Google Map Maker Will Help Annotate AR World

Google is finally allowing us to edit and add to the map of the United States.  Google Map Maker accepts user contributions and map edits which will, after being checked by a small verification group, be added to the map.  This information can now be seen in Google Street View along with searchable content.  I added a point to my local map and it was added within minutes.

Now local areas can be filled in with detail that will help users manage their every day world.  You could add a shortcut through a campus or a favorite hot dog vendor location that doesn’t show up on the normal map.  It’s possible this information could be used for an AR world.

This is huge news for future AR browsers (or current ones if they can draw from this data.)  Augmented reality is essentially information overlain the life sized map of our world.  Maps are just less detailed versions of our world and Google Map Maker helps transition between the two.

Interactive Billboard with Feelings

My favorite part of the billboard is that it’s made for when you’re stuck in traffic.  I’m thinking the billboard is going to be mostly sad.

Partnering with Tronic the billboard sits near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel and reads, ‘Today I’m Feeling _____’. Using a the GoldRun GPS augmented reality app, passerbys or drivers stuck in traffic can see if the billboard is happy or sad or, whether it feels like dancing or cheering on its favorite team.

Because the billboard is GPS tagged, a number of images can appear at the same site making it more interactive than typical augmented reality applications, essentially, taking a traditional billboard and making it digital. For example, users can change the feelings themselves using large-scale emoticons, and then post them to Facebook or Twitter.

This billboard is part of ADstruc’s ‘Billboards for Everyone’ campaign that partners with artists and designers to help promote creativity and innovation in the outdoor space.

ADstruc Interactive Billboard from TronicStudio on Vimeo.

Traveller AR – iPhone RPG

Traveller AR is an upcoming iPhone AR RPG (whew, that’s a mouthful) that has released a beta and a brief video.  The game is based on an old RPG, basically D&D in the stars.

Traveller-AR uses iPhone’s Augmented Reality to:

  • See a virtual 3D world over-layed on the real world through the window of your iPhone.
  • Allow you to move your phone around in real-space, and explore virtual space as though looking through a window to unreality.
  • Place you in the virtual world, near your actual GPS position.
  • Provide travel bonuses and trading bonuses based on your actual GPS position.
  • Discover and interact with other real players near your actual GPS position

 

GoldRun Raises $1.0M to Expand Reach of Mobile AR

* A year ago we were scanning the heavens waiting for VC manna.  Now it seems we have a blizzard.

NEW YORK NY April 11- GoldRun, a leading mobile augmented reality platform, has raised $1.1 million in angel funding. Participants in the round include Ed Mathias (The Carlyle Group), financier Jon Ledecky, Jeremy Zimmer (Founding Partner of United Talent Agency), Jim Hauslein (Former Chairman and CEO of Sunglass Hut), and Mark Ein (CEO of Venturehouse Group).

New York-based GoldRun will use the funding to develop a series of new user and client side feature sets that will greatly expand the range of programming and AR interactions on their platform. The funds will also support increased sales activities and accelerate the deployment of services across the U.S. and international markets. 2011 will see the introduction of GoldRun-hosted gaming, v-commerce and user generated content.

Comprised of a mobile app coupled with a dynamic content delivery system, GoldRun uses augmented reality to bring the visually-driven, content rich experiences of the web into the offline world. By GPS-linking 2D and 3D virtual goods to physical locations such as retail stores, airports and events, GoldRun enables users to locate, interact with and take pictures alongside virtual objects, and earn immediate, relevant real world rewards for every one of these interactions.

GoldRun launched November 1st, 2010 and has since worked with H&M, Airwalk, Young & Rubicam, Esquire, Barnes & Noble, Marc Ecko, Universal Pictures, A&E Network, Sorel, Interscope Records and Oklahoma University among others.

“GoldRun allows for a new form of communication where our digital and physical lives meet,” says founder/CEO Vivian Rosenthal. “We’ve already evolved beyond check-ins, making them visually-driven and image-based. With the integration of location and context, along with photo taking and sharing, we’ve set ourselves apart by creating a new virtual goods economy mapped onto the real world.”

As part of the financing, Ed Mathias and Jeremy Zimmer will join GoldRun’s board of directors; Greg Golkin and Evan Morgan will serve as board observers.

AR Games You Must Play Now!

It seemed like only last week we were clamoring for more games to showcase the power of augmented reality.  Now I find it hard enough just to keep up with them all.  Instead of trying to create a list, I’m going to just brain dump them into the Internet and let you all decide which ones you want to try.  I’m sure I’ll miss some, so if I have, just add ’em to the comments section.

Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary

I covered this one a month back on the Future Digital Life.  Great game and I loved that it got the kids and I out of the house on late night adventures and using our imaginations.  Nice work, Ogmento.

Paranormal Activity: Sanctuary from Ogmento on Vimeo.

Nintendo 3DS – AR Games

Let’s count the whole suite of them from AR Shot to Fishing.  The game system takes card based AR to a whole new place.  Well, actually, it’s the same place you’re in, but with cool graphics overlain.

AR Soccer

Short and simple but can be addicting for at least as long as it takes your calves to cramp up.

Paparazzi (Qualcomm’s AR Challenge Winner)

The point of the game is to snap as many pictures as possible before the Star gets to pissed and decides to go Lindsey Lohan on your camera.  Thankfully, the cracked screen is only part of the game.  Will a Charlie Sheen edition be coming soon?

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner

Epic space battles on your iPhone.  New York City sold separately.

AR Basketball

Sorry, but swiping the screen on this game just makes me want to play a version of AR Angry Birds.

AR Pirates!

Created by Optricks Media to get you to say “ARrrr Matey!” for the rest of the day after you’ve played it.

AR Defender

Tower defense by Int13.

The AR Drone

Like having a quad-rotor hovercraft wasn’t cool enough, they had to go and add augmented reality.

Pringles Game

There’s a whole host of these product placement games out there.  I’ll summarize them by posting just this one video.  Fill in any number of other products that have jumped on the product as AR game bandwagon.

PBS Kids Games

It’s not a game yet, but it’s a nice article about combining learning and games.

Konstruct

Verbally constructed art.

I’m a complete fumble fingers when it comes to drawing, so letting my whistle do the drawing sounds like a “Winning!” to me.

Konstruct is brought you by James Alliban, the same guy who made AR business cards and AR Ribbons.

It is a sound reactive AR experience for the iPhone that allows the user to create a virtual sculpture by speaking, whistling or blowing into the device’s microphone. A variety of 3D shapes, colour palettes and settings can be combined to build an endless collection of structures. Compositions can be saved to the device’s image gallery.

Konstruct is a free app available on iPhone 3GS and 4 running iOS 4+. A version for the iPad 2 is planned in the coming months.

Konstruct from James Alliban on Vimeo.

Location Based Coupons with Junaio

Locoupons?

Straight outta the box this one seems pretty boring until you think about how well Groupon is doing.  Plus, the people *behind* the person with the Junaio based coupons will be happy.  No more waiting for the lady in front of you to dig through her purse for twenty minutes to find all the right coupons.  Presto.  Magic.  Coupons on your smartphone.

Valpak Launches Location Based Coupons with junaio Augmented Reality Partner

Consumers have a fun, easy way to save money, find coupons on the go through the augmented reality application

LARGO, FL and SAN FRANCISCO – March 29, 2011 – Valpak Direct Marketing Systems / Cox Target Media and junaio today announced the Valpak coupons will now be available on the junaio app, allowing consumers to save money at nearby businesses with geo-targeted coupons that pop up on their smartphones.

With the Valpak coupons on the junaio app, consumers don’t wait to receive coupons, the geo-location coupons are available whenever they want them. The app launches the smartphone’s camera and GPS to overlay a set of 3D icons in real-time, showing the available Valpak coupons in the vicinity as the user scans the surroundings, with a radius varying from 5 feet to 20 miles away. The coupons and offers literally “pop up” on the screen.

Users can view local coupons, savings and deal offers from the convenience of smartphones anywhere and anytime, and find deals from thousands of local and national brands using the app. Consumers can view and redeem Valpak mobile coupon offers for their favorite businesses in the area by showing the local merchant the Valpak coupon(s) displayed on their smartphone.

The Valpak coupon channel puts the consumer at the center focus, delivering content based on the consumer’s location, or geo-location. The app uses the innovative technology of augmented reality, which combines real and virtual, making the experience interactive and 3D.

The Valpak coupon channel on the junaio app is the world’s largest augmented reality mobile coupon application. To experience this feature, users can download the free junaio application, created by metaio, the leader in AR technology, from either the iTunes Store or Android Market and select the “Local Coupons by Valpak” channel.

“Providing Valpak content on the junaio platform extends the reach our advertisers achieve when they purchase Valpak advertising,” according to Nancy Cook, Vice President of New Media Business Development for Valpak/Cox Target Media. “Our content distribution strategy is to be everywhere consumers look for savings. Valpak content appears on many different apps and platforms. That’s good for consumers and good for our advertisers.”

“Partnering with junaio gives us access to a new audience and gives them a fun, interactive way to see which local businesses are offering savings, and then connect to the offer,” said Cook. “Now consumers can find discounts on their favorite nearby businesses as they are walking by them or discover new favorites in the neighborhood.

”In addition to this augmented reality, app, the familiar Blue Envelope and Valpak.com, Valpak offers available via apps for the five major mobile platforms, recently launched Valpak Deals daily deals site, and offers SMS texting for advertisers.

Utopian AR Concept Video

I’m not sure when I’ll tire of concept videos.  As long as they keep upping the ante, I’m in.

This one treats AR as a private little wonderland without intrusion from a world trying to get you to buy stuff.  I’m all for the Utopian vision, but I expect the corporate spam-mongers to find ways into our idyllic little islands.

Quote from the makers, Mattias Wozniak and Bjorn Svensson:

Our objective was to focus on how to interact with an AR system in the near future. Main focus was to keep it socially acceptable, non-obtrusive and intuitive.

More AR HMD News – Laster Technologies

I’ve been trying to get information from Laster Technologies on their AR glasses for about half a year.  Then today, a little video popped up on YouTube showcasing their glasses.  I don’t know much more about them other than what’s shown in the video, and I suspect the visuals we’re seeing on screen aren’t what you’d see through the glasses.

But it is the first sighting of them beyond product pages on the website, so I’m thrilled to pass it along.

Mirage HMD Augmented Reality System

The HMDs are here!

The HMDs are here!

Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting, especially when you realize that the Mirage from Arcane Technologies is not a stylish pair of glasses or even some retro steampunk goggles outfitted with AR HMD gear.  The unit looks so bulky and bland that not even Lady Gaga could make it trendy.

But it IS an AR HMD.

But really it’s made for industrial usage and not everyday street wear.  Though I suppose, a truly hardcore AR enthusiast could augment their home and wear them safety inside without worrying about losing a chance to ever have another date.  Again.  Ever.

The Mirage TM Augmented Reality System is a complete solution allowing you to create your own AR experience by inserting virtual content into the real environment. It includes a high-end stereoscopic OLED video see-through HMD and the MirageBuilder TM AR authoring software that work together to track different targets and display overlay near or onto them. The stereoscopic display allows the user to perceive depths for the most realistic experience and OLED technology offers the best color image quality available in head mounted displays today.

The Mirage TM HMD includes two cameras that are placed in front of the OLED ocular displays. The cameras send the images of the surroundings to the attached computer and the software uses image processing algorithms to detect marker patterns in the image. If one or more marker patterns are detected, those patterns are used to compute the 3D pose of the associated contents and then the overlay is drawn over the camera images for both eyes. The images are then sent back to the OLED ocular displays in front of both eyes. The result is a highly realistic and accurate stereoscopic realtime AR experience !

The system comes with authoring software so you can customize your markers.  I’d be curious if you could also use third party software like the Kinect to make it even groovier.  The Mirage + Kinect could become quite an indie hardcore hit.  However, since they don’t list the price on their website, I assume the cost is greater than even the most hardcore could afford.

Still, it IS another AR HMD on the market and to me we’re another step closer to stylish low-cost AR HMDs.  I’m still predicting 2015 as my arrival date for said glasses, but hopefully someone will surprise me and deliver a product sooner.