Weekly Linkfest

Slow week, or am I at fault for not paying attention to the augmentosphere?

This week’s video is without a doubt this one from The Heavy Projects – I never got so many retweets as I did after tweeting about it (if you don’t follow me I’m @augmented). Harnessing the power of Junaio, the billboards of Times Square are repainted with original street art. I think the guys from Artvertiser had this idea first, but it’s pretty neat to see it actually implemented. I just wonder whether it’s ok with Junaio’s terms of use.

Have a great week!

Hyper(reality) – Who Needs Eyes When Kinect is Around

Imagine for a moment how would it be like to replace your sense of vision with the point cloud generated by Kinect, which in turn is controlled by your arduino glove. Thanks to designer Maxence Parache you don’t need to imagine such a scenario anymore

Hyper(reality) – The Last Tuesday Society from Maxence on Vimeo.

I’m not sure if this project can be catalogued as augmented reality, and if so, it is surely on the fringes of AR (since it seems to me to increase the latency between atoms and bits). Is the term alternative reality taken yet?

via Yanko Design (where you can see some more videos)

Raving Rabbids Alive & Kicking (Some AR)

Yes, I still exist.  Sorry, I’ve been out of the country for the last few weeks.  But my travels did give me a glimpse into a fantastic game sporting the A and the R — Raving Rabbids.  If you’re not familiar with the series, Raving Rabbids are the insanity pills of the gaming industry.  Nothing like jerking your carrot juice in front of a bar full of people, laughing and pointing the whole time (yes, this is a game, not an obscene act.)

The game is for the Microsoft Kinect only and utilizes the characters to immerse you into their insanity.  What I love about the Rabbids and AR is that it gets you out of the gimmick and into AR.  Right now what holds most applications of AR back is that they’re focused on the trick and not telling a good story.  Rabbids are weird and at times, unexplainable, but playing their games helps you forget there’s a thing called AR at all.  And that’s a good thing.

Looking forward to when this game comes out.

Virtual Fitting Room for Topshop

** Nice to see the Kinect out in the working world, rather than just slaving away in hacker space.  The video is instructive as it shows real customers using the product.  Personally, I wouldn’t look good in any of those dresses, but that’s just me.  *cough*

Virtual Fitting Room for Topshop

AR Door, a Russian agency specialized in Augmented Reality solutions, teamed up with Topshop, a woman and man clothes retailer, to create a virtual fitting room for a new collection of dresses Dress up.

A special kiosk for the fitting room was installed at the flagman Topshop store in Moscow at the shopping centre European, 5-8 May 2011.

The virtual fitting room is built on the most sophisticated technologies: augmented reality and Microsoft Kinect. Augmented reality allows the customers to select a garment off the rack without having to try it on physically.  As a customer, you see yourself onscreen with a 3D copy of a dress. Kinect allows the user to control the program by simple gestures pushing virtual buttons right in the air.

To activate the program you don’t need special markers: the built-in camera tracks a person’s body and superimposes over it a 3D model of the dress.

A unique feature that allows the customers to watch both the front and the back parts of the dress was deployed in the Topshop fitting room for the first time in the world practice.

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.

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.

Weekly Augmented Reality Linkfest

This tradition cannot be stopped, here’s another weekly linkfest:

This week’s video comes from Robert Scoble’s tour in SRI International, showing a handbag buying application, using Kinect to make it seem like a real handbag is actually dangling from the lady’s arm. See more videos, including one aboud head mounted display based AR gaming, in this post, titled “A Look At How SRI Is Augmenting The Human Condition“:

Have a great week!