The BMT Group and the Fraunhofer Institute have teamed up to work on an EU-funded project to offer Augmented Reality content on smartphones to tourists visiting historic sites throughout the continent. This would make it possible to see those buildings and paintings that have since been destroyed, or haven’t aged so gracefully.

Dubbed the iTacitus, the device allows you to point your smartphone camera at a given object or area within a venue, and detecting visual markers in the frame of reference, it can display additional information or overlay visual content. It can also take a survey of your interests and help you schedule and organize a sightseeing day in a specific city.

SuperWise Technologies AG had previously been working on a similar technology for release in 2009-10, though it appears they’ve been beaten to the punch by the iTacitus team.

Originally, the technology was tested on UMPCs, but with the rise of location-aware smartphones, the iTacitus team has turned to iPhone and Android app development to get their technology into the hands of the masses. They plan of releasing the apps for free, though dates for release are still uncertain. [via iTacitus via PhysOrg and InteractiveTV Today]