Smartphones to get augmented reality capability

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The Independent Tech

Sony Corp. has created a new "augmented reality" technology that provides additional information when it captures images through the camera on devices such as mobile phones.

Smart AR technology permits virtual objects, images and text that cannot be identified by visual perception alone to be seen on the screen of the device.

Announcing the breakthrough, the company said the technology uses a "markerless approach," meaning that there is no need for identifying markers to be used, such as two-dimensional barcodes.

AR technology has been attracting attention recently and is being incorporated into a range of applications, such as advertising, promotions, games and information searches. Sony's research into AR dates back to 1994, when it devised two-dimensional barcode recognition systems - the "marker approach" - while in 1998 it released the Vaio PCG-C1 range of personal computers with software that was able to automatically recognize CyberCode.

According to the company, Smart AR technology combines object recognition technology to recognize general objects, such as photographs or posters that incorporate Sony's proprietary 3-D space recognition technology. That know-how has evolved from the ongoing research involving the Aibo and Qrio robots.

Using the Smart AR technology, objects can be recognized and tracked at high speed. In addition to displaying virtual objects or additional images or text on the screen, the technology can also be used to express the data over an extended space.

"Sony will continue to experiment with Smart AR technology with the aim to add new value for various services and business applications, such as advertising and games," the company said.

Sony is demonstrating the new technology at the Opus Communication Zone in the Sony Building in Tokyo's Ginza district until May 22.