Augmented reality applications have the power to turn the world around you into an information rich environment tagged with data points. The technology is certainly amazing and all, but what do you do if your smartphone lacks the requisite hardware (GPS, digital compass) to support AR features? If you’re Israeli startup Xsights, you take the idea of live augmented reality and apply it to still pictures. Xsights is a new service that lets you analyze your cameraphone photos to extract the information associated with the text, image, landmark, street sign, etc. Since most mobile phones today can take photos, almost anyone can take advantage Xsights’s AR-esque service.
Imagine you’re going about your typical day reading billboards, shopping, and navigating your way through rush hour traffic. You come across something interesting and want to find out more about that particular “something” (books, newspaper articles, buildings, cars, etc.). All you need to do is snap a pic of the object, let Xsights work its image analyzing magic, and wait for pertinent data to be delivered to your phone. Xsights can provide you with related information like photos, prices, videos, coupons, and anything else their system has associated with your image. But, that’s also where Xsights needs your help.
The catch is that Xsights relies on users, like you, to upload images and tag them with related information. To help get the service off the ground, Xsights is opening up their service to 1,000 people today. In exchange for helping seed the foundation of the Xsights service, beta users will be allowed personalize their uploaded content with video clip attachments. Find out how to sign up here.
For now, Xsights doesn’t really work in the real world. Movie posters will bring back trailers for some movies, but the service just doesn’t have enough tagged content to be useful for most objects. Once Xsights hits critical mass, however, the information flood gates should open up.
Xsights is available as an iPhone app and even supports MMS and video call. A BlackBerry and J2ME version on on their way.