Augmented Reality sounds like a sissy description of drug use, but it's the latest and greatest concept in computer-enhanced living. And has a lot of the same effects: seeing things that aren't there, an increased awareness of your place in the universe, even being able to "really, like, tell what somebody truly is" by looking at them - and it's this last that The Amazing Tribe (TAT, a Swedish technology firm) are working on.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the information age overlaid on the real world. The idea is that if you know where a billboard is, and what it says, and what direction it's facing, then there's no need to bother with the actual object: you can just call up the information whenever you're in the area. Until recently AR required specialist gear, which meant it was never going to happen - such as system needs society-wide use before the databases will be updated enough to be useful.
This problem was solved by the surge in smartphones - now everyone who might be interested in AR has (or can get) a portable, population-wide standardized combination of computer, camera and digital display: the perfect tools for AR. There are already elementary AR apps (like locating a train station in London, superimposing location and direction over your screen), and TAT are extending it to people. With augmented ID, your set your status, services and whatever else you want on your phone - and anyone who views you through another sees this data hovering around you. You really have to watch the video (linked below) to appreciate how cool the concept is.
Unfortunately it is only a concept so far, but not for long. The technological basis (smartphones, facial recognition, and wireless communication) is already here, and it's only a matter time before you start hearing of silly status messages left on during important business meetings. A very short time, we'd wager, so get ready to know more than before about anyone you want. And after that - remember how much insane, unimaginable and incredible stuff emerged from the internet? And that's when we were just connecting computers together - AR can affect everywhere else.