I was in Louisville, KY over the weekend, staying in an upper floor of the Galt House hotel, which offers an excellent view of the Ohio River. Â In the wee hours last night, I awoke for a bit. I noticed that outside my window, I could see the bright blue lighted sign of a large office building. But my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I could see the sign, but no matter how much I squinted I couldn’t make out the name declared by the sign.
This bugged me — and when stuff nags at my mind, even weird minor stuff, I have a hard time getting back to sleep. The hotel room was dark, and my eyeglasses were out of reach. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. But my cell phone was within reach, on the bedside table. (It’s my main alarm clock.)
So I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick photo of the building with the blue sign. Then, looking at the phone on my phone’s screen, I could easily read: Central Bank.
sign on top of their downtown Louisville, KY building.
This satisfied my nagging curiosity, kind of like scratching an itch. I was soon back to sleep.
It occurs to me that this is a potentially significant use of augmented reality enabled by mobile devices — and the only “app” I needed was the software controlling my phone’s camera!
Most AR apps I’ve seen are kinda gimmicky or not very compelling. For instance, seeing local coupon offers overlaid on a camera app (which Junaio does), or local tweets similarly overlaid, hasn’t really thrilled me.
But being able to compensate for poor vision or a lack of information about what things are? That’s useful.
Now if only someone could do a similar service for audio that would automatically filter out noise in a train or bus station to tell you what the hell those announcers are really saying…