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They Have Arrived… The Battle: Los Angeles Alien Invasion Layer

Adriane Goetz June 10, 2011

There’s already an Alien threat in your city, on your street, and in your home.

Resistance is futile; the best you can hope for is survival.

These menacing extraterrestrials are highly-intelligent and have made their presence invisible to the naked eye. In order to view the threat, you must engage the Battle: Los Angeles layer through your mobile phone.

Once you launch the layer, you’ll see alien commanders and battle drones, but there are also alien command centers attacking US capitols and landmarks. If you see one, take a screenshot and share it on Twitter or Facebook to warn others.

… Ok, so there isn’t really a threat in “physical reality,” but there is a very serious alien invasion happening on Layar as a fun and interactive way to promote the film Battle: Los Angeles‘s Blu-ray/DVD/iTunes release on June 14.

The Battle: Los Angeles layer was a creative collaboration between Sony Pictures and Layar Partner Zehnder Communications, and it’s a great example of how to integrate Augmented Reality into a multi-platform digital marketing campaign.

The layer includes several multimedia options in the actions menu, allowing users to launch movie trailers and sneak previews, enter a sweepstakes to win a PS3, and purchase/pre-order the movie on Amazon.

It also highlights some Layar 5.0 features, including social sharing of screenshots, high-quality 3D models and both locative and dynamically generated POIs (aliens and droids appear near you no matter where you are, but command centers are only visible at specific locations, like over the White House, for example).

Check out this ultra cool promo video highlighting the Layar integration:

For more ways to survive the alien invasion (and possibly win prizes in the process), visit the Battle: Los Angeles website, “like” its Facebook page or follow @BattleLA on Twitter.


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Jaron Lanier ARE 2011 Keynote

Chris Cameron June 9, 2011

We know that you’ve just been itching to sit back and soak up a nice long video about augmented reality, the future and the evolution of technology. Well, your wait is over as we have for you another keynote from Augmented Reality Event 2011 in Santa Clara, California. This time, we’ve got Jaron Lanier who spoke for a good 40 minutes at ARE for the attendees.

Lanier is a computer scientist well-known for ushering in the term “virtual reality.” He helped develop some of the first VR goggles and gloves, and in recent days has worked with Second Life and Xbox Kinnect. He also is a music composer, connoisseur and instrument collector, and he showed off one of his unique instruments at ARE.

At the beginning of his talk, Lanier plays a khene, an ancient Laotian instrument. Lanier says the khene is possibly the first example of digital technology because sounds are created by air flowing through a series of open and shut (on versus off, 1 versus zero) switches. He uses this as a launching point for his discussion of technology, making for a very interesting talk.


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Fireside Chat with Vernor Vinge and Bruce Sterling

Chris Cameron June 8, 2011

As we begin to wrap up our series of videos from Augmented Reality Event 2011, it seems fitting to feature now the closing event of ARE. This year the conference was punctuated by a “fireside” chat (there was no flame in sight) with two science fiction authors whose work has had a profound impact on the augmented reality industry: Bruce Sterling and Vernor Vinge.

Vinge is the author of numerous science fiction novels including Rainbows End, and is a former professor of computer science and math at San Diego State University. His work and vision of the future has greatly influenced those developing augmented reality technology, including right here at Layar.

Bruce Sterling needs no further introduction to those familiar with Layar and this blog, but just in case, Bruce is a sci-fi/cyberpunk author who has similarly been highly influential in the direction the AR industry. He has come out to speak at several AR events and is currently teaching a Layar-sponsored summer session on AR design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

That said, any chance to hear one of these brilliant minds speak is certainly a privledge, let alone hearing them both at once. So here it is, our latest video from ARE 2011: Vernor Vinge and Bruce Sterling sitting down for a friendly chat to close out the event.


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ARE 2011 - Storytelling in AR with Helen Papagiannis

Chris Cameron June 6, 2011

One of the reasons we love augmented reality is that as a new form of media it creates a whole new world of possibilities for telling stories. It’s an entirely new medium of experience, and it requires a different perspective when approaching story telling.

Telling stories with augmented reality is the forte of designer, researcher and artist Helen Papagiannis. After all, her Twitter handle is @ARstories and she authors the blog Augmented Stories. Helen is currently completing her Ph.D. in at York University in Toronto where she is a Senior Research Associate at the Augmented Reality Lab. Her presentations on AR Storytelling have been well received, even making Gary Hayes’ Top Ten AR & Gamified Life Talks list.

In May, Helen presented at Augmented Reality Event 2011 in Santa Clara, California, and we’ve got video of it for you today. So check out Helen’s talk below, and see her Slideshare page to follow the slides.


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Layar Invades the 2011 Venice Biennale!

Adriane Goetz June 3, 2011

The 54th Venice Biennale Art Exhibition opens tomorrow, and just in case you’re not familiar, it has been among the top cultural events in the world for over a century, specializing in the avant-garde and showcasing the latest trends in contemporary art. With an historically “high art” reputation like that, it’s practically begging to be co-opted by guerilla Layar ARtists.

So if you make it out to Venice this weekend, or at least before the end of November, here are a few art installments that only the “Layar elite” can see:

Manifest.AR Intervention

The Cyber ARtist group returns with a series of eight “uninvited” art layers (see the full list here) consisting of their own pavilions that are actually competing with the “physical reality” pavilions via Sander Veenhof’s Battling Pavilions layer.

The Don Pigeon

Placed in Venice’s famous San Marco square, The Don Pigeon stands tall among the flock of real-life pigeons for a unique photo opportunity. According to its creators, “Forget the Biennale, forget the Guggenheim, this is what you want to see this summer!”

Where’s Franco

As a modern-day renaissance man, you can be sure that James Franco will be participating in a variety of activities at the Biennale. With the Where’s Franco layer, you can spot him in nine locations throughout the exhibition and even cozy up to him for a photo (let’s face it, this is the closest you’ll ever get).


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