It's no secret that augmented reality is pretty much the coolest thing that smartphones have given birth to. Interposing the Internet over the real world in real time allows for a huge variety of incredibly useful applications and searches to be born. One of these applications is 'augmented traffic', and I can't yet tell whether it's a genius idea, or suicidal insanity.
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Boy Genius has a link to a video of this magical new application. In essence, augmented traffic surveys the streets around you and allows you to catch a glimpse of the view from streetlight cameras along your route. That way you can check out how bad traffic is before you even get out on the street.
It doesn't end there though; once out on the road, this application has even more uses. It will use street camera data to build you a color-coded map of your route that picks out the best lanes to be in for optimal speed, and warns you when you need to get off the highway to avoid traffic. It also tracks police radar speed traps and lets you know when you are approaching a red light with a camera detector.
The video bills it as a totally hands-free application while driving, but the fellow in the video made poked his touchscreen to make selections at least once. I've got my doubts about how safe this thing actually is for driving right now. Anything that takes driver attention away from the road can be dangerous. But, at the same time, if you're listening to your phone for directions you aren't calling someone on it. Give and take.
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As awesome as augmented traffic sounds, we're probably a while away from it. Boy Genius notes that the app currently only works in Toronto. I doubt we'll have to wait long to get versions of this app for US cities, though. Something this awesome (and terrifying) can't stay confined to one city forever.