Leaf++ : A Social Network Based on Leaves

Well, I guess the title says it all. Leaf++ is the brain child of Italian artist Salvatore Iaconesi that couples together visual search and social networks to augment (you guessed it) leaves. A user can leave (no pun intended) a message on a leaf, to be seen later by other users scanning the same leaf type.

Watching the above video, it seems that some people get high on leaves.

More details can be found on Iaconesi’s site.

Augmented Reality U.S./Iraq War Memorial

Here is another example of art activism where augmented reality is used to convey a message. Building upon Layar, artists Mark Skwarek and John Craig Freemand created was is probably the first virtual war memorial, commemorating each of the 52,036 deaths, both Iraqis and Allies, in the last gulf war.

The artists translated the place of death in Iraq to a location in the US and placed there a virtual casket, either “American” or “Middle eastern” in design. The result is disturbing:

More info on the project’s blog, via Development Memo for Ourselves.

Biggâr – Bigger is Better?

We have covered quite a few art projects using augmented reality as their canvas, but nothing of the scale of Biggâr. Created by Sander Veenhof, can best be described as a virtual sculpture composed of more than 7 billion blocks encompassing the whole world.

Using Layar, you can not only view Biggâr but also interact with its blocks. A single tap on your phone is all it takes to change the color of all 7 billion blocks (sadly only three colors are available to choose from). I failed to experience a live color change, but it should be quite a trip.
More info here.

Sydney Town Hall Organ Augmented Reality Projection

We’ve come so far since the days of shadow puppets on the living room wall.

Augmented Shadow: The best AR project you’ll see today

Beautiful work by programmer and designer Joon Y. Moon using a projector hidden inside a table. Words can hardly do it justice, so just watch the video:

Apparently Augmented Shadow stems from Moon’s MFA thesis in Design & Technology for Parsons. He writes:

In this installation, the shadows exist both in a real and a virtual environment simultaneously. It thus brings augmented reality to the tabletop by way of a tangible interface. The shadow is an interface metaphor connecting the virtual world and users. Second, the unexpected user experience results from manipulating the users’ visual perceptions, expectations, and imagination to inspire re-perception and new understanding. Therefore, users can play with the shadows lying on the boundary between the real, virtual, and fantasy.

More details on the project’s home page.

The Augmented Reality Ballet

The Ballet Font Project combines ballet with augmented reality.  I assume they’ll have big screens showing the combined real time dance with the foot drawn fonts.  The project is a rare cross breed between geekdom and high-end culture.

Used watch batteries and infrared LEDs to create a 2D motion tracking system. We taped these little devices to ballet dancers and had then perform moves which formed letters, which will be used in a headline font called “Ligne”.

This video shows a few letters being performed where we’ve used to the tracking data to overlay FX. The stroke width is controlled by the speed of movement. We’ll be doing a live demonstration at the Armory in Portland, Oregon on Thursday, July 1, 2010. Participants will be able to use the tracking devices to do real time augmented reality.

This project is the brainchild of Weiden + Kennedy’s WK12. Oregon Ballet Theatre contributed the choreography and dancing talent. I developed three versions of software called “Chireo” (chirography + choreography). “capture” did the initial motion and video capture. “augment” let us clean up the data and export the font and rendered videos. “live” is the real time motion tracking / augmented reality software we’ll be using at the demo. Todd Greco here at Fashionbuddha helped on the visual FX in the “augment” and “live” versions.

Hitchcock’s Rear Window reimagined in Augmented Reality

Rear Window is the thesis project of artists Mike Lawrie and Jon Friis for the New Media program of the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University (Canada). It’s a re-imagining of the classic Hitchcock film where viewers will take the part of the film’s protagonist.

The installation takes the form of a telescope, installed near a window in the gallery space. Participants are invited to take the role of Jeff in the film, observing and scrutinizing the neighbours and neighbourhood of the gallery. However, the image through the telescope does not wholly coincide with what is seen by the naked eye. Instead, utilizing augmented reality techniques, portions of the image are replaced. Specifically, windows of neighbouring buildings become silver screens, presenting participants with footage from Hollywood films which utilize the Rear Window cliché.

Now, I’m too much a techie to understand their motivation in creating such an installation, but I do like the idea. Read more about it on Mike Lawrie’s site.

Preaching to the Augmented Choir

Yet another use of the BBC big screens for augmenting reality. This time it’s a project by a group of artists named “The Sancho Plan” who deployed the display in Bristol late last March. I don’t have any more details, but it seems the participants had a lot of fun:

Big Screen Augmented Reality from The Sancho Plan on Vimeo.

Giant Augmented Hand Terrorizes City

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when Chris O’Shea sent me a mail with his latest work Hand from Above. This public art installation features a giant hand that through the magic of OpenCV and some smart programming on O’Shea’s part, tickles, picks and pounds unsuspecting pedestrians:

Yes, I know, it’s not augmented reality according to Azuma’s definition, but it’s certainly original and a lot of fun. It could have been even more fun, if I could control the hand myself, but my god delusions will wait for now. More details on O’Shea’s site, where you should really take a look at “Out of Bounds”, another art installation that has a strong AR motif.