Augmented Reality at CES 2010

Thursday begins the Consumer Electronics Show 2010, the gadget-head show of the year.  While the Nexus One has all the buzz going into the show and 3D TV will probably be the talk of it, readers of Games Alfresco will want to know what to expect from CES2010 for augmented reality. 

Overall, there’s not going to be any big surprises for augmented reality, but there will be some products that will help further the cause. 

AR Drone

The combination of self-adjusting mini-helicopter and augmented reality interface has turned this little toy into quite the buzz maker pre-show for the device maker Parrot (so much so the website is currently crashed due to traffic.)  The drone has two cameras that can connect to an iPhone or iTouch through a wi-fi network. 

The Drone was introduced Tuesday and attracted the biggest crowd.  This creative application of AR really shows what’s possible using well placed cameras and some ingenuity.  The price or released date hasn’t been announced but it’s expected in late 2010. 

Tablets

Microsoft & HP are expected to release a tablet during the 2010 show while Apple plans to release theirs afterwards.  Tablets are interactive stylish screens that are supposed to be the next wave of portable computers.  Their built-in webcam, wi-fi, processor speeds and portability will give augmented reality the option to upside the “magic lens.”  Redmondpie website has supposed leaked specifications that include a projector which would allow Sixth Sense type AR. 

The supposed iSlate or iPad (really how hard is it to sound like you’ve found leaked Apple information by adding an “i” in front of a random techy word) will need to have GPS, accelerometer, and a compass to truly be AR ready.  Otherwise, the only thing the tablet will be able to do is object recognition and marker-based AR. 

TVs with Cameras

The stealthier possible boon for augmented reality might be in the form infusing TVs with computer sensibilities.  The Skype tool is looking to add webcams to HD TVs for video-calls.  With TVs having wi-fi access, computer processors and downloadable widgets, TV-apps could be a huge market for augmented reality.  The technology would have to be marker and object recognition based, but the stationary setting could allow for creative products like the Sony EyePet without having to fork-out $400 for the PS3.  I’m sure the furry-crowd would love to talk to each other on video-Skype, augmented to look like their favorite animal. 

In general, we’re not going to have an OMFG moment from the CES 2010.  There could be a few surprises similar to the AR Drone, but mostly we’ll grind out more processing power, camera speeds and other un-sexy improvements that will help make augmented reality better.

What I Want For Augmented Reality in 2010

I was going to expand on my predictions that Rouli had posted on Games Alfresco because, frankly, they were pretty lame (mine and not the other nine, those were good.)  But decided that there have been enough predictions for 2010.  So instead, I want to go over the things I want to happen in 2010 in regards to augmented reality.   

1. I want the Nexus One phone from Google to be untethered, cheap and make AR apps fun.

2. I want to be surprised by an AR ready HMD.

3. I want to see fun, creative AR games that are across all platforms and come at an affordable price. 

4. I want the AR inspection assist project I’m working on with Metaio to go flawlessly and for it to revolutionize the way we do difficult inspection job at Toyota and make it easier on our team members. 

5. I want Google Goggles to be a database that other programs can use for pattern recognition and markerless tracking.

6. I want to attend ISMAR10 even though its all the way over in South Korea.

7. I want the ISMAR09 presentations to be put up on YouTube so we can see all the great things that happened.

8. I want Apple to free their live video API for better AR on the iPhone.

9. I want to know what Neogence Enterprises has been working on all these years. 

10. I want to continue to make Games Alfresco the hands-down, defacto source for all your augmented reality news. 

So for all you programmers and entrepreneurs working on the latest in augmented reality tech, even though I may put up your YouTube video or link to your webpage and make semi-snarky comments about its usefulness or how its so-2009, I certainly appreciate your hard work.  Unless you were just mailing it in hoping to capitalize on the AR buzz, then you deserve it and then some.  For all of you in the former category, I leave you with my two favorite quotes to keep you going when things get tough:

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is no in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively.  Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.  Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. 

   — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. 

   — Teddy Roosevelt