Augmented Reality Roundup on Pixelsumo

Augmented Reality Roundup

Posted January 13th 2010 under Augmented Reality, Games

I’ve never really written very much about augmented reality on Pixelsumo, just an alternative reality. The other week I was talking at an Augmented Planet event, where various demos were shown & discussed.

I am slightly cynical towards AR because many things I have seen don’t work, so I decided to post some projects that I actually do like.

For me, bad uses of augmented reality are where it is used just as a gimmick. Showing a 3D model on a marker? I mean common, the ARToolKit was developed nearly 10 years ago! The experience has to be meaningful, with the technology being part of the context in which it is used, and enhance an experience, not making it harder. If you are aware of the technology as the main focus, then it hasn’t worked.

Watch this parody video
Me too (doing some AR stuff)

Or how bad is this? 🙂
Transformers Augmented Reality

A lot of marker based stuff doesn’t work, due to lighting conditions, obscuring the marker or just being too slow. The problem is that we get used to these flaws as part of the experience of using AR, so we just accept them.

To be honest, I’m not keen on the concepts of augmented magazines, corporate brochures, band videos & business cards. What happens when the novelty of AR wears off?

So what do I like?

Le monde des montagnes
Written about previously already. Lovely.

levelHead by Julian Oliver is a great spatial memory game. Players use a plastic cube, each side covered in an AR marker, acting as a window into a virtual room, whilst tilting the cube to make the character walk. I like this because the display cube is used as a tangible link into the virtual world, and the markers themselves help act as visual helpers to remembering which rooms belong to the cube sides.

Augmented Reality Magic
Marco Tempest - Augmented Reality Magic
Augmented illusions from the ‘virtual magician’ Marco Tempest, watch video. Whilst in contemporary magic you have no idea how a trick is done, here its easy to say ‘oh its done in the computer’. However there are traditional card tricks linked into some AR graphics here. The system recognises the cards (rather than needing AR markers), with the software for this magic being created by Zach Lieberman & Theo Watson. Pictures of the software in action here.

Also check out the Magic Projection (created by Zach for Marco).

In EyePet, Sony have brought AR to the masses in a game, much more accessible than any other attempt at AR for homes before it. More of an advanced toy than fully fledged game, you control your virtual pet via the PSEye camera as the interface. As well as motion vectors from your hands movement, they have used ‘magic card’ as AR markers to let you interact with your pet (shown here). Most impressive is the technology to turn your drawings into 3d objects that the pet can ride & play with (shown above). Watch this video, and this one. I suspect when the new PS3 motion controller is released this spring will bring a host of improvements to EyePet.

Lego Digital Box
Lego Digital Box
When you take a child to buy a box of Lego, the box doesn’t just show the pieces that are inside in a random pile, it shows that these pieces can (or should) be made into. Watch video. So its a very logical idea to let children see what their creations could look like when finished & also animate them. Why is it good? In store you get to instantly see how the Lego pieces animate, and the technology doesn’t rely on large ugly AR markers. Created by Metaio for Lego (via Notcot)

Augmented Reality Pool
“The RCVLab at Queen’s University demonstrates Deep Green, a pool playing robot, and ARPool, an augmented reality system for teaching the science of pool”. Watch video. Sure it works as a training aid, but also opens up ideas for creating new rules & games on a pool table. Although, this Obscura Digital product might be too distracting?

Total Immersion
Total Immersion
French company Total Immersion are one of the leaders in this field for years. They have done too much to mention (3d face mapping, markerless space tracking, pattern recognition), but check out their videos here. Also check out the videos of team member Emmanuel here for tonnes of great behind the scenes & experiments.

AR on iphone
Yes there have been a few apps that overlay arrows pointing at tube stations, and demos of using the AR toolkit, but the marker-less space tracking is really going to be the key to success. Apple, please allow developers to use the camera in your sdk!

The Active Vision Group of the Oxford University Engineering Department created PTAM (Parallel Tracking and Mapping) by Georg Klein & David Murray, watch this awesome video (from 2007). Now supports multiple cameras & multiple maps (with source code), see PTAMM. As you can see from this video, they have PTAM running on iPhone.

I suspect that other companies, such as Total Immersion & Metaio have iPhone technology ready to go when Apple buck up their ideas. Why is this important? Well the popularity of the device could see interesting AR apps and games appearing that really push the boundaries of outdoor AR and pervasive gaming.

Augmented Reality Toys
Augmented Reality Toys
For his final project of Interaction Design Master degree, Frantz Lasorne created a toy prototype, asking the question how we might play if wearing a head mounted AR viewer device (view videos). Read about the project here.

Posted via web from fMajakovskij


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