Popping Zits in Augmented Reality

Hands down, this is the weirdest augmented reality game I encountered. Clic&Spot by French company Clic&Gain, is a game that adorns your face with virtual zits and challenge you to burst them as quickly as you can. Who wouldn’t this premise enticing?

The game is based on Total Immersion’s technology, and there’s even an iPad to win. Of course, an iPad is a small prize considering the trauma this game can cause you, but at least it gives you something to touch, other than your face.

mARtha stewARt

In December I predicted that Oprah will have an AR item on her show during 2010. My prediction is getting one step closer to becoming (augmented) reality today, as Martha Stewart has some sweepstake that involves FLARToolkit

You can try it yourself here, I didn’t bother going through the questionnaire to see exactly what it’s all about.

This Post is Rated AR

Very short post following my prediction that 2010 will be the inaugural year for augmented reality porn. A couple of days ago, AppScout reported about the latest venture in this area, Pink Visual’s AR Porn (NSFW link).

Well, it’s porn all-right, but the AR is gimmicky at best. Here’s Pink Visual’s Amanda Cory explaining the potential of such application –

And here’s a close-up video of the application itself, showing how much the potential is left unfulfilled at the moment (sorry, you’ll have to follow the link due to some mild nudity). Not to mention the intrinsic problem of flash-based AR porn – porn websites can record everything that is visible by your webcam while using the application. Isn’t that exciting?

via AppScout.

Augmented Reality at CES 2010

Thursday begins the Consumer Electronics Show 2010, the gadget-head show of the year.  While the Nexus One has all the buzz going into the show and 3D TV will probably be the talk of it, readers of Games Alfresco will want to know what to expect from CES2010 for augmented reality. 

Overall, there’s not going to be any big surprises for augmented reality, but there will be some products that will help further the cause. 

AR Drone

The combination of self-adjusting mini-helicopter and augmented reality interface has turned this little toy into quite the buzz maker pre-show for the device maker Parrot (so much so the website is currently crashed due to traffic.)  The drone has two cameras that can connect to an iPhone or iTouch through a wi-fi network. 

The Drone was introduced Tuesday and attracted the biggest crowd.  This creative application of AR really shows what’s possible using well placed cameras and some ingenuity.  The price or released date hasn’t been announced but it’s expected in late 2010. 

Tablets

Microsoft & HP are expected to release a tablet during the 2010 show while Apple plans to release theirs afterwards.  Tablets are interactive stylish screens that are supposed to be the next wave of portable computers.  Their built-in webcam, wi-fi, processor speeds and portability will give augmented reality the option to upside the “magic lens.”  Redmondpie website has supposed leaked specifications that include a projector which would allow Sixth Sense type AR. 

The supposed iSlate or iPad (really how hard is it to sound like you’ve found leaked Apple information by adding an “i” in front of a random techy word) will need to have GPS, accelerometer, and a compass to truly be AR ready.  Otherwise, the only thing the tablet will be able to do is object recognition and marker-based AR. 

TVs with Cameras

The stealthier possible boon for augmented reality might be in the form infusing TVs with computer sensibilities.  The Skype tool is looking to add webcams to HD TVs for video-calls.  With TVs having wi-fi access, computer processors and downloadable widgets, TV-apps could be a huge market for augmented reality.  The technology would have to be marker and object recognition based, but the stationary setting could allow for creative products like the Sony EyePet without having to fork-out $400 for the PS3.  I’m sure the furry-crowd would love to talk to each other on video-Skype, augmented to look like their favorite animal. 

In general, we’re not going to have an OMFG moment from the CES 2010.  There could be a few surprises similar to the AR Drone, but mostly we’ll grind out more processing power, camera speeds and other un-sexy improvements that will help make augmented reality better.

Spads and Fokkers – Brainy AR

I always enjoy featuring a hobbyist augmented reality project, and Davide Byron’s (aka @Need2Revolt) game “Spads and Fokkers” is especially pleasing. On the face of it, it doesn’t look anything special, two virtual planes having a dog fight, using a marker for easy augmented reality:

The twist is in the method the user may exploit in order to control the planes, using a brain-computer interface. Writes Byron:

As for the control mechanism, we actually have some devices that are able to read brianwaves and infere what the user is thinking about, so the choice was easy. The newest and most promising headset for thought control is the epoc, not yet on the market, but with a free SDK I can play with. With this technologies I was actually able to develop something that works and doesn’t need any special stuffs you can’t buy off the shelf. In the story, the players controls 3 airplane each, but in practice it was too hard to simultaneusly control 3 airplanes, so I reduced the number to a single airplane for each player. Furthermore, since the airplanes are not projected into the real world, it’s suggested you wear a HMD.

You can download the binaries and source code and learn more about this interesting project here.

Augmented Reality – Now Comes in Banners

For their latest campaign, promoting Burger King’s one dollar menu, ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky chose to break the mold of former AR campaigns. First, there’s no mini-site, the whole experience is neatly contained within a single banner ad. Moreover, there’s no need to print a marker. You simply show this ad a one dollar bill and it shows you an item from BK’s one dollar menu. You flip the bill and it shows you another item. Finally, when you hide the bill from your web cam, your face is covered by a king’s mask.

Apparently it works with other bills and even white sheets of paper, so you can give it a try. The banner is featured over here.

Even More Augmented Reality Business Cards

(previously those and those)

I’m doing some spring (it’s spring time in Australia*) cleaning in my bookmarks, that’s what I came with:
Genuine Interactive came up with these augmented business cards for its staff, which have been named “the butterfly effect cards”. Thomas has dedicated a whole post for their demo.

Visualcard.me on the other hand, lets you create your own AR enabled business cards, that shows your Twitter and Skype accounts.

I’m sure those two companies are not going to be the last ones that come up with this idea, so stay tuned.

* Alas, I’m not in Australia.