Here’s a fun story for a Friday afternoon. The Royal Dutch Mint has issued a limited edition commemorative coin which can be viewed with Layar to reveal augmented information.
Last year, the mint presented anniversary coins in €5 and €10 denominations which featured QR codes on the back. This year, they’ve kicked things up a notch, using the Layar Creator to add interactivity to new coins without the need for any special markers.
The coins are 5 Florin coins from Aruba, one of the 4 member countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They honor the Shoco, an endangered species of owl indigenous to Aruba which was recently named the country’s national symbol. Scanning the coin, of which only 2,500 were produced, provides collectors with additional information about the Shoco.
“It is very special to be the first mint in the world with an Augmented Reality coin,” says Maarten Brouwer, mint master at Royal Dutch Mint. “This Augmented Reality coin is a new milestone in the rich
series of special coins we make.”
Augmenting coins is certainly beyond our normal examples of magazines and newspapers using the Layar Creator to provide interactivity, but it’s a great showcase for the versatility of the Layar Creator. Any flat image can be easily enhanced to provide further value to those who scan it with Layar.
The Occupy Wall Street protests quickly spread from New York City to the rest of the United States to the rest of the world, and it’s only fitting they should now occupy Augmented Reality, where neither blockades nor pepper spray and baton-wielding police officers can keep you off of Wall Street.
Layar developer and Manifest.AR founding member Mark Skwarek has made a global call to activists to make themselves seen and heard in AR, which according to the AR Occupy Wall Street blog, is much more difficult to do in “actual” reality.
“Protesters were not given permits to protest at Wall Street forcing them blocks from the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE]. Wall Street was barricaded off. Only part of the sidewalk was accessible to the public and there was a constant heavy police presence.
arOCCUPYWALLSTREET takes the protest to the heart of the financial district, placing them directly in front of the NYSE. Augmented reality gives protesters the ability to have a truly global affect on world events.”
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|A 1963 photo of 4625 Springfield Ave. in Philadelphia overlaid onto the present location.|
With each cool new history layer, we are reminded that Augmented Reality is a great way to display historical photos and information previously hidden away in government archives.
Currently on the Layar platform, you can see San Francisco’s historic Market Street before and after the massive earthquake in 1906 that forever changed the landscape, view the Berlin Wall as it stood between 1961 and 1989, uncover Civil War history and more.
The newest historical addition to the Layar platform, PhillyHistory, uses Augmented Reality to merge Philadelphia’s past with present.
Using content from the Philadelphia Department of Records’ online database (PhillyHistory.org), you can access nearly 90,000 historic images of the city, 500 of which are pinned to the current landscape in virtually their exact location in AR. Of those 500 images, 20 also contain additional information about the places in the photos created by the editors of The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia as well as local scholars.
This massive project was made possible by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organization rewarded this grant to the City of Philadelphia Department of Records (DOR) in order to fund a research project that would investigate the use of Augmented Reality in displaying historic photographs as overlays on a view of the current landscape.
The DOR partnered with Philadelphia-based company Azavea to conduct the research on Augmented Reality and build the mobile phone applications. The two organizations published the results of this research in a free white paper available for download here. The paper also serves as a valuable resource for anyone interested in building on the Layar platform.
The PhillyHistory app is available in the iTunes Store as well as the Android Market, but you can also access it from inside Layar via the PhillyHistory AR layer.
Three phases in the evolution of the PhillyHistory layer