Augmented reality, that real-time meshing between the physical real-world environment and virtual, computer-generated imagery, used to be stuff of sci-fi.

But with internet-linked, GPS-embedded cell phones, it isn’t so anymore. Here is a little taste of what is about to arrive, but has arrived already:

Among the other augmented reality programs that recently have hit Apple’s App Store is Robotvision. If you hold your phone parallel to the ground, Robotvision displays a map of your surroundings. Hold the phone up, however, and it goes into augmented-reality mode, highlighting places like coffee shops and bars. Robotvision also can search for other kinds of businesses with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. You can view pictures that people took nearby and posted to Flickr with a “geotag” of the shot’s physical location.

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