Last week, Word Lens, a new iPhone app, got a lot of attention because of the neat way it is able to translate words from Spanish to English and vice versa using the iPhone screen as a viewer. Check out their promotional video to see what I mean.

<iframe class="youtube-player" frameborder="0" height="311" src="" title="YouTube video player" type="text/html" width="500"></iframe>

The app is an example of augmented reality, which just means augmenting the real world with additional information, an area that I am extremely excited about. Word Lens is not the first application of augmented reality or even the most prominent; televised football has been using it for years now with the yellow first-down line on TV and Layar created an augmented reality browser mobile app that is pretty neat (here is a video showing that in action).  But it shows that the area is picking up momentum.

I think that we are going to see a lot of amazing stuff coming in this space in the near future, especially now that smart phones are providing the means to do this everywhere. For example, imagine:
<ul><li>Having a heads-up display on your car’s windshield with useful information</li><li>Being able to hold up your phone to the front of a restaurant and learn about its menu: pricing, dietary options, offerings</li><li>Seeing GPS directions on the streets in front of you instead of on a small, digital map  </li></ul>