Augmented reality (AR) is one of those cool bits of technology that has always appealed to me, but without a practical application I can use. That changed since installing Lookator for Android, a Wi-Fi hotspot detector that uses AR to show the location of hotspots in the real world.
Firing up Lookator starts the phone camera to show the surrounding area on the display. The app detects all hotspots in range and puts them on the display in their actual location. It uses the phone’s GPS and compass to pinpoint hotspots with accuracy. The hotspots are indicated on the screen using icons that show at a glance if the hotspot is openly accessible or secured. The strength of the Wi-Fi signal is indicated, and since AR is in play, you can use the screen to move in the proper direction to get a better signal if needed. The little radar in the upper right corner of the display depicts the direction is currently being shown.
The app is free in the Android Market and is useful in its own right, but it shines when coupled with the WeFi app. WeFi is the online hotspot indicator that uses crowdsourced information, and it has tens of thousands of hotspots in its database. This information is derived from real-world information shared by WeFi members, and is a great resource for those frequently looking for hotspots.
With the WeFi app installed on the Android phone, Lookator can use the massive database to include hotspots on the AR display that are out of range. The app gives a clear indication where these hotspots are located relative to the user’s position, so it’s easy to move toward them to get into range. This shines in dense urban locations where there are lots of unfamiliar hotspots. The video below shows Lookator in action in a busy urban location.
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