Share Your Augmented Reality Experience With the New Layar 5.0

Chris Cameron April 11, 2011

Back in February, we released a beta version of the next iteration of the Layar Reality Browser. Today, thanks to the feedback from the beta, we are very excited to announce that Layar 5.0 is now available (in full-fledged non-beta form) for both Android and iPhone.

So what do we have for you in this version? I’m glad you asked. Layar 5.0 now features the ability to share content with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The next time you find a really cool layer, gain achievements or even spot a cool 3D model you want to take a screenshot of, you can quickly and easily share it with the world.

“This year we are continuing to look for more ways to bring augmented reality into people’s everyday lives,” said Layar CEO Raimo Van der Klein. “With today’s new version, we’re able to take a huge step closer towards that goal by giving users the chance to discover exciting new content and share cool layers and augmented screenshots with friends.”

As Raimo said, with Layar 5.0 also comes the ability for more interactivity within layers thanks to our animation capabilities. Layers are no longer limited to static content; now icons and 3D models can come alive with animation, adding a new layer of engagement to augmented reality.

Additionally, thanks to the great user feedback we’ve received, some tweaks to the user interface have been implemented into the client. We have made it easier than ever to save your favorite layers, and now we keep track of your most recently viewed layers in the “Recent” tab.

Finally, for our Symbian users, don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about you. In time our Symbian client will be updated to include all of the same features found on the Android and iPhone clients.

So if you haven’t yet, be sure to update to latest version of Layar. For iPhone users, Layar only supports iOS 4.0 and higher, so if you have yet to update, you will be prompted to do so.

For those that are new, to download Layar 5.0 on your mobile device, simply navigate to either the App Store or Android Market and search for Layar!


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Two More ARt Exhibitions Opening in April

Adriane Goetz April 6, 2011

Image from the Gradually Melt the Sky exhibition invitation.

Last week we wrote about two Augmented Reality art shows opening this month in Philadelphia. Well, East Coasters, you can add two more to the list.

Some of Layar’s most innovative and active “ARtists” in the US, including Mark Skwarek, Will Pappenheimer and John Craig Freeman (along with other, internationally based, members of Manifest.AR like Sander Veenhof) kick off a new exhibition this Friday at Devotion Gallery in Brooklyn called Gradually Melt the Sky.

The exhibition runs from April 8 - May 1, and featured ARtwork includes a visualization of water contamination in the Williamsburg/Bushwick neighborhoods, a “Parade to Hope” and a re-creation of the 1989 Tiananman Protest.

The ARtists will then move these and other works to Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) from April 22 - May 8 for the Boston Cyberarts Festival. If you’re in the Boston area for the event, you can access the mobile site and ManifestAR layer here.


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Augmented Museums Are Becoming a Reality

Adriane Goetz April 4, 2011

From Jan Rothuizen’s AR(t) exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.

There are virtually limitless ways and reasons to use augmented reality, but one of our favorite use cases on the Layar platform so far is art and augmenting museums.

A healthy number of museum-related layers already exist on the Layar platform. The Andy Warhol Museum layer displays important Warhol points around the city of Pittsburgh, Jan Rothuizen’s ARtours layer augments the Stedelijk Museum here in Amsterdam and Sander Veenhof and Mark Skwarek’s “uninvited” exhibition is on display at MoMa in New York City.

While most of our early adopters have focused on art museums, AR has a massive amount of potential for all types of museums.

If you’re not yet convinced, take it up with Paul Stork and Ebelien Pondaag of  Fabrique, members of the Layar Partner Network. The pair is presenting a paper titled Augmented Reality and the Museum Experience (which you can read here) and is hosting a workshop this week in Philadelphia at the Museums and the Web 2011 conference.

We’ll post Fabrique’s presentation slides later this week, so keep an eye out.


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Layar’s Maarten Lens-FitzGerald Talks Open Data on Dutch Radio

Chris Cameron April 1, 2011

There is data all around us. We just don’t always know it. Real estate data, legal data, government data - it’s all there, and most of it is publicly available. Augmented reality is one of the best ways to visualize some of this data, helping us gain a deeper insight into the world around us.

This is the idea of open data, and such was the topic for discussion on the Dutch business radio station BNR recently as Layar’s own Maarten Lens-FitzGerald shared his opinions.

Maarten gave his favorite examples of open data on Layar, such as the layer, which showed where stimulus money was dispersed throughout America. Users could see which institutions and organizations were given money from the U.S. government, as well as how much.

As Layar grows to include more functionality, Maarten hopes that layers like these can be improved on to create a more engaging experience. Instead of just seeing icons to locate the various places money was doled out, why not see 3D piles of cash stacked on one another in correlation with the amount of money? The scene would be a 3D graphical display of data that you could literally walk around in.

Other items mentioned include the Spot Crime layer which uses public data to display crime reports around you, and a layer in the U.K. which shows the value of homes around you. All this information, which is publicly available, becomes much more powerful when put into context in our everyday lives.

So if you are a Dutchophone, you can listen to the entire interview here (sorry, no English version).


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Two Virtual ARt Exhibitions Powered by Layar Opening in April

Adriane Goetz March 31, 2011

“Miro Alien Chest-Burster” by Jon Rafman at the VPAP@PIFA AR exhibition in Philadelphia.

While there doesn’t appear to be an “Augmented Reality Awareness Month” yet, April is looking like a strong candidate. Besides the lovely weather here in Amsterdam and in many parts of the world (ideal for mobile AR experiences), there are already two Augmented Reality art exhibitions (in 3 locations) using the Layar platform so far this month.

The first runs from April 7-May 1 in Philadelphia, PA as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). This exhibition is a collaboration between Breadboard, a hybrid program at the University City Science Center dedicated to exploring the intersection of art, science and technology, and Layar Partner VPAP (Virtual Public Art Project).

VPAP@PIFA features 25 works of art placed strategically around around the city (like on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for instance). These 3D AR models include, but are not limited to, a giant alien snake (see image, right), a deformed foot that changes color, and a giant squid.

Mark Skwarek‘s “Occupation Forces” at the (Un)seen Sculptures exhibit in Sydney/Melbourne Australia.

Meanwhile, another ARt exhibition called (Un)seen Sculptures kicks off on April 9 in Sydney, Australia as part of the Surry Hills Festival then reopens in Melbourne on April 30.

The exhibition was organized by Australian new media artist Warren Armstrong and features 3D models created by 13 artists from across the globe, including a robot army (see image, left) a memorial for Japan, and a colony of hallucinogenic toads that copulate and then die.

You won’t be able to see the models yourself unless you’re physically present at the exhibition locations, but if you do go to one of these events, send us your screenshots! (

Congratulations to all the artists, veteran Layar developers and new, for their phenomenal work. These are some of the best 3D models we’ve seen on Layar yet!


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