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Blog: history

Exploring a City’s Past with Augmented Reality

Chris Cameron July 18, 2014

Over the years, one of the most common uses of Layar and Augmented Reality has been to look into the past with location-specific photographs or 3D models. Whether it’s the Berlin Wall, earthquake-damaged buildings in San Francisco or just a small town in a simpler time, AR is a great way to instantly travel back in time.

It’s in this same vein that the recently created ERA Girona experience was published as a Geo Layer on the Layar App. Those visiting Girona in Spain’s Catalonia region can use the layer to take a look into the city’s past by browsing for nearby historic photos.

The layer is part of the International Augmented Med program started by geographer Laura Olivas. It is funded in part by the European Union and by the Catalan government, and the city council of Girona agreed to allow the use of the photos. The name “ERA” is actually a clever play on words, as “era” means both a period of time in English, Spanish and Catalan, as well as “it was” in Spanish and Catalan. And of course, “RA” is the abbreviation for “Realitat Augmentada.”

More than 50 photos from the turn of the 20th century display Girona’s cultural heritage, including monuments, historical buildings and daily life. Users can search for “ERA Girona” in the Layar App to launch the layer. They only need to look around them with their phone or tablet to discover and view the nearby photographs.

Mouse over this image for an example.

“Every inch of Girona’s stones has plenty of history: the old town, the jewish quarter, the walls, the cathedral, etc,” the project says. “You don’t need Augmented Reality to feel the heritage of such a historical spot. But with ERA Girona, we have collected a series of old photographs, conveniently located along the city through points of interest, enriching your visitor experience letting you compare old photographs with the current status of the same spot.”

Mouse over this image for an example.

The project has gained the attention of the local media, inspiring a segment on a local TV news show and an article in a Catalan newspaper.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/546

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Turning Books Into an Ongoing Interactive Experience

Chris Cameron September 2, 2013

O13

Over the course of World War II, the Dutch Navy lost seven submarines – six of which disappeared in unknown locations. Since then, five have been recovered, and the search for the final submarine, designated O13, is the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Wilco Pleging.

To accompany the documentary, a book has been published containing stories, documents, drawings, photographs and more. But this book, O13: Still On Patrol, is unlike any other. The pages have been made interactive with the Layar Creator and the publisher plans to regularly update the content with new information.

Right now, book readers can scan the book with Layar for access to copies of the original construction plans of the O13, new photos from the search for the ship and more. Each week for the next few months, readers can enjoy more new extra digital content by scanning pages with the Layar App.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen publishers enhancing books with Layar, but the regular updates are unique in this case. This is a great way to bring more interactivity to books. By being promised more content each week, readers will be eager to pick up the book again and again.

See more great examples of how Layar can bring print to life on our new Inspiration page!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/508

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Layar Helps NY Town Discover Its Past

Chris Cameron June 26, 2013

Layar partner Muzar has helped create a new historical lens through which residents of Port Jefferson, New York can look to see what their town looked like long ago.

As part of the Port Jeff Portal project, the city’s rich history comes alive with location-based photos juxtaposed against the current reality with content in the Layar App.

“Imagine if you could be transported back in time and experience a familiar place as it was 30, 50, or 100 years ago…the buildings…the people…the history,” the town said in a press release today. “Over time digital “walking tours” will be added and updated giving fresh new looks at different historical and chronological points.  The free mobile application available to most major devices will be the gateway into the past of Port Jefferson going back up to 100 years.”

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/504

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Friday Links: Explore WW2 Sites and Kinect Hack Eye-Candy

Chris Cameron July 22, 2011

You may have noticed that the Layar blog has gone a bit quiet lately. Don’t worry, we’re still alive, but we’ve been hard at work these days on some new ideas that we think you’re really going to like. In the mean time, we thought we’d take a moment to pass on a few items that have come across our radar in the past week or so.

Personally, I’m a history buff so I would encourage you to check out the WW2Museums.com layer. It takes advantage of a huge database of locations related to World War 2, including museums, monuments, cemeteries and general points of interest from all over Europe and the United States. You can browse the database on their website as well - it may surprise you what you might find right around the corner!

We have a bit of company news to share as well, as we bid farewell to one of our earliest employees, Nanda! You maybe remember our “Meet Layar” profile of Nanda back in February, but in case you need a refresher, she has been Layar’s Office/HR/Management Assistant since nearly the very start. Nanda made sure everything around the office ran smoothly, and we will miss her dearly.

And finally, to leave you with a bit of entertainment and wonderment as we head into another summer weekend, have a look at this impressive AR demo. It’s another in a long line of intriguing hacks of the Xbox Kinect system, and it’s pretty amazing how well the 3D model sticks to the tracker used. And to top it all off, the model features live animation mimicking the motion of the person standing infront of the Kinect.

Enjoy that for now, and don’t worry, we’ll have plenty to share with you in the coming weeks. Just you wait.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/315

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AR Design Class: Maarten Introduces Layar

Chris Cameron July 5, 2011

As the summer continues, so does the Layar-sponsored augmented reality design class being taught in California to eager design students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. To give you a closer look at the class, here’s another video into which you can sink your teeth.



Anyone who knows Layar and follows this blog knows our outspoken co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald gives talks all over the globe on a somewhat regular basis. However, you may not have seen a talk quite like this from Maarten before.



To kick off the design class’ semester, Maarten provided an introduction of Layar, the company’s history and where it stands today, some examples of the platform’s capabilities as well as a look into the future and where Layar thinks augmented reality is headed.



So check out the video below of Maarten’s talk. It’s a quick snapshot that summarizes many key and interesting points surrounding Layar and augmented reality.



Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/310

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