growing audience of users.”

The Layar Reality Browser displays real time digital information on top of reality in the camera screen of the mobile phone. While looking through the phone’s camera lens, a user can see houses for sale, popular bars and shops, tourist information of the area, play a live game, etcetera. Layar first launched on June 16th, 2009 and announced the opening up its platform by means of an API on July 8th, 2009. The Layar platform serves as an enabler for mobile location services – any database with geo-location information can easily be turned in a content layer. The Layar Reality Browser is globally available for mobile phones running the Android operating system. Layar is a company based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


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