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Blog: Development news

The Layar Creation Challenge is Open for Submissions!

Adriane Goetz August 12, 2011

Recently, we revealed our new Layar Vision extension and announced the Creation Challenge. Now, the Layar Vision beta is available and the Challenge is open for submissions!

“Augmented Reality is at the stage where it can add real value to existing businesses,” said Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Layar co-founder and General Manager. 

“This is what we are focusing on with our challenge; we’re not looking for just a cool layer using Layar Vision, but for creative, smart business ideas that will provide lasting value for both user and publisher.”

We’re giving away a total of $55,000 in cash to 10 developers who create the most useful, creative or otherwise impressive experiences with Layar Vision; we want to see content that really makes us say “Wow!”

You can now download the Android APK beta and begin building with Layar Vision! Public versions for both Android and iPhone will be available in the coming months.

Please submit your Creation Challenge layer anytime between now and September 15th. After the submission deadline, we will determine the finalist short-list and announce it a week later.

Our internationally-acclaimed jury of AR enthusiasts, including: Layar co-founder and CEO Raimo van der Klein, Wired UK editor-at-large Ben Hammersley, sci-fi author and AR wizard Bruce Sterling, former AdMob evangelist Russell Buckley and author/futurist Gerd Leonhard, will judge and rank the finalists to determine the top 10 ranking.

Important Challenge dates:

  • August 15: Submissions open
  • September 15th – Submission deadline
  • September 22nd – Finalists announced
  • October 3rd – Winners announced

Please visit our Layar Creation Challenge page for complete rules and details, peruse our documentation, and direct any questions or comments about the Challenge to Challenge[at]Layar[dot]com.

Good luck!


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Introducing: Layar Vision, and a $55,000 Creation Challenge!

Adriane Goetz August 2, 2011

On a scale of 1-10 for exciting Layar announcements, this one goes to 11; we proudly present… Layar Vision! 

With Layar Vision, digital experiences are launched from visual triggers like magazines, posters and newspapers. Layar Vision uses computer vision techniques to augment objects in the physical world. 

The Layar browser can tell which objects in the real world are augmented because the visual fingerprints of the objects are preloaded into the application based upon the user’s layer selection. When a user aims their device at an object that matches the fingerprint, the app instantaneously returns the associated AR experience. 

This new functionality lets layers become truly immersive as seemingly ordinary objects come alive with interactivity. 

“We are really excited about this release. Mobile devices can finally ‘see’,” said Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Layar co-founder and General Manager. “By adding Layar Vision we are taking an important step towards making augmented reality more effective. With Layar Vision we enable developers to create easy and fast user experiences. It quickly detects multiple enriched objects around a user at any given time.” 

Layar Vision can easily be added to existing location-based layers, so developers can essentially “upgrade” the layers they already have to include Layar Vision. We’ll be including this feature in our next major Layar Player update as well, allowing simple integration with standalone apps for both iPhone and Android! 

To kickstart the launch of Layar Vision, we’re hosting a Layar Creation Challenge, worth $55,000 in total cash prizes! The 10 developers who create the most useful, creative or otherwise impressive layers with Layar Vision will receive anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000! 

The winners will be chosen by our international jury of AR wizards. We are releasing the Android client and publishing platform with Layar Vision enabled in beta in the coming weeks so you can start building! 

Registration is now open, so enter today! To get started, take a look at the documentation and watch our Layar Vision video for inspiration!


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ARDevCamp Sydney Brings AR Down Under

Chris Cameron June 14, 2011

Over the weekend, ARDevCamp held its very first event in Australia, bringing a Layar-sponsored gathering of augmented reality developers to Sydney. Rob Manson - the man behind MOB Labs and Certified Layar Creation Tool buildAR - hosted the event and posted a great overview of the day’s activities on his blog. Here are a few selections from Rob’s report.

The first ARDevCamp in Sydney was a great event with 40-50 people attending throughout the day. It was held at the Powerhouse Museum in their ThinkSpace providing interactive whiteboards, projectors and laptops for those who needed them. Throughout the day we covered a lot of topics and there was a lot of interesting discussion and debate generated.

Early in the day we covered a basic introduction to Augmented Reality in general and discussed the difference between geo-located, marker based and computer vision based AR. It also gave me a chance to rant a little about my views on the currently limited definition of AR.

@alexmyoung then presented an overview of the current state of interaction available in AR applications. She covered the “4 key modes of AR UX” outlined on the site and it was a great chance to review and debate how projective interfaces like Sixth Sense fit into this analysis. This also raised some interesting discussion around gesture recognition, barehand computing and the opportunities for defining standard languages and norms in this space.

Then @DamonOehlman ran an interesting session on WebGL and I think a lot of people’s eyes were opened to the opportunity that is rapidly evolving here. We had some initial hurdles at the beginning to configure the browsers to support WebGL but quickly overcame that and were able to demonstrate the Mixing Reality demo along with some others. This is a great match for where this technology is really at. It doesn’t work out of the box and the average web user doesn’t even know it’s possible…but without too much effort at all you can get some mind blowing content running in your browser.

Warren Armstrong also gave an overview of the (Un)seen Sculptures exhibition that uses Layar to present art from a wide range of artists at venues like the Sydney Opera House during the Vivid Festival.


The rest of the afternoon people spent hacking on various projects with a lot of people using to start creating layers like the #ARDevCamp layer. @absolut_todd was even able to quickly take the list of Victorian Microbreweries provided by to create what is obviously a very useful layer 8)

We wound up the day with a quick play with the Parrot AR Drones and then all headed off for drinks at the Pumphouse which were very kindly sponsored by the team at Layar.

Out of the day came about 100 tweets which reached over 47,000 users. Since then a number of people have also created some great blog posts about the day.

We at Layar are very excited to see the love of augmented reality spreading to every hemisphere of the planet! In fact, following this event in Sydney there are a few more events being planned in the area, including Brisbane, Melbourne and New Zealand.

Photo by Halans.


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Introducing: Layar Connect

Chris Cameron May 17, 2011

Creating your own feature-rich layers just got a heck of a lot easier.

Today, we are very pleased to announce the launch of our publishing API, Layar Connect. This new tool allows third parties to build an end-to-end, one-stop-shop content management system for layers, enabling those without technical programming skills to launch their very own layers on our platform without writing a single line of code.

We are very excited about the possibilities this brings both to the Layar platform and to the augmented reality field as a whole. Layar Connect allows anyone to build what could become the WordPress or YouTube of augmented reality, helping them create and share content in truly immersive ways.

“We’re focused on the democratization of augmented reality and want to make it easier to create and publish AR content for all,” said Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Layar co-founder and General Manager. “With Layar Connect, we are the first in the industry to move management and publication of AR content to third parties. This creates opportunities for Layar partners to add increased value to their business; a big step in the professionalization of the AR industry.”

For users, this new tool will allow you to get your very own content ideas realized in augmented reality. Perhaps you want to create your own personal layer with spots and objects of your choosing. Before, if you didn’t have technical expertise, creating and managing your own layer meant jumping between Layar and a third-party system. Now, those systems will be able to handle every aspect of registering and creating layers, making the process painless for you.

For developers, Layar Connect improves on the logistics of creating layers. It is now far easier to create and manage Layar content, and developers can also build their own tools to suit their individual needs as third-party publishers of augmented reality content.

Several third-party tools are already making use of Layar Connect, and have been certified by Layar as high-quality, reliable tools for easily creating Layar content. Only tools which meet these requirements will be named Certified Layar Creation Tools, the first of which include:

  • buildAR - buildAR lets you quickly and easily add your own information overlays to create your own augmented reality content on Layar. “Layar Connect lets buildAR make creating layers easy for anyone,” said Rob Manson of buildAR. “You don’t have to be a developer to create augmented experiences - just have a great idea.” Learn more.

  • Poistr - Poistr is a service where anyone can manage data layers in an easy way and without technical skills. Like BuildAR, Poistr is a web-based interface for adding POIs to a map which can then be viewed in augmented reality with Layar. “Layar Connect facilitates the automation for creating and managing layers and POIs, and allows total integration with Layar,” said Poistr’s Ignacio Vilalta. Learn more.

  • Poiz - Poiz is a Layar Creation System (LCS) - an online content management system (CMS) for compiling layers. With Poiz you can easily create a layer with custom form and content, but without high development costs. Technical knowledge of layers is not necessary. “Layar Connect makes Poiz a one-stop shop with full control over layer and content, allowing us to offer Poiz accounts for a lower price,” said Willem Veenstra of Poiz. Learn more.

  • VISAR - VISAR is a content management system and publication platform for Layar and other services. It puts you in full control of your content 24/7 and stores it safely. “With Layar Connect, the entire process is now customer oriented, making it fast and easy to create and maintain great AR experiences,” said VISAR’s Jeroen Meijer. Learn more.

Head on over to the Layar Tools page for more information about Layar Connect and developer requirements. To apply for an API key, please fill out this form.

Read the official press release here.


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Microsoft Demos Layar on Windows 7 Phone at MIX11

Adriane Goetz April 15, 2011

This week Layar attended Microsoft’s MIX11 event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where the corporate vice president of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, showed a demo of the Layar app running on Windows Phone 7 during his keynote, making Layar quite possibly the first Augmented Reality application to run on the Windows Phone 7 platform!

The demo was shown to support Windows Phone 7’s new “Mango” update’s features, which support Augmented Reality applications by allowing developers to access motion sensors (namely the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and location sensors) as well as the camera.

To demonstrate Mango’s new AR capabilities, Microsoft’s implementation of the Layar browser showed a layer called “Tweets @ MIX11” that displayed tweets from the conference. While no official plans to offer Layar in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace have been put into motion yet, the demo shows that the platform is now well-suited to support sensor-intensive applications like Layar.

This video is a short clip of the 2-hour keynote, but you can watch the presentation it its entirety via Channel 9.

Would you like to see Layar on Windows Phone 7? Leave a comment!


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