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Season’s Greetings from Layar! What’s Your Holiday Wish?

Chris Cameron December 23, 2010

It’s that time of year again. The most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. A time to reconnect with friends and family and reflect on the past year over delicious food, thoughtful gifts and fun in the snow.



For Layar, this has been an amazing year of growth in which we have grown out of our infancy, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have a little fun once in a while! That’s why we’ve created a special interactive layer for the Christmas holiday.



Fire up Layar on your iPhone or Android device and search the catalog for “Xmas Layar” and you’ll find a layer made for us by our friends over at C2K. No matter where you are, you are immediately encircled by photos of the entire Layar team. Clicking on one our photos will let you see Christmas wishes from each of us. If you’re feeling mischievous, feel free to toss a snowball at us. It’s okay, we won’t be mad, it’s all part of the holiday fun!



If you like you can send us your own wishes or responses via email from the layer, and keeping with the spirit of the holidays, you could win a gift from Layar. The three most original Christmas wishes we receive will be awarded with a Layar hoodie sweatshirt, so go ahead and share your wishes with us!



As for us here at Layar, we are very excited for what 2011 will bring for the community, and we can’t wait to help usher in the next wave impactful Augmented Reality experiences. Happy holidays and happy new year to all!



If you’re reading this on your mobile device, click here to immediately launch this layer!



Layer: Xmas Layar
Location: Worldwide
Developer: C2K

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Meet Layar: Ivo van Barneveld

Chris Cameron December 21, 2010

Last week we introduced you to Klasien van de Zandschulp, one of the fresher faces at Layar who works with user research and interaction design. This week we have another recent hire to profile – Ivo van Barneveld, manager of the Layar Partner Network.



Ivo is a native to the Netherlands with over a decade of work experience in mobile technology, so here’s a bit about him and his experiences so far at Layar.



“I was born in Cadier en Keer in the southern part of the Netherlands (near Maastricht). I lived in the provence of Limburg for the first 4 years of my life and then moved to Dalfsen (near Zwolle) at the age of 5,” says Ivo.



“I have one sister who is three years younger than me and as a family we would spend many, many holidays in Sweden. I really love that country” he adds. “I lived in Dalfsen until the age of 18 when I left to attend college.”



Ivo attended the Delft University of Technology where he earned his Master’s degree in Applied Physics. Before coming to Layar, he worked as a manager at ProRail, which is responsible for the Dutch railway infrastructure.



The majority of his previous work career, however, is from his time with Nokia. Ivo worked for Nokia in several areas, including Networks Forum Nokia and Mobile Video. Now at Layar, Ivo manages the Layar Partner Network.

“As manager of the Layar Partner Network, I provide the premium tier of our developer community with tools, information and business opportunities to make them successful. I organise webinars, develop new initiatives and manage communication between developers, brands and agencies that use Layar,” he says. “The thing I like most about working at Layar is the great group of people I get to work with, and the quick decision making that a smaller company allows.”



Outside of work, for Ivo, family comes first. He is married and has three daughters, ages 3, 6 and 7. Ivo devotes most of his free time to his family, like helping manage the field hockey team two of his daughters play on. With the time left over, he enjoys running and cycling, as well as reading. A book he really recommends is Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh, even if you’re not into maths!



To get in touch with Ivo about the Layar Partner Network, you can email him at Ivo@Layar.com.

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Layar Creation Tools: Series Wrap-Up

Chris Cameron December 20, 2010

Over the last several weeks here on the Layar blog, we profiled three services for generating Layar content, which we call Layar Creation Tools (or LCTs). While other services exist or are in development, we chose to focus on these three - Skaloop, Hoppala Augmentation and BuildAR - because of their availability and accessibility to users of all skill levels.



Each LCT is unique and has its benefits to different users, so we decided to make a matrix that shows which features are available on each LCT. As you can see, Hoppala includes most of the features listed, such as layer actions, 3D objects and custom interaction widgets. Skaloop and BuildAR are simpler LCTs than Hoppala in terms of functionality, but their interface and design is a bit more digestible for more casual users.



If you are interested at all in creating Augmented Reality content on Layar, have a look at the matrix below and see which LCT might be right for you.





As for the services that are in development, keep an eye out for a pair of LCTs which are gearing up to open to public use: VISAR and Poiz. VISAR is a robust engine for creating layers and will likely be comparable to Hoppala in terms of functionality. Poiz is a bit simpler, but seems more detailed than Skaloop or BuildAR with features like the ability to preview the appearance of your layer. Both of these tools are still in the testing phase, but it’s likely that they will be available for public use early next year.



Note: Since this blog was posted, buidAR has since updated its platform significantly, including support for animation, 3D objects and more.

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Students Explore Their City with Expedition Deventer

Chris Cameron December 16, 2010

Yesterday we told you about an interactive scavenger hunt going on in Dublin, Ireland that is using Layar to help players find treasures and win prizes. These types of hunts fit nicely into the realm of Augmented Reality whether the players are searching for digital tokens or for actual educational information.



“Expeditie Deventer” (Expedition Deventer) is an interesting new project that uses Layar to focus on the latter of these two examples - helping people, namely high school students, learn more about the city of Deventer. The game was commissioned by the Public Library Deventer to teach students about the past, present and future of the city and to establish the library as the city’s information center.



The game is played by a group of students split into two teams - one which stays inside at the library and another which roams the streets of Deventer hunting down clues. The students use Layar on their smartphones to complete tasks, earn points, communicate and - most importantly - discover the city in a new way.



3D objects, images and videos can be found in various places throughout the city to help the students solve the questions and assignments. The inside team takes the clues discovered outside and researches them at the library using the Internet or other library resources.



The Expeditie Deventer project was recently awarded the prize for best online education application at the 2010 Dutch Digitaal Erfgoed (Digital Heritage) conference - a testament to the educational value that can be produced through Augmented Reality. Layar is a powerful platform for creating unique educational experiences, and its accessibility on smartphones adds an extra level of appeal to the youth in this case.



To learn more about Expeditie Deventer, check out the project’s homepage, the case study by developers Fabrique and watch the video below!





Layer: Expeditie Deventer
Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
Required: iPhone or Android device
More info: Expeditie Deventer Homepage
Developer: Fabrique

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Scavenger Hunt in Dublin Uses Layar to Dole Out Prizes

Chris Cameron December 15, 2010



One of the things that makes Augmented Reality unique from other mobile and digital technologies is that it is by its very nature inherently interactive. The blending of digital information with the real world makes for truly immersive experiences, and a new promotion in Dublin, Ireland is taking advantage of this in a big way.



For the grand opening of COPĀN, a new café bar modeled in the style of the ancient Mayan civilization of the same name, a week-long mobile scavenger hunt called “Find COPĀN” is being held. Players must use clues to track down the game’s treasures, which can be unlocked using Layar. The first person to find the treasure each day is awarded one of many of the contest’s prizes, which include iPads, laptops, TVs, cameras, and even a vacation in South America.



You can join the fun by visiting the Find COPĀN website on your Android or iPhone where you can sign up or login with your Facebook account. The website tracks your status and lets you access the “Navigator” which launches Layar and opens the “Find COPĀN” layer. Each day, clues regarding the whereabouts of the day’s prize are provided in the app, in a local newspaper and over the air on a local radio station.



Navigate around Dublin using Layar to find tombs, earn points and possibly unlock the treasure chest to win a prize. The game is going on now and lasts only through this weekend, so if you’re in the Dublin area, search for “Find COPĀN” in Layar and join the Augmented Reality scavenger hunt!



Layer: Find COPĀN
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Required: iPhone or Android device
More info: Find COPĀN Homepage
Developer: Syn

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