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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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WorkSnug’s Workspace Ratings Come to Layar

Chris Cameron March 30, 2011

Thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet and the capabilities of laptops and portable devices, working remotely has become a common practice for millions. Freelancers, the self-employed or just those with employers who allow remote working - they all undoubtedly enjoy occasionally perching themselves at a coffee shop for a day of work.

The only problem is, what if you’re new to an area or you’re travelling to an unfamiliar city? It can be hard to find that perfect place to get some work done. That’s the problem that the startup WorkSnug tries to fix.

WorkSnug has teams around the world visiting popular workspaces, rating the Wifi, noise levels, environment and - of course - the coffee! The company lets users find workspaces using their iPhone and BlackBerry apps, and now, Android and Symbian users can access this wealth of workspace knowledge on-the-go in augmented reality with the WorkSnug layer.

Here’s a video of WorkSnug’s San Sharma talking about the layer!

On your mobile device? Click here to launch this layer now!


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Hijacking the Here and Now

Chris Cameron March 29, 2011

Ignite is a world-wide series of fast-paced talks that focus on just about everything. Cities all around the world wrangle up participants to speak for 5 minutes at a time about a topic they are passionate about, and each gathers a unique group of speakers.

In San Francisco, Ignite speakers tend to be of a techy/geeky persuasion, and this was the status quo Monday at the most recent gathering. You know how we know it was geeky? Layar’s own Gene Becker was one of the speakers, as he spread the good word about augmented reality.

The focus of Gene’s talk was “Hijacking the Here and Now: Adventures in Augmented Reality,” which featured examples of engaging augmented reality content. Here’s how Gene describes the talk in his own words:

“Augmented reality is all about webcam marketing gimmicks and filling the world with geotagged logos, right? Nope, wrong. Instead, we’re learning that the natural mode of expression for AR, is enabling people to *hack time and space*. In 5 minutes, I’ll show you ~20 solid examples of how artists, journalists, historians and citizen activists are using augmented reality to hijack the here and now.”

Videos of the Ignite speeches should be viewable online in a short amount of time, but we thought we’d help give you a head start in case you missed his talk. Embedded below are the slides from Gene’s talk, so have a look and see how augmented reality is helping us hijack our everyday lives.


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Send & Receive AR Gifts with SurpriseME for iPhone

Chris Cameron March 25, 2011

It’s a busy day for iPhone news at Layar today. If you haven’t already, make sure you hit up the AppStore and upgrade to the most recent release of Layar. There’s nothing different, no new features or anything, but this version fixes a few bugs that were occurring due to the release of iOS 4.3 by Apple.

And while you’re in the AppStore, search for an app named SurpriseMe AR - the latest app that makes use of our brand new Layar Player. The Layar Player allows iPhone developers to easily implement augmented reality into their very own iPhone apps by simply copy and pasting a few lines of code.

SurpriseMe AR is an app from Elipse Analysis and Design that lets you give and receive gifts to and from your friends using augmented reality. You can add your friends, pick a gift and place it in virtual space for them to discover. Or perhaps you will be the lucky recipient of an AR gift from them!

The app supports 3D models, photos, audio files and text gifts. You can place the objects like dropping a pin on a map, and your friends see the gifts pop up around them in augmented reality. The application connects to Facebook to help you add friends and manage gifts both on the app and on your personal computer.

To see how it works simply check out the video embedded below after the jump! And don’t forget to upgrade your iPhone to the newest version of Layar!


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Italian Energy Provider Launches 2011 Ad Campaign with Layar

Chris Cameron March 23, 2011

Augmented reality is gaining popularity in the corporate promotion and advertising space, and Layar is a common solution for many companies. One such example which just launched this week is that of Enel, Italy’s largest energy provider, and the second largest in all of Europe.

The company’s vision for 2011 is to inspire “a future built on sustainable well-being” - a dream they say has persisted throughout the years. A TV ad shows a boy in the past tossing a paper airplane into the air and through time as it eventually lands at the feet of a boy in present day.

To help with the campaign, Enel is enhancing their billboard advertisements in airports across Europe with an augmented reality experience built on Layar. The billboards feature a marker which encourages viewers to download Layar and launch the Enel layer for additional information.

You can see the same paper airplane from the ads floating around you, and can click it to watch the video on your phone. Other 3D models include videos and information about electric vehicles and the smart grid.

You can view some of the videos at Enel’s website, and the billboard ads can be found in airports in London, Pairs, Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Brussels, Bucharest and Moscow.

On your mobile device? Click here to launch the Enel layer now!


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