Using a new augmented reality (AR) service called Pachube, you can use your smart phone to "see" invisible environmental data about air quality and energy consumption. And we've got another amazing AR application too.
Augmented reality provides you with an information overlay for your daily life, supplying data for things you are seeing via a smart phone camera - or through special goggles that are connected to the internet.
Pachube is a little like YouTube, except that, rather than sharing videos, Pachube enables people to monitor and share real time environmental data from sensors that are connected to the internet. Pachube acts between environments, able both to capture input data (from remote sensors) and serve output data (to remote actuators).
In other words, any kind of sensor you want (from CCTV to air quality monitors) can feed data to your smartphone and pop up one of those graphs. Want to avoid areas with lots of particulate matter in the air? Now you can see those invisible particles by waving your phone around. Or do you want to rent in an office in a building with a small carbon footprint? If the proper sensors are in place, Pachube lets you see the carbon footprint of buildings you enter.
But what if you want your AR without having to worry about a corporation controlling what you see? Then you need Wikitude, a completely free and open version of the kinds of AR software we showed you last week. It runs on Android, an operating system developed at Google for mobile devices. Just look at the landscape around you using the phone's camera, and Wikitude overlays map data and other useful information on top of it. As long as you are looking through the eye of your mobile, you'll never get lost again.