Lisa Johnston: November 2009 Archives

Technology Connections

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Stay abreast of the technology landscape with this (developing) list of news resources! Recommended by IT Council members, these resources offer a wide variety of technology related-information. Enjoy!

  • Ars Technica: "At Ars Technica--the name is Latin-derived for the "art of technology"--we specialize in original news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on topics ranging from the most fundamental aspects of technology to the many ways technology is helping us enjoy our world. We work for the reader who not only needs to keep up on technology, but is passionate about it." Source:

  • and CIO Magazine: "Starting in 1987 with CIO magazine, CIO's portfolio of properties has grown to provide technology and business leaders with insight and analysis on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT's role in achieving business goals. The magazine and website have received more than 160 awards to date, including two Grand Neal Awards from the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards and two National Magazine of the Year awards from the American Society of Publication Editors."  Source:

  • CNET: "CNET shows you the exciting possibilities of how technology can enhance and enrich your life. We provide you with information, tools, and advice that help you decide what to buy and how to get the most out of your tech." Source:

  • iLibrarian:News and resources on Library 2.0 and the information revolution.Written by Ellyssa Kroski.

  • InformationWeek: "InformationWeek is the business technology market's foremost multimedia brand. We recognize that business technology executives use various platforms for different reasons throughout the technology decision-making process, and we develop our content accordingly. The real-world IT experience and expertise of our editors, reporters, bloggers, and analysts have earned the trust of our business technology executive audience."Source:

  • Life Hacker: Daily weblog on software and personal productivity recommends downloads, web sites and shortcuts that help you work smarter and save time.

  • NetworkWorld: "Network World is the premier provider of information, intelligence and insight for Network and IT Executives. With an editorial focus on delivering news, opinion and analytical tools for key decision makers who architect, deploy and manage business solutions -- Network World offers a unique and powerful combination of audiences and resources across Online, Print and Events to meet your marketing objectives." Source:

  • PC World / Macworld: "With over 25 years of brand awareness and credibility, PC World and Macworld consistently deliver editorial excellence through award-winning content and trusted product reviews.  Focusing on the PC, Apple and Mac markets, our highly respected brands bring together technology inspired consumers, readers, users, writers, newsmakers, journalists, reviewers, marketers and advertisers who all share a "consuming interest in technology."  Whether in print or online, our audience continually looks to PC World and Macworld for expert guidance and purchasing advice for their information technology needs" Source:

  • Slashdot: "News for nerds. Stuff that matters."

  • Tech News World: "All Tech - All the Time"

  • Technology Review: "Technology Review and are published by Technology Review Inc., an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The oldest technology magazine in the world (est. 1899), Technology Review aims to promote the understanding of emerging technologies and to analyze their commercial, social, and political impacts." Source:

  • TechSpot: "TechSpot is a leading independent computer technology publication established in 1998. Read daily by thousands of technology enthusiasts, gamers and IT decision makers from around the world, is home to over 3 million unique readers every month."  Source:

  • Webworker Daily: Offers practical tips and advice for anyone who uses the web for work, especially those who want to use the web to be more productive, more connected.
  • and Wired Magazine: "Wired readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they're interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions--or blow their minds. Wired readers are generally familiar with computers and the Internet, but this is definitely not a computer magazine--Wired won't teach you how to upgrade your RAM. Instead, it's a magazine about science, art, adventure, online culture, business, philosophy ... and bright shiny beautiful gadgets. Each month, more than 2 million smart, savvy readers come to Wired for clean, clear writing with a wry twist."  Source:

Additional Resources:

  • Google Reader: Manage and read your emerging technology RSS feeds.

Augmented Reality

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Presenter: Lisa Johnston, Academic Programs - Science & Engineering
Time: 11:00 am-1:30 pm
Location: Andersen 120B/C

What is augmented reality? The real-world example is the artificial glow around the soccer ball or hockey puck to enrich TV sport-viewing. But, in short, augmented reality (AR) uses devices, like phones or web cams, to overlay virtual elements onto your real-world environment, thus created a "mixed reality." There seem to be many interesting possibilities for libraries too. Imagine aiming your camera phones at a row of books and "seeing" the LC subject headings hover above them?

Since most AR applications haven't left the lab yet, I've tried to include a video "demo" for AR apps presented here. It seems that the world of AR is quickly expanding; so many more recent tools may have already come into existence. But this technology is certainly something to keep an eye (real or computer-aided) on in the future.

International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality
The International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) had its 8th annual meeting in Orlando Florida in late 2009. The expo event showcases hands-on demonstrations in addition to research and sci-tech presentation.  The website reported on the three "Hottest Videos" from this year's ISMAR symposium. See the video demos .

There you will find a video of Sony PSE's EyePet, the virtual animal that interacts with your movements though your computer's web cam;  AR Sketch, a student paper award winner, which actually processes drawings and turns them into 3d simulations, and a potential future product from Microsoft.

Demo AR Sketch


Smart Phone Apps

A slew of new phone applications have been created for iPhone (running 3GS) and Google Android phones. These apps usually require a digital compass that . Here are some of the most interesting examples of what this technology is doing to the smart phone industry:

Wikitude: Mobile Global Travel Guide
(Free, Android and iPhone)
Wikipedia entries pop into view when you can use this app to explore your nearby surroundings via your smart phone's camera. You can imagine the limitations of items not presently geotagged (Ie. coordinate metatdata), however, this product also allows users to add content and "geotag the world."

Pocket Universe, Virtual Sky app
  (iPhone app, $2.99)
Tilting your iPhone skyward this app will align with the area of sky you are viewing and display descriptions for major objects within view.


Heads Up Navigator
  (iPhone app, Free)
The idea is simple, rather than looking down onto a map, the directions are projected forward into your real-world viewpoint via your phone.

Nearest Tube (iPhone,price varies)
Displays arrows on the ground in the direction you need to walk to reach the nearest subway station or bus stop. Cities now include Paris, New York City, London Bus, Washington DC, and more.

bioniceye.jpg layar.png

 Layar , Bionic Eye , and Nearest Places (ITunes, $1.99) are newly released apps that display nearby points of interest based on your location

Ooooh, Aaaaah: Augmented Reality Ad Campaign
They don't fulfill any need or solve a problem, but these ad campaigns are a quick and fun way to learn about AR. Try these two examples,

GE Smart Grid  and  Star Trek Augmented Reality by printing out the image and watching it interact with your computer's webcam.  Star Trek AR Demo

GE Smart Grid Demo


Twitter Augmented Reality

Flyar is an AR app for your computer. It works like a screen saver by combining a twitter world animation with webcam video capture from your computer. The animations appear to react to your movements in the screen.
Flayar Demo


Another popular twitter AR app is TwittARound, which shows you tweets from nearby locations displayed in your phone's video screen.
TwittARound Demo

Video EyeWear and Retinal Display


AR enabling equipment, like these Vuizix video eyewear (Wrap™ 310, $349.95) are the next generation accessory of mixed reality experiences that leave your computer and smart phone screen behind. These so-called "head up displays" come in a variety of styles and prices that can be used for even non-AR applications such as watching a video from your ipod.

If this enhanced reality experience is still not enough, Slashdot reports two companies, like this one by Brother, which will beam images directly into your eye, like this one from Brother set to be released in 2010. According to the article, virtual retinal displays could be used to project subtitles of a foreign speaker in real time.

This is an excerpt from my November 2009 quarterly "Web Reviews" Column: Augmented Reality: The web meets your world. (Nov 2009). SciTech News. 64 (4).

Augmented reality.docx

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