In an effort to make augmented reality slightly more practical, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab have developed a new application that uses the technology to help people find their way around buildings. The Media Lab’s Jae-Woo Chung created the application, called “Guiding Light,” as well as an accompanying badge that can be worn or posted on a surface. The badge contains magnetic sensors that the application can pick up on using the camera of a smart phone.
Through the eyes of a smart phone, the badge emits a powerful light. This light can be seen from anywhere as long as the mobile device is pointed in its direction. The application will also paint bright arrows on the ground, guiding users to their destination. If the badge is attached to a person, the app will display information regarding that person, such as name, age and social media data.
Augmented reality is an emerging technology with a great deal of promise, but its uses have largely been limited to the worlds of marketing and entertainment. Augmented reality developers believe that the technology can be used for more practical purposes, such as navigation, safety and information distribution. Consumers have, thus far, only been interested in the entertainment value of the technology. Jae-Woo Chung hopes to change that, slowly but surely.