If you haven’t experienced augmented reality, it’s the overlaying of computer-generated imagery onto a real-world view as seen through a smartphone or tablet camera. The applications are myriad, from showing a video when the camera sees a billboard poster to providing information about the artist when looking at a painting.
Aurasma’s augmented reality app is available for both iOS and Android, and once loaded on your smartphone, you can start looking for enhanced adverts, which Aurasma call “Auras“. These have additional content which you can only see through your phone. Auras can also be created for real locations and while most of the Auras add animals or cars into the scene, they can also be used to put tourist information in the view.
In the last of my interviews from Gadget Show Live, I chat to Tamara from Aurasma, who told me more about Aurasma and Auras.
There’s no doubt that augmented reality (AR) is hot area at the moment, with several exhibitors at Gadget Show Live showing off products and software. Metaio is one such company and it provides AR software for Vuzix‘s high-tech glasses.
Sascha Kiener from Metaio gave me an impressive demonstration of the their product. I put on a pair of glasses and when I was shown a picture of a T-Rex, a 3D image of the dinosaur appeared out of the picture. There didn’t seem to be anything special about the dinosaur picture and the illusion worked regardless of the orientation of the picture, so you could turn the picture to turn the dinosaur. All very clever.
In the interview, Sascha talks to me about augmented reality and some of the prospects for the future.
Criticism and mockery of Google’s newly announced Project Glass – the Internet giant’s recent foray into tech in the form of augmented reality eye glasses – flourished almost as soon as the announcement was made.
At this point, taking shots at Google and anything they do is sport, so the eruption of criticism over Project Glass has made getting a quality analysis of this new future-product a bit daunting. However, PCWorld has put together a fairly level-headed piece on the pros and cons of Google’s “hybrid glasses that act as a miniaturized smartphone wired with hands-free access to a micro display, cameras, microphone, Web browser, and speech recognition” – minus the hysteria and outrage I’ve been seeing across the Web over the past couple of days.
Fodder on these new augmented reality glasses has mainly been aimed at the video Google released to show the new glasses in action:
It’s hard to admit that doesn’t look pretty neat. However, the industry as a whole has pegged Google as a tech-company-turned-advertising-company because of their knack for gathering data and putting ads in front of every user at every possible opportunity. With that in mind, here is probably a more realistic look at what Project Glass will end up looking like:
I mean – c’mon. It’s Google. It would be weird to NOT see ads.
I’m sure that this will be all over the Interweb very shortly, if it isn’t already. Absolutely fantastic and really shows off the possibilities of augmented reality.
Apparently it’s test footage from an upcoming game called Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner. I’d almost buy an iPod Touch just for this.
Update: I’ve been thinking about this overnight and actually, while it’s still amazingly cool, it’s not really that good a demonstration of augmented reality. The Manhattan skyline is only the background to the action and doesn’t appear to take part in the game itself. What would be very clever would be if the TIE fights could fly behind the buildings, but I don’t think that they do, unless someone has better eyesight than me.