Total Immersion Yells, “First!” on the iPad2

There’s always that one guy who posts “First!” on every comment thread. Total Immersion gets to be the lucky bloke to put the first augmented reality app onto the iPad2.

And I for one salute them.

The tablets are made for a better AR experience. While the magic mirror is strictly 2010 tech, I’m good with that, since it gives a new user a quick visceral experience with the technology.

Go, go, gadget Total Immersion.

Metaio’s Augmented Reality Worker Support

Markerless tracking has come a long way in the last year.  The downside of this system is the custom graphics for the visual manual. It’s hard enough writing instructions for thousands of jobs in a production facility right now. This system would need to be leveraged on mass market jobs like oil changes at Jiffy Lube.


Ninja Attack!

In my dream world, the Kinect system wouldn’t be tethered to the XBox 360.  Instead, it would hook to the TV and have an extensive app library like the iPhone.

Sweet spot around 1:25 for a ninja vanish move.  The Kinect makes invisibility so easy, it’s mind-boggling.

And better work on your arm endurance.

Watson Will Make Us Superhumans

The continued advance of computer intelligence, riding the rails of Moore’s Law, have made events like IBM’s Watson win over two champions on Jeopardy inevitable.  While thoughts of the Singularity, a future in which we cannot predict because computers will out-innovate humans, are fascinating to consider, I prefer a human centered future.  And augmented reality has a large place in a human centered world.

While the underpinnings of this chess trainer demonstration with its Hiro-markers are circa 2009, the ideas still play out.  Instead of concerns that computers like Watson will replace humans, I believe that Watson will help us take advantage of our natural abilities.  Instead of wasting time memorizing trivia, we can focus on the combining of dissimilar ideas into new synergies.

So I say, bring on Watson.  Just with a side of AR, please.

Nintendo 3DS – Japanese Commercial

Having spent much time in Japan, I have a soft spot in my heart for Japanese TV.  Just needs a couple of harajuku girls yelling, “Sumimasen!” and I’m golden.

Take the MINI Countryman for a Joyride


Via Mobile Augmented Reality Campaign, Virtual MINI Goes Anywhere – iPhone App

Puts the MINI Countryman into View; See it in Wired, Facebook, iTunes Store, and More

SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2011) – Put convention aside, and make room for the magic of augmented reality, courtesy of Helios Interactive Technologies (, the emerging leader in experience design.

Working in cooperation with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners — marketing agency of record for MINI and developer of the creative concept — Helios today unveiled a mobile AR application for the iPhone (download here:

Epitomizing the versatility of the new MINI Countryman, users are able to take pictures of a superimposed “virtual MINI” Countryman in their garage, a parking spot, atop a high-rise, astride the Golden Gate Bridge, on the end of their toothbrush, anywhere.

The groundbreaking Virtual MINI app can be downloaded via a QR code included in a print ad in the March issue of Wired, and will be available through the iTunes Store, Facebook and MINIUSA.COM.  Scanning the ad’s QR code with their iPhone will take consumers directly to the application within the iTunes store.

Once downloaded, the application gives users the opportunity to select from one of four different colors and configurations of the MINI Countryman, superimposed on the live video feed from their phone’s built-in camera.  After resizing and rotating the customized 3D model into place, users can capture a snapshot of the scene to be saved to a photo gallery, providing options to share the image with their friends via Facebook or email.

From inception, this iPhone application was created simply to give consumers a utility to visualize the larger MINI Countryman in their garage,” said John Butler, Executive Creative Director of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. “It’s yet another example of MINI being an advertiser who is generally first to market integrating emerging technology with traditional media.  We’re thrilled with the results, and thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration with Helios.”

“The Virtual MINI app is designed to engage consumers in a fun, unique way,” said Mike Schaiman, Managing Partner and co-founder of Helios Interactive Technologies.  Founded in 2008, Helios harnesses an eclectic mix of interactive platforms, from augmented reality and gesture recognition, to multi-touch applications, mobile, social media, 3D display technologies and more.

“We expect people to take some interesting shots and have fun with the new MINI Countryman,” Schaiman said.  “In addition to being among the first automotive apps to integrate an AR campaign for mobile, the Virtual MINI app offers a quirky experience that fits the brand perfectly.   This is exactly the kind of interactive, innovative experience that promotes the brand loyalty MINI is famous for.”

About Helios Interactive Technologies

Helios Interactive Technologies ( is a full-service display technology company that harnesses cutting-edge tools and platforms to attract, surprise and delight consumers with consistently engaging experiences.  Helios specializes in “experience design,” providing interactive displays that grab attention and engage consumers in memorable experiences, for such clients as Best Buy, HBO, the CW Television Network, Mercedes-Benz, Roche Diagnostics, and Sprint, among others.  Founded in 2008, Helios is based in San Francisco.

About Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners

BSSP ( is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Sausalito, CA. The agency provides services in advertising, online marketing and Web development, brand identity and design, and strategic brand consulting. One of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast, BSSP is recognized for its ability to provide highly creative, fully accountable marketing solutions to a broad array of marketers, including MINI Cooper, Priceline, RadioShack, AT&T Interactive, Piperlime, Columbia Sportswear, Greyhound, Mountain Hardwear and Sorel.

MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975.  Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 138 BMW motorcycle retailers, 104 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.  Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:

#      #      #


Journalist note: Information about the BMW Group and its products is available to journalists on-line at the BMW Group PressClub at the following address:  Additional information, images and video may be found at

# # #


Helios media contact:

Ken Greenberg

Edge Communications, Inc.



Reality, Now With More POW!

If global conflicts could add a little more Batman style POW! to their arsenal, we might not actually have so much conflict.

Oh yeah, and it’s a Kinect video.

Comic Kinect: for all those who wish life was a comic book from Maya Irvine on Vimeo.

Read more about it!

Qualcomm Announces Winners of the 2010 Augmented Reality Developer Challenge

Qualcomm Announces Winners of the 2010 Augmented Reality Developer Challenge

SAN DIEGO – February 15, 2011 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced the winners of its 2010 Augmented Reality (AR) Developer Challenge. The top prize of $125,000 was awarded to a team of two developers from Lithuania, Paulius Liekis and Arminas Didžiokas for Paparazzi. Second prize of $50,000 was awarded to Defiant Development Pty Ltd. for Inch High Stunt Guy. Third prize of $25,000 was awarded to five graduate students at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts for their submission, Danger Copter. The Challenge, which kicked off with the public availability of Qualcomm’s AR software development kit (SDK) in October 2010, encouraged developers to create a new generation of vision-based AR applications, including innovative games, educational applications and interactive marketing concepts.

“Qualcomm congratulates the winners and all the developers that provided submissions,” said Jay Wright, director of business development at Qualcomm. “With just over three months of development time since the SDK became available, developers have shown that compelling AR experiences can be created rapidly using Qualcomm’s platform.”

Winning Applications

1st Place – $125,000 – Paparazzi by Paulius Liekis and Arminas Didžiokas (Lithuania)

An interactive game where the player becomes a virtual paparazzo and sneaks pictures of a vain celebrity before he gets agitated and attacks the photographer

2nd Place – $50,000 – Inch High Stunt Guy by Defiant Development Pty Ltd. (Australia)

A game where the player arranges various obstacles to enable a stuntman to successfully jump his motorcycle through a hoop

3rd Place – $25,000 – Danger Copter by Alex Beachum, Jonghwa Kim, Jason Mathias, Kedar Reddy and Evan Sforza (USA)

A gaming adventure where the player becomes a helicopter pilot who maneuvers a water-spouting chopper to extinguish fires and rescue people from danger

The judges for the Challenge were a mix of individuals from industry and academia. Entries were judged based on creative concept, technical execution, overall user experience and other factors.

Publically available since October 2010, Qualcomm’s AR platform uses computer vision technology to align graphics tightly with underlying objects in the real world. The approach is an evolution from current AR techniques that use a device’s GPS and compass for mapping applications. Vision-based AR delivers a fundamentally different user experience in which graphics appear as if they are anchored to real world objects.

Select video clips of applications submitted to the Challenge can be viewed at To create your own application, visit Qualcomm’s AR developer portal at


Augmented Reality to Combat eBooks

As eBooks are slowly eroding the pricing structure of physical books, publishing houses are looking for ways to make the book as an object more appealing.  The ideas of limited editions or signed copies are going to expand to gimmicks like augmented reality covers, or special content for hardcovers only.

The latest book in Jean Auel’s series about a woman surviving the time around the end of an ice age 30,000 years ago comes with a special sticker on the front that gives the buyer a special augmented reality experience.  The main character Ayla will come alive on the computer screen by the power of AR.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES concludes the story of Ayla, her mate Jondalar, and their little daughter, Jonayla, taking readers on a journey of discovery and adventure as Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni — one of the Ninth Cave community’s spiritual leaders and healers.

Once again, Jean Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived thousands of years ago, rendering the terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity and daily lives of Ice Age Europeans as real to the reader as today’s news.

Will this AR add-on help convince a reader to purchase the hardcover rather than wait for a regular copy or download an e-version?  Probably not.  But it is another step in the expansion of my favorite new technology and for that, I cheer.

2010 Qualcomm Augmented Reality Developer Challenge

The results for the 2010 Qualcomm AR Developer Challenge are coming next week on February 15th.  Qualcomm released this teaser video today:

Developers from around the world participated in Qualcomm’s 2010 Augmented Reality (AR) Developer Challenge and created rich AR experiences including interactive games, educational applications, and marketing concepts. These apps use Qualcomm’s AR platform, which includes the AR SDK for Android and the AR Extension for Unity.