Excited About AR Workshop Next Week!

June 11, 2010

I’m really excited about the the W3C Workshop: Augmented Reality on the Web, taking place next Tuesday and Wednesday, 15 – 16th June as part of the OMWeb project. Excited for the obvious reasons: we’ve had some great papers, we have a great line up of speakers, 4 really interesting sessions and plenty of room for discussion — but excited too because the timing looks perfect.

There was a big and successful event in Santa Clara right at the beginning of the month. Next week’s workshop will include a report from there and it’s clear that W3C’s interest in this space was noted and welcomed. In the short space of time since then, several folks who attended that event have decided to join us in Barcelona.

Also, just this week, we saw the launch of the iPhone 4 that includes – yes – new features designed to support Augmented Reality including enhanced image tracking and full access to live data from the camera. Access to device features through common APIs are something that developers wishing to work cross-platform will depend on and that, naturally enough, W3C is working on!

We also need common ways of exposing and mixing relevant data with that camera information. At least two attempts have been made in this area and the blossoming linked data movement has an enormous amount to offer here too. All will be covered in the Barcelona workshop.

As with any cutting edge technology, the advances have been made largely in research establishments. The workshop will include presentations of exciting work being done to improve and extend the ways in which reality can be augmented, and the use cases to which the technology can be put. The workshop includes papers and talks from several researchers covering text, image and audio augmentation. Finally, as if further evidence were needed of AR’s growing relevance and importance, the workshop will include several demos and talks from companies building commercial businesses using AR.

Why Barcelona? Because mobile is key to the mass deployment of AR so the event is co-located with Mobile 2.0. Discount registration for that event is available for dotOpen members and you can sign up for that for free!

W3C workshops are often the starting point for future standards work and that is a very real possibility here. Although many of the features needed to build Augmented Reality applications are available on the Web and in the browsers with which we are most familiar, key elements are missing from the Web technology stack. Should those elements be added? And if they were, is the Web the right platform for the kind of applications that current practitioners are building and that are proving successful?

I can’t answer those questions today – ask me again in a week’s time.

Phil Archer

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