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Look Kids, Big Ben in 1890! Augmented Reality Meets Tourism

DiscoblogBy Boonsri DickinsonAugust 19, 2009 8:04 PM


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Trying to pack everything into a European vacation can leave you with little time to do activities you actually enjoy. European researchers involved in the iTacitus project are working to solve this problem by tapping into augmented reality, a technology that blends real world information with stored digital data. The researchers want to create a virtual time machine for tourists who like to snap pictures. The program would use these photos to search for historical information based on the location, and create a "smart itinerary" so travelers could navigate from place to place. First, you’d have to snap a photo with a smart phone or camera. Then the image would be downloaded to software stored on a central server, and you’d instantly have access to cultural and historical information about the place you’re visiting. Science Daily reports:

"[Tourists] can look at a historic site and, by taking a photo or viewing it through the camera on their mobile device, be able to access much more information about it," explains Luke Speller, a senior researcher at BMT in the United Kingdom who oversaw development of the technology. "They are even able to visualize, in real time, how it looked at different stages in history," he adds.

Along with museums and tourist boards, the researchers hope that tourists will also contribute their travel experiences so they can build up a database of user-generated content. Related Content: Discoblog: Will the Laptops of the Future be a Pair of Eye Glasses? DISCOVER: A GPS to Augment Your Entire Reality

Image: flickr/ Ben

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