Feb 28th, 2012

We swung by the Texas Instruments booth during the “Mobile Focus” night party at Mobile World Congress 2012, and on first inspection, I thought I stumbled upon the world’s chunkiest and ugliest Android tablet. Maybe so, but the Texas Instruments powered tablet was merely a reference device, used to show off the TI OMAP architecture powering an augmented reality app with the help from their development partners.

This custom made Ray-Ban application was developed by a French company called Total Immersion. You can see the novelty purpose of the app while he tries on racing helmets and other goofy accessories, but this Ray-Ban app could have real world value. Most people prefer brick-and-mortar stores when purchasing clothes, but the ability to virtually try on Ray-Ban glasses with this app makes it much more reasonable to consider an online purchase. Or, even to quickly test all the different models before homing in on your favorite few to pull off the shelf. Total Immersion has virtual fitting rooms of all types- take a look at their project gallery.

An app like this can never replace real-world testing/wearing, but at least its a tool that aids in the purchasing process. It can’t tell you how the glasses will fit on your face, rest on your ears, or exactly where they’ll touch the bridge of your nose, but all-in-all it’s a pretty practical application compared with  more far fetched augmented apps we’ve seen in the recent past.

Augmented reality apps have yet to hit it big, and I’m not convinced they ever will, but I have to admit this is pretty neat. Is it a 3D-like novelty tech? I’ll let you decide, but the Texas Instruments rep named a few more implementations being worked upon that sounded rather interesting.

For example: apply the same concept of the Ray-Ban sunglasses scenario to your house and furniture. You could pan around your room, place different furniture and home furnishings virtually around your house and see how they might look. Think of virtually shopping IKEA, knowing that when you finally put the darn dresser together, it will fit perfectly and look beautifully in the alcove next to your bed.

What type of augmented reality apps would you like to see created? Or do you think these types of implementations are more of a fad that will wear off?