Augmented reality (AR) is the integration of digital information in the real world environment. The technology uses computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data to identify the object. The simple example is an app identifying a statue by using the smartphone camera, which later automatically shows information about that statue. In Japan, a lot of companies use this technology.
Tokyo Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper launches an app that uses Augmented Reality system to attract children to read newspapers. The app scans a block in the newspaper and shows it in a kid-friendly interface followed with cartoon animations. The difficult kanji characters are shown with Hiragana. This feature gives opportunities for several advertisers, including yogurt maker Meiji, which includes their interactive ads.
3D CG is often used in games. Nowaday, it is combined with the AR system through camera input. For example, an Android and iPhone app “HATSUNE MIKU AhR”. This application will show you dancing Hatsune Miku or other characters real-time and in the real world on the smartphone. You can sit it on the book, cardboard, or even on the treat as large as human.
Other similar applications are Glico x STAND BY ME, MyDisney, and LIVE SCOPAR which is currently used by East Japan Railway Company to promote domestic travels to Tohoku.
AR-MAPS is an iPhone app developed by a Japanese company CROSSFADER Inc. The app uses GPS and mobile phone camera as the input. The interface is divided into two parts, the top shows real-time picture input by the camera and the bottom shows Google Maps map mode. The destination is displayed by AR tag on the top side.
Another similar application is AkibaAR. The app introduces users the tourist spots in Akihabara city, including restaurants, maid cafes, shops and so on.