BART utilizing 'augmented reality' technology

October 4, 2010 5:12:52 PM PDT
BART has become the newest company to exploit a new consumer technology called augmented reality. "AR" cannot only point you in the right direction, it can tell you what you are pointing at.

To BART, a train platform is a social platform. The transit system has consistently been the first on popular social networks.

"We have been on Twitter and Facebook since 2008 and FourSquare in 2009," says Melissa Jordan.

She is responsible for BART's web and social presence.

"Social media is a small part of what we do, but it's important for building community," she says.

No public agency and probably no company has more of its own data open to the public than BART (allowing any programmer to get inside), making it an ideal candidate for an app like Junaio. It uses technology called augmented reality.

Different from all those GPS technologies that tell you only where you are, it adds the camera to identify what you are seeing, government offices, museums, taxi stands. New York hasn't done this. Chicago and Washington haven't done this.

"So, as I point my phone, it knows where I'm standing," Lisa Murphy says as she demonstrates. "And, using the compass as well as the accelerometer of the smartphone, the app knows which direction you're looking."

Point it at a building and it tells how much floor space is available, for how much, and dials the leasing company. Lisa Murphy works for the company behind Junaio, Metaio, a San Francisco company pioneering augmented reality.

Point a Junaio-enable phone at an augmented magazine and the pages come to life with additional text, even movies. Zombies come to life on your desk in an augmented video game played through the phone's camera. The secret is in the data.

Today, the real estate info is provided by ROFO, and transit, event and public space info by BART. But, much more open information like this is needed if augmented reality is to grow. All this information has to come from somewhere and somebody needs to make sense of it.

You know about face recognition. This is place recognition.


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