Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is working on a concept it calls “augmented reality”, with plans to use it for shopping, reading foreign menus, providing information about landmarks and so on. The idea is to use cameraphones to take pictures of something and send them to the web, and then receive information back on the object. This is not reading a code, Nokia will identify the object from the picture, something which is more difficult — Nokia has apparently been working on the technology for five years, and doesn’t expect it to be ready for another three years according to The Sun. This was mooted back in June, when Nokia said the technology will be available in 2008. There are also more uses planned:
Shopping: People will be able to take a photo of clothes in a store window with their cameraphone; a browser will then open up and search the net for the best price and availability, go to an online store and let the person order the item for delivery to their home. This could let them avoid shopping lines, for example…Nokia will probably look to the stores to generate revenue for this, through revenue shares, third party branding, sponsorship or similar.
Foreign Menus: Nokia is also looking at a translation service, with foreign menus given as the example — take a picture of the menu and it is translated. I guess menus are relatively easy because they have a limited range and little grammar. Japanese and Chinese are listed as the starter languages.
Tourist Information: This will return information on tourist attractions: “You could be standing next to the leaning tower of Pisa, take a picture, and then your phone would search for information about it, which you would view on screen.”