Junaio launches augmented reality platform for the iPhone and the Web

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[Germany] Munich-based metaio, a developer of visual interaction software products, is today launching a consumer-oriented iPhone application (iTunes link) and complementary website that combines the fun and usefulness of augmented reality with social networking.

The application, dubbed junaio, is billed by the company as the ‘world’s first augmented reality platform’ but bears some resemblance to what other European startups like Layar and Wikitude have been putting out there lately.

In essence, the company aims to enable people to “bring the Internet to the real world” by providing them with a tool to add interactive notes, smileys, web links, rankings, imagery, virtual objects and even Twitter accounts to images of the real world around them. In addition, users can publish their custom augmented reality representations, edit those made by others and easily share the results on the junaio website or Facebook.

The iPhone application is rather buggy and most of the objects are graphically challenged, but there’s definitely some potential there. I’m thinking it could be especially fun and useful to document tourist attractions with relevant links, for example, so another junaio user could point his or her iPhone camera to a monument in a major city and immediately see what other users have said about or linked to before them.

Big caveat though: since no one is actively policing or moderating submissions, this is one version of augmented reality that could quickly turn into a haven for creative spammers and trolls alike. And then you can kiss the fun factor goodbye.

  • James

    I prefer the easy to pronounce, impactful company names — General Electric, YouTube, Microsoft, Gucci, LiveStream —

    metaio – they take all the vowels, and forgot “u” and smash them into a word — moronic!

    imo ..most people are sick of all these names like





  • Danny

    I agree with James. How exacty do you pronounce the name?

  • Jan

    Hey Robin,

    thanks for joining the junaio community and covering your latest results in creative authoring. Now, I am very interested in learning more about the “bugs” you found. Maybe you have used the beta version, where several bug-fixes have been made untill now. Or have you found some new ones? Or dou you mean by bugs, some effects of the gps visualization for example when the signal is not too accurate? Just let me know, and we will try to answer these questions…

    One question I can answer right now: one of our major concerns from the beginning was visual spam, trolls and politically not correct user generated augmented reality scenes. We use some measures like image nudity filters or word checkers, but of course we can´t (and do not want) control completely, what is happening in the junaio world. But I think this is a challenge, almost any service in this domain is facing. We are doing our best to keep it balanced. Because we will not censor junaio in any way – and we do not want “to kiss the fun factor good bye” as you say. We hope to walk the thin line successfully.

    I would love to keep in touch.

    Best regards,


    P.S.: I will not react on polemic comments about our company name. Discussions about taste do not bring us any further. By the way: you can pronounce it like you want. We are not pretentious!

  • Kurt Schiller

    I’m increasingly of the opinion that metaio and Total Immersion are the AR companies to really watch (although there’s plenty that are doing cool things). Both companies have a head-start on business applications of AR (especially industrial design), and both have ties to academic research in the field.

    I think that in the long run that’s going to put them ahead of companies focusing on AR solely from a mobile point of view, although it may not get them as much immediate press – although getting in on the mobile scene with junaio is definitely a smart bid.

    Also, I was told “meh-TAY-o” when I interviewed someone from the company for an article.

  • TGIF « junaio

    […] “I’m thinking it could be especially fun and useful to document tourist attractions with relevant links” — Robin Waulters, Tech Crunch […]

  • nick

    This is the end of being human. Tread lightly.

  • Social Network

    I totally agree with Nick, This is the end of being human. Tread lightly!

  • PS3

    I love techcrunch blog, it’s extremely interesting. Thanks

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