Kamel Makhloufi posts this appetite-whetting image of the “augmented reality” ARToolKit working on the iPhone platform. Sure, Microsoft and Sony may be hard at work on computer vision applications that don’t require tags, but for mobile applications, tags seem perfect. This is just a preview, but it already suggests some interesting art applications, as well as the usual games and such. I’ve been impressed with how well the camera on my Android-powered TMobile G1 works, even in low light, so the fact that tags are designed for easy readability by digital cameras suggests this could be eminently practical.

I just hope we also see ARToolKit on Android, too, naturally.

Via Flickr.

That was fast – Kyle McDonald notes in comments that some folks have already baked some parallel tracking and mapping system work on the iPhone, for markerless tracking. This sort of confirms for me why I like markers – there’s just so much data in this image to deal with, and presumably you have more you want to do in an app than just take care of tracking.

Having flowers pop out of this does look beautiful, and there is something magical about watching this happen without the markers.

By the way, since we’re looking at yet another iPhone video, I’m not advocating working on Android out of some sort of sense of ethical purity. Put simply, I just personally see the long-range development experience and deployment as being more flexible and broader. And I don’t think that thinking “mobile” has to be about any one platform. Ideally, you’d come up with solutions that allows you to get your artwork or game or whatever it is on iPhones and Androids and other devices.