Remember watching movies like Minority Report or Iron Man where the main characters simply look into the air in front of them and wave their hands around to shuffle through files or develop robotic prototypes? The concept is called augmented reality (AR), meaning a layer of media like an image; video or sound is added on top of the real world environment, when a device’s sensory input like a camera recognizes what is in front of it.

Although commercial technology is not as far as advanced as Iron Man yet, AR is quickly gaining traction and is now becoming a reality and it’s very exciting!  One of the coolest examples I’ve seen, was developed for Japanese advertising agency, Dentsu called iButterfly. Using your iPhone, you point your camera at the air and detect a flying butterfly. Then you flick your phone to catch it like using a butterfly net. The captured butterfly then goes into your phone to be redeemed for a coupon like a free drink. Check out the video below to see how –

In a recent interview with Senscape, one of the early players in the AR space in China, I was presented with a demo and spent sometime with the founding team. Senscape is currently under private beta.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.