Sportpong – It’s Fun Being a Paddle

In Switzerland you can play Pong. Yeah, I know, you can play Pong for about 30 years all around the world, but you could never play it like this – outside, with your legs serving as paddles.

It’s nothing new either – you could have rent the setup for the game for at least a couple of years. The company behind it writes:

The setting is very simple: a reflector on each foot is the only physical tool to interact with Sportpong. The interface is integrated in the field which is projected on the floor. The players control the game with their feet, nothing else. This control is intuitive, naturalistic and very direct.

I really, really, can’t wait to try it out. Last year I had a session of Atari Pong (the first in twenty years) and enjoyed it immensely. This looks even better. Would be great having it on ARE or ISMAR.
More details on sportpong.ch via SwissMiss.

Sixth Sense at TED India

I thought that the next talk given by MIT’s Pranav Mistry at TED India earlier this month was worth posting over here. True, most of the use cases shown in this video were already presented on February. And true, Graz’s Daniel wagner was absolutely right calling Sixth Sense conceptual. Yet, even as a conceptual work, it’s beautiful, and the new “dragging real life to the computer screen” demo makes this video worth watching (or just jump to it at the 10 minute mark):

ARScope: Augmented Reality Through the Crystal Ball

ARScope originally Presented at SIGGRAPH 2008 by the University of Tokyo (yes, the guys behind ARForce), is obviously not a new concept. However, as far as I can see, it got only little coverage at the time, and certainly deserves our attention.

ARScope is an interesting combination of old world metaphors such as a magnifying glass and a crystal ball, head mounted display and projected AR. The user holds a handheld device covered by reflective material, on which an image is projected from a micro-projector the user wears on his head. Two cameras, one on the handheld device and one on the headset, and a sophisticated algorithm are used to calculate the user’s point of view relative to the handheld device, and thus ARScope is able to project a suitable image. In the case of the crystal ball, it even allows two users to see two different perspectives on the augmented world.

Can’t understand why no-one has commercialized this idea yet. It seems to be far more natural than HMD that blocks your peripheral vision.

Another video can be found here, and an interview with one of ARScope’s creators is here. More details on the project’s website.

Augmented Reality Flashlight

The posts I like the most are about student projects. Luckily here’s another one.
A couple of students from the German research institute, the Fraunhofer Society created what they name “The Augmented Reality Flashlight”. Basically, it’s a micro-projector held as a flashlight to shed light (i.e. annotate) objects in your vicinity. Yep, projected AR is not dead after all.

So, what’s novel about this technique? After all, we all saw MIT’s Sixth Sense half a year ago. One of the students, Robert Brauer explains:

[the novelty is in] The metaphorical approach. The whole “flashlight” thing changes the style of working from the ergonomic perspective – which was our initial motivation.
In technical space I’d say that we concentrate going “pure pinky”. Based on the interaction technique there is no need for coloured finger caps. We try to work naturally on and furthermore with the object. Although we really like the MIT project, the finger caps are to us what the stylus was to mobile phones. Unnecessary and annoying.

You can read more details over Brauer’s blog. If you are a student that happen to work on an AR project, feel free to send me a mail, I’m just a few clicks away :)

Weekly Linkfest

Before going on with our scheduled linkfest, I would like to pose a question to my readers. Am I updating too much, or not enough? How many augmented reality related posts would you like to read per week? Your opinion is important to me, so please comment away on this topic.

Now, without further ado, here’s this week’s linkfest.

This week’s quote comes from the Augmented Reality Blog:

if you put a marker on something inadequate (for example an oily food box) and fail to produce both a nice game logic and fancy design, augmented reality becomes totally obsolete. Driven by nothing. And because I am driven by augmented reality I don´t want immersive “campaigns” to be as attractive as a modem.

This augmented reality video comes from Berio Molina Quiroga thesis project for the Computer Graphic Design Masters at Rochester Institute of Technology. It’s called Augmented Sound, but I fancy the drawing process much better than the auditory results. You can find more information over here.

Augmenting sound. Space 1 Bath. Video 2 from berio on Vimeo.

Have a nice week!

Weekly Linkfest

Pizzas, Ghosts and Robots, all making augmented reality news this week:

Quote of the week comes from that WSJ article:

Madison Avenue has high hopes for the gimmick. “It’s the new bright and shiny object that marketers want,” says Tom Bedecarre, chief executive of AKQA, a San Francisco digital marketing firm that created the Postal Service campaign. AKQA is currently pitching several of its clients’ campaigns that include the technology.

Which means we should expect more bad novelty augmented reality ahead.

And to start off the coming week, here’s a nice clip showing projected pong game, made by two students from the IT University of Copenhagen. Here you can find out how they did it, and see some behind the scenes pictures.

Weekly Linkfest

This week’s top post on Games Alfresco was, for the second week in a row, Top 10 augmented reality demos that will revolutionize video games“. On Augmented Times it was my old rant about using AR to market cars.
Here are some other weekly augmented reality news from around the web:

  • Thomas Carpenter had some great posts this week (he is a fierce contender for the top AR blogger spot), but his best was surely this one, where he interpolates current trends to come to the conclusion that Augmented Vision will be available circa 2015.
  • ReadWriteWeb discovers augmented reality.
  • LittleProjectedPlanet takes Little Big Planet and translates it to the projected AR format, or so they say.
  • Not only Star Trek, Night at the Museum 2 (what were they thinking?) , uses AR for promotion (in Australia), but in a tired “novelty” way. Best of all, they claim it’s the “first time ever in the world that it’s been done with newsprint” (source). Obviously they come from a different world than I do.
  • McCANN New York brings us an augmented reality pencil application to scribble on our screens.
  • BMW took its augmented reality campaign to promote the Z4 model to the streets of London, and actually got a cool video.

And, as usual, here’s a short clip to welcome the next week. Using augmented reality British Football fans (soccer) can see themselves lifting the FA Cup using this web application. And here’s a nice quote from this clip’s Youtube page – “FA Cup sponsor E.ON has applied the latest military technology known as Augmented Reality to the oldest domestic cup competition in the world”. Apparently, FLARToolKit is a military technology :)