Imagine a browser that lets you view the real world through a camera lens as a heads-up display picks out points of interest in the cityscape. This type of augmented reality has been the stuff of science fiction, but the mobile-phone browser Layar, from Dutch software developer SPRXmobile, aims to make it real.
Layar takes the sort of GPS points-of-interest data in current map-based apps, like ATMs, houses for sale or nearby hotspots, and displays them overlaid on the landscape as seen through the camera lens.
GPS alone isn't enough for this type of augmented-reality browser to work. A magnetometer, used to power compass apps, is also necessary. Android phones have compasses already, and the iPhone 3G S also offers this feature, although the iPhone 3G doesn't.