Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Hidden World of Augmented Reality, Building Facades, and the New Digital Landscape

Tokyo's N Building, a collaboration between Quosmo and Terada Design Architects, has a facade that is imprinted with two-dimensional QR code that can be read by certain mobile phones. When a user focuses their phone (or other enabled device) at the building facade, digital information is virtually layered over a real-time image of the scene. Tweets from within the building (geotagged by GPS location) are visible as if the Tweeter's window just opened. Information and advertising from the retail shops in the building appears and users can browse merchandise, see shop hours, and even download special coupons.
Thinking about cities full of buildings with this technology is the equivalent of putting on a pair of 3D glasses and instantly being transported into the world of Blade Runner (without that constant nagging feeling that Deckard is actually a replicant). Suddenly, the city becomes a landscape layered with not just bricks and mortar, but with ideas, information, and virtual connections. The vast surface area of buildings form a new three-dimensional network liberated from the static desktop. Massive real-time games take place through the city, following signs invisible to the naked eye. Be the first to reach the blinking building - win a prize!

N Building from Alexander Reeder on Vimeo.

Seen on Designboom and Gizmodo.

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