The Best of the Best in Augmented Reality Compete for Top Industry Award

Industry icons Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Will Wright and Jaron Lanier to judge “The Auggies” – at the worldʼs largest AR event.

Register Today!

SANTA CLARA, CA (April 26, 2011) – The Augmented Reality industry is getting ready to show off a new round of innovation to the technology, media, and marketing communities.  If you ever wondered about the potential of Augmented reality and wanted to check it out up close, you will be excited to know that “The Auggies” returns to the world’s largest augmented reality event, ARE 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. The second annual Auggies competition will take place at the heart of Silicon Valley as the brightest minds in the industry put on a show to impress the industry’s most iconic judges and inspire the audience packed with AR enthusiasts.

The thing I like best about ARE is personally witnessing things that never show up on the Internet. There’s a tension in Augmented Reality, between the global scope of the technology and the local character of the teams that produce it. When you’re in the room with committed, creative people — looking them in the eye, breathing the air they are breathing — that’s what makes it an “event.”

– said Bruce Sterling.

For the Auggies competition, augmented reality teams get 5 minutes each on stage and compete for the coolest live AR demo. The panel of judges provides their unabashed comments, critiques and if they are deemed worthy praise. Winners will be voted by the audience and receive the prestigious “Auggies Award.”

The Auggies is the opportunity for AR developers to unveil their vision of the future, not only in terms of technical progress, but also on how creative you can be with this technology. Winning is truly an important recognition from the AR community and it surely means you’re defying the norm and taking one step further.

– said Ivan Franco of YDreams – the 2010 Auggies winner.

Nominations for live demonstrations at the 2011 Auggies include: Previznet, Georgia Tech, Mobilizy, Whistlebox, Ogmento, Metaio, Vertigore, and Occipital.

The competition is still open for additional nominations until May 10th.

The only way to witness the yearly AR battle for the Auggies and participate in the live audience voting is to register for the ARE 2011 event. Event registration is limited and does sell out.

Special Discount for Games Alfresco Fans for ARE 2011 – an Event Packed with Augmented Reality Goodness!

The second annual Augmented Reality Event (ARE 2011) is unveiling a sneak preview of the schedule for the world’s largest event – focused exclusively on advancing the augmented reality industry.
ARE 2011 will take place in May 17th-18th at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California, and is surely a must-attend event for the Augmented Reality (AR) community, and anyone interested to learn about AR.
Join Bruce Sterling (“the prophet” of AR) on the main stage, with Vernor Vinge (author of “Rainbows End” and “The Coming Technological Singularity”), and Will Wright (Legendary game designer of SimCity, The Sims, and Spore). Also returning from last year’s event, Blaise  Aguera Y Arcas (a leader in Microsoft’s mobile strategy), to top his Ted talk demonstrating innovations in Bing Maps and Augmented Reality. And if that’s not enough magic – Marco Tempest, the world’s most notable AR magician will stun the audience with a live augmented magic show.


The 2 day event will feature more than 33 hours of talks running the gamut of AR essentials in 3 tracks: Business, Technology and Production:
a) BusinessFor executives of established and start-up AR companies, as well as mobile hardware companies – in search of business models and promising verticals for AR;  a venue to form partnerships, learn about latest innovations, and most importantly speak with clients.

b) TechnologyFor Developers, programmers and technologists seeking the latest and greatest engines and tools for AR; learn from case studies and post mortems delivered by experienced developers from the leading companies in the space.

c) ProductionFor Producers, designers, project managers (in gaming companies, agencies, marketers, brands, and artists) hungry for proven techniques to leverage augmented reality to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers, and build successful campaigns and products that will delight users.

For a complete list of confirmed speakers checkout the website at: ARE 2011 Speakers

If you are an AR Enthusiast – you will feel like a kid in a candy store at are2011.

Not convinced yet? Check out these special activities:
1) “Startup Launch pad” – Five AR startups present their business models and products in front of an expert panel: VCs, Entrepreneurs, and industry luminaries – hosted by a major industry powerhouse. Winner receives: “ARE Best startup prize” (to be announced.) Submit your proposal here under track: “Startup Launch Pad”.

2) “The Auggies” – Teams get 5 minutes each to present on stage and compete for the coolest live AR demo. An extraordinary trio of judges: Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, and Will Wright, will comment on the demos – American Idol-style. Winners will be determined by the audience and receive the prestigious “Auggies Award.” Submit your proposal here under the “Auggies” track.

3) ARt Gala – A display of AR art projects and live performance art by the world’s top AR artists featuring: Helen PapagiannisAmir BaradaranSander Veenhof and more to be announced. And to make sure all your senses are stimulated – drinks and food are on the house – courtesy of our sponsors.

4) ARE Press Conference – If you are planning to announce a new product or service – secure your spot in the press conference that will kick off the event. Submit your proposal here and add: “Press Conference” in the title.

5) Exhibition and Sponsorships – A small number of booths is still available in the exhibition hall ($995 for 10′x10′).Grab them while they last!

Use ORI295 – special discount for Games Alfresco’s fans and shave off $100 of the already sweet price tag of $395.

Register today for the augmented reality event!

10 Cool Things Going On Right Now in Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has come a long way in a years time.  Last year I got excited by research projects and gimmicky AR webcam advertising, but that quickly faded on the tenth plus iteration.  It wasn’t until July that we starting having real AR products in the form of apps.  Nearly a year later and still early in the development of the AR ecosystem, we’re seeing a more diverse use of the technology and that has me excited again.  So I want to take a moment to go over ten cool things going on right now in augmented reality.

1. Battle of the AR Browsers

Wikitude, Layar, Tonchidot, Junaio, TagWhat and others hope to be the standard for the AR browser market.  Layar has recently upped the ante with an AR content store and TagWhat takes it in a new direction by combining lessons learned with Foursquare and Twitter.  I suspect one of the big boys like Google, Twitter or Facebook will eventually either create their own or co-opt the ideas from these early browsers into their current products.  I’m not sure which horse to bet on in this race, but in the end we customers are the winners.

2. DIY Portable Augmented Reality Headset

Using an Eye-Trek video headset, the guy at Tailormadetoys made a pair of AR glasses.  I love the DIY culture and while they’re not see-through, I think all the right parts to make one are out there.  This post from Team Hack-a-Day proves that the DIY makers are getting close, so why can’t one of the big makers get it done?

3. The AR phone – Ouidoo

The specs on this Ouidoo QderoPateo smartphone are in the WTF!? zone.  While the phone won’t be out until the fall, the company claims it’ll have a 26-core CPU capable of 8-gigaflop floating point operations and include  512MB RAM, 4GB ROM, 28GB of built-in storage, microSD expansion, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, built-in 3D map, accelerometer, digital compass, 5-megapixel camera with flash, 220 hours of standby battery life, and a sharp 3.5-inch 800 x 480 screen.  Whew.

While I’m not completely believing the hype, and it could end up being vaporware, it certainly looks promising.  Though it’ll have to work hard to compete with the likes of the iPhone and Droid.

4. Eyeborg

Bionic eyes and augmented reality.  It’s like peanut better and chocolate!  Rob Spence is putting a camera into his eye to make movies with (and because its just plain cool.)  And he’s also interested in combining augmented reality with his eye camera.  They’ve come up with a promotional AR eyeborg t-shirt in the meantime.

Eyeborg’s New AR shirt in action!

5. ARE2010

Bruce Sterling, Will Wright, Marco Tempest, and the list goes on.  It pains me to say that I won’t be able to make the inaugural event.  I had a work conflict with that week, so I have to bow out of hosting the panel on AR glasses.  But for the rest of you, I hope you’ll be able to make it.  With AR on the rise and viable business options a-plenty, it’s a good time to network and see what everyone is doing with the nascent technology.  This is the “can’t miss” AR event of the year.

6. ARWave

Our favorite interviewer Tish Shute and longtime commenter Thomas Wrobel have been sheparding the AR Wave project and collaborating with people all over the globe.  While it’s still too early to tell, this could end up being one of the most important AR developments out there if they can truly create an open source way of using AR.  As they’ve been telling everyone, they’re trying to make a system that:

* Anyone can make content

* Anyone can make a browser

* Anyone can run a server

7. iPhone OS4.0

It almost pains me to get excited about an iPhone update that promises video access to make real AR work on that smartphone.  We got fooled last September with the OS3.1.  I’m hoping we don’t get fooled again (unless you’re the Who.)

8. Haptic AR floors

I’m not even entirely sure if haptic floors fit into the augmented reality spectrum, but it’s so crazy weird and true, that I had to include it.  I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing a commercial product anytime soon though (or ever.)

9. AR Drone

While the news on the AR drone is a stale few months old, I still think it warrants inclusion because it was a great product.  The hovercraft alone was worth the price of admission, but the AR added a creative twist to it.  I have no idea if it sold well, but it sure did capture the imaginations of a lot of geeks.

10. You choose!

Let us know what you think is the coolest thing going in augmented reality right now.  Whether it’s a product only hinted at or one currently residing on your smartphone, we’d like to hear it.  So let us know here at Games Alfresco in the comment section!

GDC 2009 Roundup: a (tiny) spark of augmented reality

The dust over GDC 2009 has settled a while ago and finally I got to reflect on the AR experience at the show.  Guess which headline would summarize it best:

a) augmented reality was the talk of the show

b) the expo floor was swarming with AR demos

c) AR games snatched lucrative game awards

d) none of the above


A friend in San Francisco wearing retro AR goggles

Unfortunately (d) is the right answer.

But – and it’s a big ‘but’ – the ignition spark was there. The seed was planted. The first shot of the revolution was fired.

(OK, maybe the last metaphor went too far.)

Here are 5 triggers I identified that ignited the spark:

1) Blair

The first GDC augmented reality talk – ever: Blair MacIntyre covered the latest and greatest about mobile augmented reality in front of a packed room of game developers. Awesome.

2) Demos

Was it the first time AR demos (and more demos) were presented at a major Game Developer Conference ?

Not sure – but it certainly was my first…

3)  Mentions in talks

Was Blair’s AR talk an isolated case?

Perhaps as a main topic it was. However, for the first time, I heard significant mentions of AR in multiple other talks. Check them out:

A talk about pervasive gaming. I liked the title: “Beyond the Screen: Principles of Pervasive Game” by the folks from Pervasive Games. The played with the concept in which the whole world is the playground.  These games, are founded in the belief that doing things for real is pleasurable. Games that harness reality as a source book have interesting dynamics.  Everything in reality matters to the game, the game play emerges from coincidence, and real and artificial blur.

Jane McGonigal fantastic talk “Learning to Make Your Own Reality: How to Develop Games that Re-invent Life As We Know It” introduced a concept she calls programmable reality. Augmented reality is among the key technologies to enable that idea.

Camera Based Gaming: The Next Generation by Diarmid Campbell attracted the attention of a room packed with game developers. He talked about Sony’s upcoming camera games for the PlayStation 3 such as Eye Pet. Armed with the EyeToy camera, these games will have the power to extract amusing gestures from players. Not quite AR – but sure smells like it.

Stretching Beyond entertainmentAR made a surprise appearance in a high profile panel discussion feturing some of the gods of the gaming industry: (from right) Ed Fries , Lorne Lanning,Bing Gordon,Will Wright, and Peter Molyneux.
The best quote award went to Ed Fries for saying: “We need to take game mechanics and apply them to the real world”.


4) Meet ups

Dinners, lunches, business meetups, brainstorming sessions – haven’t had that many meetings with AR enthusiasts since ISMAR 2008…

5) The iPhone

When it comes to bringing AR to the masses – the iPhone is a category on its own . And it doesn’t even know it yet…why the iPhone changed everything


Will we ever get to see answers a, b, or c become a real headline?

Most likely in the next few years, if you ask me.

A (tiny) spark was ignited.

2008 Wrap Up: Top 10 Milestones in Augmented Reality

2008 was a great year for augmented reality.

This emerging technology is on a 15-plus-year-long journey from the lab and into the mainstream. With too many events to list, 2008 marks an important year in that quest.

Here is the countdown of the top 10 most important AR milestones of 2008:

10) Otellini’s CES keynote showcases AR technology

The year started with the largest consumer electronics show CES. Total Immersion’s demo had the attention of the entire consumer electronics community during Otellini’s (Intel CEO) 2008 keynote.

9) Video game gurus recognize AR as the future of gaming

My personal idol in the game industry, Will Wright, delivered the best augmented reality quote of the year. When describing AR as the way of the future for games, he explained:

Games could increase our awareness of our immediate environment, rather than distract us from it”.

Futurist Bruce Sterling made controversial statements about games in 2043 in front of a developer only audience in the Austin Game Developer Conference . Here is one statement that stood above all:

“What do the games of 2043 look like? “I think you would call [them]  ‘augmented reality’”

8) ISMAR 2008

The world’s most important augmented reality event, ISMAR 2008, was more significant than ever. It  demonstrated, above all, the level of maturity AR research has reached.

7) High end mobile AR devices hit the market

2008 gave rise to a flood of new AR-worthy mobile devices: iPhone 3G (see below), Android based G1, Itelco’s IDOL, HTC’s Touch HD, Blackberry’s Storm, Nokia N97… It also signaled the dawn of hands free AR with prototype glasses and contact lens (see Top 10 devices.)


6) iPhone and App store

It might not be the best AR device but it certainly has the most buzz. In 2008, the iPhone was highly sought after by game developers and researchers. The App store which amassed 10,000 apps in half a year, offers an instant distribution model for AR games. In 2008, the iPhone was the gadget to beat.

5) Native mobile tracking engines released

AR engines and tools did not stay behind in 2008 and delivered new tracking engines for the hottest platforms du jour. Some notable examples include ARToolkit for iPhone, AR in Flash, and Studierstube ES for mobile phones. See the entire collection of engines and tools.

4) AR apps win acclaim in major competitions

AR made headlines in 2008 with 2 applications that dribbled into top 50 lists: Tonchidot made the Crunch50 and Wikitude made the Android 50 finalists. Total Immersion won another award at NVISION ’08 for Best Application of Visual Computing.


3) AR games win awards

Ghostwire may or may not be the first AR game to win a game award. But, 2008 was certainly the first year were 6 out 0f top 10 games were selected as finalists in game awards such as Nokia’s Mobile Innovation Challenge.

One AR game did not win any awards this year, but was certainly an audience favorite (the most hits): Cyber Figure Alice – the first adult only AR game.

2) Major investments in AR research

Media Power made significant investments in augmented reality research organizations around the world. If the $5M for GA Tech GVU donnation and $2.7M for NZ HIT Lab donnation don’t speak for itself, the results are already showing:

1) Record commercial deals

The AR market picked up steam in 2008 with high visibility deals such as Total Immersion’s with Six Flags (“magically superimpose clown masks on riders” as their waiting for the Dark Night ride) and Metaio (book deals with publishers ArsEdition and Knowledge Media). Metaio also scored a lucrative advertising contract to promote the MINI.

What, in your opinion, was the most significant augmented reality milestone in 2008?

Whatever you do, don’t miss “If the Augmented Reality Industry Got a Report Card”

Subscribe (top right) to get the complete 2008 wrap up series.

Will Wright: Augmented Reality – Way Forward For Mobile Gaming

Captured in an interview with Pocket Gamer (Thanks!) in London via Kotaku:

“I can imagine mobile platforms evolving…in that they interact with the world around us in a way that changes our perceptions in a really interesting way”, said Wright, “Games could increase our awareness of our immediate environment, rather than distract us from it”.

Will Wright is by far my idol in the gaming world. He’s the smartest and the funniest, and he single handedly invents new game genres (SimCity, The Sims, Spore).

If you wonder why or how, give yourself 20 minutes off and watch his speech at TED


Is Will joining the Augmented Reality revolution?

(Can you say “mega idol”?…)