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See Virtual Statues in Amsterdam with a Cell Phone

Over the weekend, Darth Vader, Superman, Spiderman and others invaded Dam Square in Amsterdam – virtually, that is.

People with special "augmented reality" programs on their cell phones were able to see computer-generated human sculptures throughout the square and even created their own virtual statues to bring to the party.

Markers placed on the ground that look like black- and white-tiled mosaics triggered phones with the proper software applications installed on them to display the virtual figures. (Amsterdam seems like the perfect place to bring hallucinations to life.)

The statue-seeing apps Layar and AndAR for iPhones and Android devices were made available on the Augmented Reality Flash Mob Web site, as well as instructions for drawing a character.

Perhaps several hundred people convened around two in the afternoon on Saturday, April 24 for this "flash mob" – an off-the-wall activity traditionally stirred up through online channels such as Facebook rather than as a well-funded, organized publicity stunt.

Leading the charge for this flash mob was Sander Veenof, a new media artist in Amsterdam, along with implementers and creators of the software apps.

Adam Hadhazy
Adam Hadhazy is a contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He often writes about physics, psychology, animal behavior and story topics in general that explore the blurring line between today's science fiction and tomorrow's science fact. Adam has a Master of Arts degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College. When not squeezing in reruns of Star Trek, Adam likes hurling a Frisbee or dining on spicy food. You can check out more of his work at www.adamhadhazy.com.