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Layar Looks Back on 2011

Chris Cameron December 23, 2011

The days in 2011 are slowly ticking down toward the beginning of 2012, so as the new year approaches, we wanted to take a look back on the past year here at Layar. We’ve come a long way since 2010.

If the Layar blog is any gauge, you might be interested to know that in 2011, we posted 145 blog posts including this one. Over on YouTube, we added 44 new videos that show a wide range of Layar products and examples and events. Here’s a recap of the last year of Layar.

New Updates, Platforms and Products

We were quite busy in 2011 releasing updates to existing products, creating and launching new ones, and extending our reach to broader horizons. Between January and November, we released versions 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 of the Layar Browser. In March we were proud to finally bring Layar to Symbian devices, and followed that up with our launch on Blackberry in September.

Our new additions this year have been designed to extend Layar’s reach and make it easy for anyone to get involved with augmented reality. Before the end of January launched the Layar Player, which allows anyone to add Layar-style AR into their own iPhone apps which just a few lines of code. A few months later in the spring, we announced Layar Connect, a publishing API that makes creating layers far easier than ever before.

Toward the end of the summer, we started taking Layar in new directions as we launched our new Layar Vision technology along with the Layar Creation Challenge. The finalists and winners all found fascinating ways to implement Vision into their layers. And finally, just this week, we launched an entirely new project, totally separate from the Layar ecosystem: Stiktu, an app for creating and sharing fun pieces of augmented reality with your friends and the world.

Great New Examples of Layar in the World

In 2011 we saw the creation of some terrific new layers and applications of Layer. Thanks to the tireless work of our amazing Layar developer community, this year, you can:

Special Events and Activities

In 2011, our calendar’s were chock full of amazing events we were both attending and hosting. Each month we continued our Augmented Reality Thursday series, hosting an AR meetup in our office lounge with amazing presentations of great tech demos. We even hosted our first event in the United States, Layar Day L.A., which featured a visit to the Art in the Streets exhibit and a workshop with Layar’s Gene Becker and Sander Veenhof.

Our U.S. adventures also continued with our sponsored AR Design Class at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. AR luminary Bruce Sterling instructed the eager young students as they designed unique, futuristic concepts involving augmented reality. You can check out some of their amazing final projects here and here.

As a company, we travelled to and had a presence at many industry events, including DLD in Munich, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Augmented Reality Event in California. The Layar co-founders were also busy attending events and being interviewed by various media outlets. Claire spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos and even debated education with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Reuters stopped by the Layar office to profile the company and Maarten, and both Maarten and Raimo shared their vision for augmented reality here on the blog.

Other Happenings

The remainder of our year was filled with other random events that kept things interesting for the company and around the office. In February, we unveiled a brand new official Layar video, which showcased all of the amazing things you could do with the Layar Browser. It’s quite the step up, production wise, from our original video, which still currently has over 1.3 million views.

We also welcomed AR guru Bruce Sterling to our office for presentations and talks and discussions about Layar and the state of the augmented reality industry. This year marked a special partnership between Layar and Bruce, including helping with our AR Design Class in California.

And finally, just a few months ago, Layar packed it’s bags and shipped across town to our beautiful new office in Amsterdam. So far the new office has been a great change for us, bringing us closer to the heart of Amsterdam while providing a better work space for collaboration and communication.


It’s been a stellar 2011 for Layar. As you can see, a lot has happened over the last year and we’ve come a long way as a company. So here’s to more fun and growth in 2012. We hope you join us for all the fun!

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Introducing: Stiktu

Chris Cameron December 20, 2011

For as long as Layar has been around, you’ve probably associated us with the layers of information which you can view over your world using the Layar Browser. Recently, we’ve introduced you to our new Layar Vision technology which allows you unlock interactive AR experiences by scanning images in things like magazines, posters and product packaging.

Now we’re taking things another step further.

For the last several months we’ve been working behind the scenes on a whole new project, completely separate from Layar as you know it. We’ve spent lots of time testing this idea with our private beta group, tweaking it until we felt it was just right and in the perfect state to release to the world.

Today, we are ready to show you what we’ve been working on. Introducing: Stiktu.

Stiktu is a whole new way of using augmented reality to be creative and express yourself on top of objects in the real world. It’s the app to leave your mark, share your favorite things, rate items you like and speak your mind.

With Stiktu, you can add text, images, stickers and sketches to objects around you by scanning them with your phone. Then anyone who scans that item will see your post directly on top of it, no matter where they are in the world. It works great with flat, well-lit items like posters, magazines and product packaging - the same items you see used with Layar Vision.

From the very start we always wanted to give this powerful technology to people so they could use it to their own benefit. With Stiktu we created an app that does exactly that. Now everybody can publish augmented reality content on anything they care about.

                  

The app is now available to download in the iTunes App Store and Android Market. As we gradually roll out, the app is currently available only in Europe. To be specific, users in The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and France can download Stiktu right now.

We will have more to share about Stiktu in the coming weeks, and the rest of the world will be able to download the app very soon. Until then, we hope you take a moment to download Stiktu and check out what we’ve been working on.

To keep updated on all things Stiktu, you can find updates at the Stiktu blog, or follow Stiktu on Twitter and Facebook.

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MAKE Magazine Adds Digital Content to its Latest Issue

Chris Cameron November 21, 2011

Last week we announced Layar’s partnership with LINDA. magazine, the largest women’s glossy in the Netherlands. 

In addition to LINDA., we’ve also had an exciting Layar partnership brewing in the US with popular do-it-yourself technology magazine MAKE

MAKE magazine enriched this month’s Toys and Games issue with Layar technology, adding videos, social sharing, links to additional online content and more.

The Toys and Games issue is on newsstands now in the US, so pick up a copy and launch the “MAKE Magazine #28” layer, or take a sneak peak at the digital content in this demo video.

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“Dutch Oprah” LINDA Brings Magazine to Life With Layar

Chris Cameron November 18, 2011

We’re excited to announce that Layar 6.0 including Vision is now available in the App Store, just in time for iPhone users to experience the awesome AR content in the latest issue of LINDA. magazine.

LINDA., the largest women’s glossy in the Netherlands, partnered with Layar to create the first Dutch augmented magazine, showing infotainment and commerce to be a natural fit with augmented reality.

More than 50 pages inside this month’s edition of LINDA. magazine have been augmented with digital buttons that enable readers to access additional digital content using their smartphones. These buttons link to specific websites, videos, app stores and phone numbers.

A total of 120 augments can be found throughout the magazine for readers to view and interact with.

 Some examples from the magazine include: 

  • Unique backstage video footage of the cover shoot
  • One-click access to sites selling the fashion featured in the articles
  • The ability to book a test drive for the advertised cars

“We are thrilled LINDA. wanted to work with us and use Layar,” said Claire Boonstra, Layar co-founder. “Not just because it is a great magazine, but it proves what we said with the launch of Layar Vision; this is a utility that generates value for brands, retailers and online merchants by making physical items interactive.”

Watch the video to see LINDA.‘s pages come to life with Augmented Reality.

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StAR Wars: Watch the Rebel Alliance Battle the Galactic Empire in AR [VIDEO]

Adriane Goetz November 9, 2011

A few months ago we wrote about Spain’s Frikoño 2011 layer and the awesome 3D models of Star Wars spacecrafts therein.

Now developer David Contreras of Spanish technology group ESIDEA has upped his game, adding animation (and lasers!) to simulate battles between the aforementioned Star Wars spacecrafts.

Choose from nine different battle scenes, including the Millennium Falcon vs. a Star Destroyer, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and more. There’s even a reenactment of the Battle of Hoth, for all you AT-AT Walker fans.

Perhaps the best improvement in the new Frikoño 2.0 layer, however, is that you can view it from anywhere in the world. The layer text is in Spanish, but chances are most Star Wars fans will figure out what a “Halcón Milenario” is.

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