Weekly Linkfest

Oh my, what an interesting week for augmented reality, especially in the business front:

This week’s video features a cool street art by SWEZA named QRadio. Graffiti boom-boxes around Berlin start to play music when the QR code drawn on them is scanned.  Via Wooster Collective.

Have a great week!

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.

Weekly Sunny Linkfest

Before we begin with our weekly pile of links, here’s a message from Christine Perey on behalf of “the program committee of the Third International AR Standards meeting”:

The committee has decided to extend the deadline for position papers to June 6th (5 PM UK). Please find more information and guidelines for the position papers: http://www.perey.com/ARStandards/third-meeting-position-papers/

Now, back to our regular programming:

This week’s video goes to you Dr. Who fans – I’ll never understand your ways. Sean McCracken apparently does, and thus created this Android app, available on the Android market to display an augmented version of the TARDIS. Everlasting glory to the first fan who will create a video of Daleks shouting “augment! augment!”
Have a nice week, and good luck Noora

Weekly Spring-Time Linkfest

The spring is here (unless you live below the equator, and somehow don’t fall off the face of the earth), and it brings some great links (and allergens) :

  • Librarian’s dream app – researchers from Miami University created an augmented reality meets mobile application to help keep books ordered on libraries’ shelves.
  • Beats me why the need the money, I always assumed they make millions, but Total Immersion gets USD $5,5M in funding led by Intel Capital (which, interestingly, also funded Layar).
  • Quimo from the University of South Australia, is like play-doh for augmented reality. This “deformable material” supports “freeform modeling in spatial AR environments” by embedding almost invisible AR markers.
  • The Witness” is a German half-movie-half alternative reality game that uses AR (or pseudo-AR) to move the plot forward (via @).
  • Comedian Ricky Gervais dismisses augmented reality as “a load of bollocks” (via @Layar).

This week’s featured video is coming to us from Microsoft, a company that develops stunning technologies just to see them later made into products and sold by the likes of Apple. Here they develop a “Photosynth Lite”, enabling users to create 3d models by taking a few pictures with their cellphones. I wonder where this technology can be applied:

You can read more about this on Technology Review.

Have a sunny week!

Minority Report Interface Using Kinect

The movie Minority Report is often cited as an example and an inspiration for augmented reality.  The Microsoft Kinect is bringing that movie magic to the living room.

It uses the Kinect sensor from Microsoft, and the recently released libfreenect driver for interfacing with the Kinect in linux. The graphical interface and the hand detection software were written at MIT to interface with the open source robotics package ‘ROS’, developed by Willow Garage (willowgarage.com). The hand detection software showcases the abilities of the Point Cloud Library (PCL), a part of ROS that MIT has been helping to optimize. The hand detection software is able to distinguish hands and fingers in a cloud of more than 60,000 points at 30 frames per second, allowing natural, real time interaction.

Code available here.

Weekly Linkfest

ISMAR 2010 is just a couple of days away, and in the meantime, here’s this week’s linkfest:

Today’s video is coming to us straight from ISMAR 2010. It’s a presentation of the results achieved in the paper “Build Your World and Play In It: Interacting with Surface Particles on Complex Objects” by Brett Jones and other researchers from the University of Illinois. The paper presents a way to map virtual content on 3d physical constructions and “play” with them. For more details check out Jones’ website. I think that Angry Birds would be prefect on such a platform:

Have a great week, and the lucky of you who get to be in ISMAR, take some videos, please!

Augmented Maps with Photosynth

I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it, but I was compelled to post it. I’m a big Photosynth fanboy, and always believed it has great potential for augmented reality. On this talk from last Thursday at TED, We see that Microsoft has similar ideas in mind. I would expect more surprises coming from Redmond in 2010

You can read more details about it over at MIT Technology Review or on Bing’s blog.