Mobile Augmented Reality

What Intel calls “mobile augmented reality” is really a photo-recognition system for smart phones, where you can take a picture of a landmark and the system will search for it in several different systems (Google, Flickr, Wikipedia, etc). One use of this idea would be the traveler that wants to know more about a certain place, all he or she would need to do is to take a picture of the place and the system would come up with matches for it.

Mobile augmented realityFigure 1: Mobile augmented reality

Of course you can Google the name of the place using your smart phone. But what if you don’t know the name of the place? Also, you don’t need to type in anything; the system does all the job for you.

Another advantage of this system is that you can build a search cache in the phone with places that you want to visit during your vacations but don’t want to memorize all the info, and you know that the place you are going to doesn’t have cell phone reception or you are going overseas and you don’t plan to get cell phone coverage in that country.

In this demonstration, a picture of San Francisco’s City Hall was taken. Then the app asked which website you wanted to be your search engine for that picture. Intel showed us some options, one being using Flickr (which not only recognized the name of the place, but also showed pictures of the same place taken by other Flickr users), and the other being Wikitravel.

Mobile augmented realityFigure 2: The system in action

Mobile augmented realityFigure 3: Recognizing the place using Flickr

Mobile augmented realityFigure 4: Recognizing the place using Wikitravel


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.