I had the pleasure to be at a an Augmented Reality (AR) Dev Camp today in Amsterdam. It was a very heterogeneous crowd, from Semantic Web people (after all, one of the organizers was Dan Brickley) to artists. But that is probably the nature of AR these days…
AR is of course not a new discipline; I guess the R&D in AR goes back at least 15 years. But the appearance of high-end mobile devices made this, suddenly, a viable business: the fact that the devices have location capabilities and as well as compasses make it possible to create really cool applications. Johannes la Poutré made a nice and short overview of what is happening in this area; another nice example is the “Berlin Wall is back” application.
What does this have to do with Linked Data, you might ask. Well the very essence of these applications is to use data to increase the visual experience of a mobile phone camera. And use lots of data. And use lots of up-to-date and semantically organized data, because applications have to have intelligent filtering to save bandwidth. This means that developers in AR look at linked data with lots of interest; they were pleased to hear about, eg, Dutch governmental data becoming (gradually…) available as linked data, about the LOD cloud, about technologies like Zemanta, Open Calais, RDFa… Yes, AR on mobile might become a significant application area for Linked Data. A space to watch!
(B.t.w., although it was not an augmented reality project, some of you might remember Christian Becker‘s and Chris Bizer‘s work on DBpedia Mobile: that was some sort of a precursor for some of the ideas that appear today as part of AR applications. Just imagine those Wikipedia/DBPedia data appearing on top of what you see with your camera!)
P.S. Putting my W3C hat on: W3C organizes a Workshop on Augmented Reality and Virtual Interactivity, to be held in June, in Barcelona. Interested?