Layar is cool according to most. It allows you to superimpose layers of spatial information onto the camera image of your phone, revealing things about your surroundings like Wikipedia entries and real estate listings. It’s called augmented reality (AR) and it requires a camera on your device. The iPad, however, does not have a camera (yet) so AR is out. Or is it?
Let me introduce Slayar, an app concept that I think is just as cool as real AR and much easier to grasp and snappier to use. Here’s how it works: say you are in Amsterdam but don’t know your way around. You want to see the hot spots in town. You definitely don’t want to look like an idiot breaking out a paper tourist map every couple blocks. And you have your iPad sticking out of your MC Hammer pants (yes you can) so why not use the thing?
So you break out your iPad and fire up Slayar. It finds out where you are (GPS + compass) and where you want to go (tap any of a selection of nearby cool places or text search). Slayar will remember your destination so next time you start it you can zip along in seconds.
Slayar will then fetch walking directions (from an OpenRouteService-type service or Cloudmade) from where you are to where you want to go – say, Rijksmuseum – and….wait. Wait for you to twirl around holding your iPad (there would be instructions on how to do this and still look cool). When you are pointing towards the street or footway you need to take next to get to the Rijksmuseum, it will show an arrow. Simple as that, and off you go. Depending on how much distraction you prefer, it might also point you to needful things around you (cash, loo).