Until not long ago, Augmented Reality on mobile devices was still in the experimental stage with many of its implementations somewhat gimmicky. The best for a long time had been location based information services on the smartphone, to find interesting city sites or the nearest subway station.
But ever since metaio got into the game with its AR browser junaio, hardly a month seems to go by without some great new use case being added to a growing list of practical applications. First there was indoor navigation, at museums or exhibition sites, a problem other AR browsers still struggle with. Then there was image recognition and natural feature tracking, two key technologies behind many of the recent use cases like “gluing” dynamic, interactive 3D models onto camera images, or displaying multimedia content triggered by print editorials and ads, or even turning the TV set into the equivalent of a touch screen for interactive TV experiences.
Now, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), metaio is unveiling yet another application with breathtaking potential. Pointing the smartphone’s camera at a printer, the AR software will recognise make and model of the printer and provide instructions in the form of graphic overlays on how to changes the toner cartridge.
As blogger Ciara Byrne points out in her article (reprinted in the New York Times, Feb. 10, 2011): “The printer demo is significant for a couple of reasons: the application of mobile AR to a service and maintenance scenario and the sophisticated technology used.”
How the technology works is demonstrated in this video:
The endless possibilities for this useful technology are not hard to imagine. Every kind of equipment maintenance could benefit from such easy to understand assistance. No more wading through instruction manuals, no head scratching. One can almost hear the sigh of relief of future equipment owners.
Rather than every manufacturer building its own mobile maintenance app, it does of course make sense to include such services within a general, mobile AR platform such as junaio. This is planned for the coming releases and will further cement junaio’s position as the most advanced AR browser available today.
By the way, indoor navigation for visitors at this year’s MWC App Planet in Barcelona is also provided by junaio.