Augmented reality is the process of overlaying the real world with additional information - bringing up book reviews when looking at a novel on your cameraphone, for example, or displaying historical facts when you're staring at a monument. However, 2009 brought a breakthrough, thanks in no small part to the iPhone. The combination of its camera, processing power, high-quality screen and GPS means that, almost by accident, Apple has created the perfect device for running such services. This has left companies free to concentrate on developing the software, with impressive results. Esquire magazine experimented with the technology to bring extra content to its articles, with barcodes beneath stories triggering videos and additional information when the smartphone's camera was hovered over them. More useful in daily life are the iPhone apps like UrbanSpoon that overlay the street with directions to restaurants, but that's barely the beginning.
The US military is developing an Android app that overlays engines with schematics, potentially turning anybody into a mechanic, while Nintendo's Ghostwire game will overlay spooks and spectres on the real world with the DSi's built-in camera. Swedish firm TAT is even developing an app that identifies people, and floods your screen with information scavenged from the internet.If this breakneck pace of development continues, augmented reality could prove to be the standout technology of 2010.Other technologies to watch in 2010 include:Number 20: Better WiFi Number 19: Hybrid-carsNumber 18: DSLR MoviesNumber 17: Wireless PowerNumber 16: IPTV/ video on demandNumber 15: GPS on your phoneNumber 14: Cloud computingNumber 13: EbooksNumber 12: 100 megabit broadbandNumber 11: The GPU/CPUNumber 10: 3D games and TVNumber 09: Solid state system drivesNumber 08: Projectors in everythingNumber 07: Intel LarrabeeNumber 06: Mobile FlashNumber 05: Android marches onNumber 04: USB 3Number 03: OLEDNumber 02: Motion tracking
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