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Layar Realtor Augmented Reality

Layar, created by Dutch AR firm SPRXmobile, is an augmented reality browser designed for Android powered phones. It launched recently in the Netherlands essentially as a realtor's guide set-up.

Turn the phone on, and look around you. Layar puts in a call to GPS and works out where you are, and which way you are facing. It then calls down data from the net, to overlay on your vision. Hold the phone up, and it will analyse the scene it sees, overlaying a faint OS map grid over the scene its camera sees, and playing that back in real-time.

As you pan the phone round, circles appear over some compass points. Align the phone to precisely face a circle, and a photo of the house it represents loads up over the image, along with some additional details. It also tells you if you can see the house from where you are, or if its blocked from view. Tapping your finger on the photo calls up further details, or you can hold your finger against the screen for a second, and it will automatically dial the realtor to discuss a sale - keeping the details on screen.

If the system returns houses too far away, a quick tap in the bottom left hand corner brings up options. You can choose whether to display houses for sale or to rent, and set maximum viewing distance, or price range with sliders. Close the screen and a whole new range of circles appear.

Not just for Realtors

The software is not just for realtors, however. SPRX have built in a layers option, which offers different services based on the companies they have partnered with. In the prototype, four other layers include one which picks up all available ATMs in the area - again with its own options page. A third layer shows bars and clubs. A fourth jobs offered by a single agency, whilst a fifth shows private hospitals by a single provider.

It will remain somewhat niche if it continually insists on creating a separate layer for each partnered company. In a job search for example, you'd like to see all jobs of a given speciality within a desired area, not so concerned with the agency that's offering them, until you contact for further details. Still, it's a good start. Ther interface is still a little clunky, but improves a little with the option to pull up a real-time google maps map showing your current location, orientation, and the position of the target, relative to you.



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