Augmented Reality Pop-Up Book

Helen Papagiannis is a designer specializing in augmented reality.  She’s spoken at TEDx about the creative side of AR, which was highlighted as one of the top talks about AR and the gamification of life and worked for the internationally renown Bruce Mau Design.

And now she’s putting out a Augmented Reality Pop-Up Book for mobile devices using image recognition.  The book can be enjoyed alone or with the enhanced graphics using an iPad2 or iPhone4.

What I like most about her Pop-Up book is that Helen gets what AR is all about.  Or really what it is–a medium to transfer information.  If you handed the book and the iPad2 to a child and told them to play around, you wouldn’t have to worry that they wouldn’t “get” augmented reality.  They wouldn’t require an explanation or that “AR is that thing on the first down line in football.”  They would just play.

Helen is a natural storyteller, as seen by TEDx talk.  Even her twitter account is called @ARStories (I wish I’d thought of that one.)  She gets that AR is all about telling stories in new and interesting ways, whatever the level of technology.  She used the tools at hand, in this case the AR browser Junaio, to make her Pop-Up book.

And as the technology advances, so too will the level of stories being told.  I expect from this simple Pop-Up book, that we’ll be seeing more of Helen for quite some time.

You can find Helen at her blog – Augmented Stories.

How Will You Protect Your Customer’s Data Exhaust?

Last week on The Future Digital Life, I posted about the Dangers of Computer Vision.  The post garnered a fair amount of interest but it is a question that’s a tad ahead of its time.  We don’t have cameras greedily sucking up information by the bucketfuls right now.

But we do have GPS for our augmented reality apps.

Cue the Imperial March soundtrack and bring out Apple’s turtlenecked front man in role of Darth Jobs.  A recent “bug” was uncovered in iPhone’s software that allowed tracking of the phone user’s location.

Apple claims the data is not the actual smartphone location:

“The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone.”

Either way, it’s a perception that a breech of trust has occurred.  Rather than ramble on about the dangers of this data, and since many of the readers of Games Alfresco are software designers, I thought I would pose a question.  One that won’t be that surprising if you read the title of my post.

Sound off, software developers of the rabid interwebs…

How will you protect your customer’s data exhaust?

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

 

Poll – What Was The Most Significant Happening For AR In 2010?

The year 2010 was marked by many important milestones and events for the nascent technology.  Which one was more important?  If I missed one that you thought was important, just add it to the comment section.

Real Time Planar Detection on an iPhone

Not the snazziest of article titles but I couldn’t think of anything catchier.  That point brings me to the addendum topic of this blog post, which is the unsexy nature of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in the AR movement.  But first, let’s see what’s going on in the scene.

W. Lee, Y. Park, V. Lepetit and W.Woo, showed off their paper “Point-and-Shoot for Ubiquitous Tagging on Mobile Phones,” at ISMAR10.  These two nifty videos show off some crazy-good in situ markerless detection, including an x-wing fighter, complete with shadows, flying over a parking lot.  Cue the movies:

The addendum point I wish to make today is that how much we forget all this amazing technology has been built on the backs of some amazing researchers.  Back over a year and a half ago, most of the content online was from researchers.  Now-a-days, we’re usually only showing the commercial videos which tend to be better constructed.

However, there’s something truly awesome about the unvarnished videos from pre-hype days like the ones here.  You can almost feel the excitement when they got the project working and rushed to the camera to record their efforts and upload it to YouTube–more Wright Brothers than Donald Trump.

So if you’re a researcher and I’ve missed your AR research video, please send me a note, along with some background information on the project and I’ll be happy to highlight you here on Games Alfresco.

Three Things We Can Learn From Disney

Last year at ISMAR09, the keynote speech from Mark Mine of the Disney Imagineering group, really intrigued me.   I had been a hardcore Disney hater before that, but Mark’s behinds-the-scenes look at the technology of Disney, specifically how they used augmented reality, softened my stance.

Cue forward almost one year exactly, in a strange twist of fate and of overenthusiastic grandparents, I find myself at Disney for a week.  Since I was going to be at Disney, I decided to check out all the AR attractions that Mark Mine had talked about in his presentation.  I got to see all the applications I wanted to see except one (Magic Sand) and this is what I learned from the experience:

1) True location based gaming can be a blast

The Kim Possible Adventure game in Epcot was my kids favorite event from the Disney properties.  Each player receives a cellphone and then they follow the clues around until they solve the mystery.  The game uses RFID tags to know when the player is in the right location.  This game is as much an alternate reality game as AR, but either could do the job marvelously.  There were about eight total missions in the various countries of Epcot and the kids did all of them.  I did a few with them and then let them do the rest on their own.

Now that markerless AR is becoming more common with products like Junaio Glue and Google Goggles, I’d like to see someone make a few ARGames based on the Kim Possible model.  It was truly a fun experience that the whole family enjoyed.

2) AR needs to be a product not a feature

In the Disney Downtown area, there’s a wonderful LEGO store with amazing statues made of LEGO bricks.  In the back of the store, there’s a LEGO AR Kiosk.  Since Metaio’s LEGO kiosk was one of the first applications of AR a few years ago, I won’t go into the details of what it is.  But what I will talk about is the hour I stood in the back of the store and watched people interact with it.

Quite a number of parents and kids picked up boxes and held them in front of the camera.  They seemed amused for a second and then quickly put them down and moved on.  I asked a few people what they thought of it and they mostly shrugged without saying much.

The problem I see is that most usages of AR currently are add-on features that are cool in themselves, but don’t actually add to the experience of the product.  For AR to be truly memorable it needs to be both conspicuous and integral to the product.

3) Projection based AR is the future of amusement parks

Projection based AR at Disney was everywhere.  From Buzz Lightyear’s talking statue;  to projected skins across landscapes or objects; or full fledged projected realities that came alive when the haptic chair you sat in moved with the reality.  While this one isn’t going to do much for the average AR programmer, as their medium is the cell phone and not an amusement ride, the amusement parks are going to rely on AR more and more for their advanced special effects.  I think my favorite example was the Forbidden Journey ride at the Harry Potter area of Universal.  I honestly cannot tell you exactly what all was AR, or animatronics, or just smoke and mirrors, but it was truly awesome.  It actually felt like you were there in a place that only exists in our collective minds and sprung from JK Rowling.  That makes the far-future of AR both scary and exciting, and I’m glad to be along for the ride.

3D Hologram ON your iPhone

From the guys that brought you NudeIt.

I had cold shudders thinking of what people might actually scan into a hologram if this were real.