You could call it reality 1.0—the unvarnished world presented to us by our five senses. It's not always the most user-friendly of places. We get lost in unfamiliar cities; we meet people whose language we don't understand. Fortunately there's an upgrade in the works that might eliminate some of the bugs: augmented reality, or AR. This emerging technology superimposes computer-generated images on the real world, courtesy of a cell phone camera or special video glasses.
Early forms of AR have already arrived. After downloading software, owners of smart phones like the iPhone and Droid can use the built-in GPS, compass, and camera to find information about nearby ATMs and restaurants, the closest subway stop, and other points of interest in some cities. With AR you might aim a phone's camera at a restaurant, and on the screen you'll see not just the venue but also a review hovering above it.