Japanese resort for men with virtual girlfriends

One recent sweltering summer’s day, a tour bus from Tokyo pulled up at a sun-kissed beach at Atami, a Pacific coast resort southwest of the metropolis, and disgorged more than a dozen excited, iPhone-clutching young men.

The determined youngsters, paying scant attention to the bikini-clad girls frolicking on the sand, instead headed straight for a bronze statue that depicts Kanichi and Omiya, a couple from an old love story set in Atami.

The focus of the men’s attention—and of their smartphone cameras—was a tiny black and white square, a two-dimensional barcode that, thanks to "augmented reality" (AR) software, brought to life the object of their desire.

"Look, it’s like I’m in a snapshot with her," said Shu Watanabe, 23, as he showed off his iPhone display, featuring himself next to the image of a doe-eyed cartoon character named Rinko, a smiling high school girl.

Read the rest of the story: Japan resort a hot spot for men with virtual girlfriends.

Bandai introduces augmented reality app for interactive card game

Bandai Co. has launched a campaign for its Data Carddas collectible card game “Data Carddas Supersentai Battle: Dice-O” featuring augmented reality (AR) technology.

When iPhone users who install a special reader application scan a game card with their phones, animated combat scenes and TV commercials can be viewed on the iPhone screen.

The iPhone application can be downloaded for free from the App Store.

With AR technology, images not usually visible are revealed when digital data is scanned.

Attracting attention as a new method of promotion using digital technology, AR technology is already used on a commercial basis in some businesses.

Read the rest of the story: Bandai introduces augmented reality app for interactive card game