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.