Retail Outlets Jump Into the iPhone’s Augmented Reality


Helping you find your latté

On the off chance you've ever had trouble finding a Starbucks – perhaps somewhere in the middle of Death Valley – now you can point your iPhone down the street and get instant directions to the nearest $5 cup of coffee.

Papa John's Pizza is also getting in on the augmented reality fun through a lucrative sponsorship of the iPhone's latest augmented offering: WorldSurfer by GeoVector.

Point your iPhone in any direction, so the idea goes, and the built in GPS will tell you where the nearest undercooked slice of dough is.

GeoVector and other augmented reality companies are making a lot of dough by catering to Big Pizza. Find out why augmented reality will make sating your lust for chicken wings easier than ever before.

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Interactive TV Promises Smarter Consumers


Ready for your virtual closeup?

Lawrence Lessig argued in his book Free Culture: The Nature and Future of
that the bulk of consumers learn about new technology through
old technology.

Americans learned about the radio from newspapers. They
heard about the television via radio. My mother learned about the Internet from
a dancing baby on Ally McBeal.

Now television programmer RDF USA – creator of such high art
as Wife Swapwants to put
the synthetic world on the small screen.
Sleuths uses "mobile participation
television," blending community interaction with interactive advertising.

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Politics in the Virtual World: Do Virtual Voters Care?

Second life hypewatch3

No traffic even at the best of times.

Political campaigns are latching on to the virtual world as the latest means of squeezing every last percentage point in close races.

What remains to be seen is whether informed avatars are making a difference.

Pixels and Policy looks at why political optimism about the use of Second Life and virtual worlds might be a bit premature.

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Augmented Reality Hits the Consumer Market

Augmented reality may be finding a consumer purpose sooner than we predicted.

Between rumblings from independent developer David J. Hinson about a new iPhone augmented reality app and big announcements from Starbucks and Papa John's, the future of augmented reality might be pizzas and cheap gasoline.

Pixels and Policy investigates the rise of consumer Augmented Reality.

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Positioning Interactive Education in the Metaverse


I applauded The Guardian's technology columnist Victor Keegan last month ago for intelligently outlining how the explosive growth of virtual worlds across all major demographics means we may see some permanence to the phenomenon of virtual worlds.

Now Pixels and Policy takes a look at how education will soon have to teach understanding of virtual worlds alongside grammar and biology.

The Importance of Virtual Education

Given that virtual worlds are expected to hit nearly $4.5 billion in revenue next year – more than the GDP of Guinea – it may behoove children to learn virtual worlds skills now for future e-commerce dominance.

From  a report by The Guardian:

In, say, World of Warcraft you have to do calculations for crucial
strikes and damage limitation while academic dissertations are already
being written on how skills acquired in multiplayer online games are
exactly those needed in industry as the digital revolution proceeds.

Clearly, [online games] that could engage kids in maths during their early
teens could eventually have an effect on the whole economy. Maths is
the bedrock of the digital age.

How true it is. In high school I wanted to learn computer coding, but I never grasped Algebra sufficiently to make heads or tails of it. Even managing HTML for this blog required a bit of learning on my part. I've met kids no older than 14, though, who are in advanced trigonometry and algebra courses.

These are going to be the kids who can adapt to the online world. These kids are the future ridiculously wealthy content creators. As we reported last week, future-minded schools that currently fail to register on the academic radars of teens are adopting innovative Second Life curricula, and even devoting entire course programs to Second Life and virtual worlds.

As virtual technology becomes more accessible across the socio-economic spectrum, I have no doubt the physical walls of schools will fall to virtual learning centers like those proposed for Kenyan students too poor to travel to school. This will not only increase the emphasis on a virtual world-savvy education, but will serve to democratize education across the currently unbridgeable poor-rich divide.

The inner-city school could well fade away, a bad nightmare from the pre-virtual era.

As we've said and as Mr. Keegan boldly states, the model of education is changing with the times:

It is possible we are not far away from a revolution in which formal
education will give way more and more to the attractions of internet learning including virtual worlds. Something is clearly happening.

We can hope the evolution to a math-savvy culture, where learning and play are seamless and where even the poorest can access a top-tier school through the virutal world, is a change not far in the future.

Esquire’s December Issue Attempts “Augmented Reality Reading”

091029-esquire-01 Back in September, Pixels and Policy took a look at the multiple ways augmented reality was creeping into areas as diverse as consumer electronics and space travel.

Now Esquire wants in on the fun, and they've taken augmented reality in an interesting new direction: As a platform for jokes, movie clips, and high-end advertising.

We take a look at the December issue, and why augmented reality might not have a bright future in magazines just yet.

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The L.A. Times Contemplates America’s Avatar Addiction


As we discussed yesterday, the recent spate of virtual reality action flicks has Hollywood is gaga over gamers.

Between James Cameron's Avatar, the Bruce Willis vehicle Surrogates, Gerard Butler's Gamer, and anything else currently in the pipeline, more people are experiencing virtual worlds through old media than ever before.

The Los Angeles Times has a thoughtful report on the prevalence of virtual worlds movies and what this means about what our society is thinking:

"One life isn't enough for anyone anymore," said Mark Neveldine, who co-directed "Gamer" with Brian Taylor.
"Part of it is people get heavily isolated today and then they also
greedy, they want more than the life they have and what it can offer."

Read on to uncover why the Los Angeles Times thinks the trend of virtual worlds flicks will only increase as we move deeper into the Metaverse.

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