Thanks to the camera built into every iPhone (and now iPad), we have seen clever implementations of augmented reality applications in the past. Augmented Reality software, also known as “AR apps”, is meant to literally “augment” real-life objects you see on the device’s screen through the camera by adding digital information or other items. A navigation app like Where To, for example, places virtual directions on a real map captured by the iPhone’s camera. These experiments are very cool and show off the capabilities of iOS devices when combined with software that takes advantage of modern technologies.
SkyView, an iPhone app by Terminal Eleven, lets you explore the universe from your iPhone by simply pointing the camera to the sky. Using GPS coordinates, gyroscope rotation and 3D graphics, SkyView augments what you see by adding stars, planets, satellites, space stations and constellations on the screen.
Once you point the iPhone’s camera to the sky and the app fetches information correctly via GPS, you’ll see a variety of sky objects popping up on screen — like stars, the sun, satellites and so forth, depending on where you are in the world. If you tap on an item, a bar appears at the bottom of the screen revealing its name; tap again, and the bar will expand to show RA and DEC location. Tap the arrow, and SkyView will let you flick through a detailed description of the object you’ve discovered. If you select the Sun, Moon or another planet, you can also see the path they’ll follow during a 24 hour period. In the Settings, you can choose how many 3D layers to display or hide (including dwarf planets) and adjust time and date basing on your location.
At $0.99 in the App Store, SkyView is a neat experiment that makes great use of the iPhone’s camera. Check it out here, free version available as well.