The iPhone 3GS was recently eclipsed by the new iPhone 4, but that doesn't mean it's ready for the dustbin. A new augmented reality driving app by imaGinyze aims to make it your safety companion on the road.
So what, exactly, does this app do? Titled simply Augmented Driving, the app uses the phone's built-in camera to view the road ahead and imaGinyze's software to detect road obstacles, warning the driver of any potential hazards with voice notifications. It even claims "head-up display (HUD) for system and status information," though it achieves that not as a true projected HUD display, but simply on the iPhone's screen, mounted to the windshield.
According to imaGinyze, you simply mount the phone on your windshield in landscape mode, fire up the app, and it does the rest. The company claims the app can detect and warn about lane changes, vehicles ahead, and distance to obstacles, much like many of the built-in systems found in higher-end luxury cars. The ability to retrofit such a system to an existing car with a device already likely in your pocket is attractive.
Not so attractive, however, is the "up to" 10 frame-per-second limitation of the display. A tenth of a second at 70 mph equates to 10 feet traveled. If the frame rate drops to 5 fps, that could mean a delay of 20 feet. That might not sound like much, but it could be the difference between stopping in time and an impromptu remodeling of your car's front end.
Available now in the App Store for $2.99, the app may require a workaround to avoid a black screen with yellow bars at startup--again, not promising. Frame rates are decreased even further on the iPhone 4 as well, due to the extra processing required to handle the upgraded 5-megapixel camera and high-res display of the new hardware.
We'll be taking the app for a test drive soon, and will report back on our findings. In the meantime, you can find the app at the developers site or in the App Store at the links below, and see it in action in the video.