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App developers bring 3D to life with new technology

The lines between the digital and physical world were blurring as newer, more sophisticated augmented reality solutions were unveiled at the Mobile World Congress.

The lines between the digital and physical world were blurring as newer, more sophisticated augmented reality (AR) solutions were unveiled at the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Qualcomm, the American mobile phones chip giant, has developed a vision based application platform called Vuforia as part of its "digital sixth sense" strategy. The technology enables app developers to create 3D images that come to life when used in conjunction with a physical object, usually a piece of paper or card.

To date 45,000 developers had registered in 130 countries with 3,000 apps already developed for the Android and Apple's iOS devices. Forty of these have already received 100,000 downloads each.

"App developers are starting to get very sophisticated which means more meaningful solutions for consumers," said Julian Harris, a senior business development manager at Qualcomm.

So instead of just having a cartoon jump out from a card or a wrapper, simply scanning a smartphone or tablet device on the pages of a catalogue can lead you directly to the company's website to buy the goods you have clicked on.

"There are many uses, but primarily in games, marketing and education is where we see most potential," said Mr Harris.

This year the company teamed up with Sesame Street to release Big Bird's Words, which encourages children to scan specific words in the real world.

"The text recognition is an effective and fun way of teaching kids how to read, but it's not all just fun and games, these applications can be used for more advanced learning" he said.

Applications such as Anatomy 4D by Augmented Dynamics hopes to provide medics with limited access to a physical anatomy with a realistic AR version.

One user on the iTunes store rated the application highly, saying: "Really impressed with this. The 'body' lies perfectly on the template, you can even move it around, hold it vertically, move the iPad around all sides and look at however many (or few) layers of the body at one time as you like. Can't fault it."

According to some analysts, technology could render 80 per cent of the healthcare workers unnecessary in the future.



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