Diminishing reality: removing objects via augmented reality

I knew it. AR tech will definitely allow us to change colors of houses, add objects and, then, remove any we don’t want to see. Personally, I’m looking forward to being able to remove pervasive billboard advertisements on the street.


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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab dabbles with augmented reality

Seems Samsung is moving further into augmented reality, shown briefly in the video embedded below along with some other typical iPaddish features. Looks pretty good from where I’m standing—looking forward to seeing the price when it hits the shelves.

The Galaxy Tab was unveiled this Thursday and the fellas over at PC World already have a nice comparison chart for iPad vs. GT. The tablet runs Google’s Android operating system, version 2.2.

Here’s to hoping that the AR features will make Apple push extra hard to unveil the augmented reality software that I’m sure they’ve been working on for at least 3 years.

levelHead – Augmented reality puzzle game

Despite coming of age; this demo remains one of my favorite examples of augmented reality applications. This one uses your computers camera (or an external one, no mobile versions that I know of) to view a cube with markers attached to each side. Through naked eyes, it’s a paper cube with cryptic symbols—but with the aid of cameras and computer program; digital metamorphosis produces something entirely different.

If you still haven’t already succumbed to skipping my ramblings—go watch the demo of levelHead by Julian Oliver! (embedded video below.)

levelHead Video

levelHead v1.0, 3 cube speed-run (spoiler!) from Julian Oliver on Vimeo.

Main points of fascination

  • Physical object interaction; virtual worlds are dependent- and intertwined with physical objects (the cubes) in the environment. (Opposed to displaying virtual objects that have no connection to reality, which in my opinion is removing the “reality” out of “augmented.)
  • The cube, simple as it is, gives the impression of a gateway into an entirely different world.
  • Simplicity. With the environment shaded and lit, the flat white character is simple and adds a mysterious touch to the experience.
  • The cube is the controller as well as viewer; an intuitive solution for containing the game experience entirely within a simple paper cube.
  • The game is easy to replicate if desired; all you need is the right program and a paper cube with printouts.
  • Considering the Future: Remember Myst? I can easily envision an entire game in that style: purely contained within a paper cube, or even interchangeable shapes such as orbs or other simple ones for different environments (perhaps even a few in-game tools).

LevelHead information excerpt

Using tilt motions, the player moves a character through rooms that appear inside one of several cubes on a table. Each room is logically connected by a series of doors, though some doors lead nowhere (they are traps).

The player has 2 minutes to find the exit of each cube, leading the character into the entrance of the next.

Work is also being done to use invisible markers such that the cube itself appears entirely white to the naked eye.

Visit the project page of Julian Oliver’s levelHead

Thanks for an inspirational game concept, Julian!

Some of my augmented reality domains are up for grabs

I normally don’t sell anything in my posts here on Think Artificial. In fact, I’ve never done so nor allowed anyone else to. However, this is uniquely related to our topic of interest and may benefit some lucky readers.

I’m considering selling a few of my augmented reality domains; originally intended to be put to use, other projects have gotten in the way. It seems a shame to leave them parked. So, here they are.

The domain list

  • Augmented-Realities.net
    • AugmentedRealityMobile.net
    • AugmentedRealityMobile.org
  • AugmentedRealityOnline.com
  • AugmentingRealities.com
  • HandheldAugmentedReality.com
  • iPhoneAugmentedReality.net
  • MMORPGAugmentedReality.com


Make an offer

Contact me directly to make me an offer on any of these domains. I intend to keep prices fair. I want to see them go to deserving individuals and startups.

I reserve the right to accept or deny offers based on personal preference.

Correctly predicted: Major stores adopt augmented reality

Look into the all-seeing eye.The latest results are in for my augmented reality prediction series. I’m sure you’ll like this one. It came true. Oh yes.

Prediction & results

Predicted on August 28th, 2009: “In January, 2010 the first major store announces mobile AR support; possibly an app that indicates product locations in shelves, or one that shows information about products. There are rumors of at least 3 other stores preparing a launch.

  • Actual turn of events (written Feb 9th, 2010): Came true. To quote SFGate.com’s article on AR smart phone apps:

    Companies including Best Buy Inc., Jack in the Box and Puma are already advertising on Loopt, serving up coupons or banners when people near their stores.“[sic]


Prediction was originally published August 28th, 2009 in the post More predictions and a page to list them

Have any material related to this prediction/event? Post it in a comment below!

Regarding predictions: Mobile phones becoming powerful tool when shopping

It looks like the predicted adaptation of augmented reality by major stores could happen sooner than expected. The New York Times has a piece today titled Mobile Phones Become Essential Tool to Holiday Shopping. In it they discuss consumer use of phones in to shop online and offline; scanning barcodes, comparing prices and, upon finding lower ones, buying online instead of in the store.

Aware of the power of mobile phones, some offline retailers are using the technology to fight back.

If someone standing in one store scans a product with ShopSavvy, for example, a retailer down the street could deliver the shopper a coupon for the same item. A major retailer is already doing that in a few test cities, including Seattle, said Alexander Muse, co-founder of Big in Japan, the start-up that created ShopSavvy.

Other applications, including Yowza, use the GPS location information in cellphones to send shoppers coupons for stores within walking distance of where they’re standing.

“This empowers consumers to make a smart decision,” Mr. Muse said. “Already, retailers are starting to figure out, ‘I need to be in this game.’

It’s especially intriguing that GPS is an increasing part of the mainstream deal as its a key part of AR. One down.

Read the full article on the New York Times (you may need an account).

Google Goggles – Photo recognition in real-time for augmented reality info

Here’s something fresh from Google’s oven: the Google Goggles app for Android phones. Despite my let down when I realized they weren’t real Goggles, this is a mark of things getting interesting. Mobile AR apps are mutating and shifting into various forms and possibilities of the tech are certainly starting to form a big picture in the heads of developers. It’s here to stay allright.

The image recognition tech sounds exciting—image search and recognition in real time! I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google and Apple go heads on in a bloodsport match as they race towards the AR advertising market (incidentally bringing with them a wave of exciting apps and even AR goggle interfaces. Real ones.).

But, it’s best to let the video do the talking (read: I’m lazy). Here’s Google Goggles.


If you’re having trouble seeing the video, either visit the ThinkArtificial.org post or go directly to YouTube.

Layar’s augmented reality to go 3D in November [Videos]

The now famed Layar announced yesterday that it’s planning a major addition to their augmented reality platform: an ability to view 3D objects, animation and place 3D tags on buildings, etc. The addition is scheduled to be released in November, allowing 500+ developers to play with it through API.

Layar's application showing correctly oriented 3D text placed on a building

Looks like Layar is going to keep their lead in the field; from their press release:

Layar 3D makes use of OpenGL, the accelerometer, the GPS and the compass of the phone. Developers can place 3D objects in their content layers based on coordinates. Objects can be optimized in size and orientation to create an immersive and realistic experience. The 3D capabilities support live downloading and rendering of 3D objects. Actions such as “open link” or “play music” can be assigned to 3D objects. [Press release]

Looking forward to early results from the minds of their developers.

Embedded videos after the jump

More predictions and a new page to list them

Look into the all seeing eye: Icon for a correct prediction An icon for a prediction whose outcome is yet to be seen An icon for a correct prediction

Correct prediction

Undetermined

Wrong prediction

Today we’re launching a special page to store past and present predictions regarding future technology developments. At the moment all are in the area of augmented reality. Below is a list of new predictions; the complete list can be found on the new Predictions page. The page can also be accessed through its link in Think Artificial’s header-menu.

What do you predict? =)

Predictions

Below are Think Artificial’s predictions on cutting-edge technologies.

Symbols on their right-hand side indicate status.

Look into the all seeing eye: Icon for a correct prediction An icon for a prediction whose outcome is yet to be seen An icon for a correct prediction

Correct prediction

Undetermined

Wrong prediction


Augmented reality predictions

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live video-stream of a real-world environment whose elements are supplemented with-, or augmented by computer-generated imagery. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in meaningful context with environmental elements. [Definition by Hrafn Th. Thórisson. Donated to Wikipedia's Augmented Reality article on August 26th, 2009]

The debut of first public consumer augmented reality application

Look into the all-seeing eye.

  1. Prediction on August 13th, 2008: Early 2009, A public consumer augmented reality (AR) Maps application will debut. Google will introduce a Maps-based AR application; possibly one that displays landmark-labels.
  2. Actual event: The Wikitude AR Travel App debuted in October 2008. It’s an AR maps application that displays hovering labels over buildings and landmarks when you point your phone at them. Created by independent developers. It runs on Google Android phones.
  3. Where prediction appeared: Augmented reality app running on iPhone

Official Apple iPhone support for augmented reality

Look into the all-seeing eye.

  1. Prediction on July 13, 2009: Before September 15th 2009, Apple will release initial support to iPhone augmented reality apps—OR—Apple will announce an extension to the the iPhone SDK, specifically intended for augmented reality app development.
  2. Actual turn of events: Announced 11 days after this prediction; Apple’s iPhone OS 3.1 supports augmented reality applications; expected release is in September (as predicted).
  3. Where prediction appeared: Augmented reality on iPhone delayed, but hardly prevented

Year 2009

Initial iPhone development and app popularity

Look into the all-seeing eye.

  1. Prediction on August 28th, 2009: In October 2009 many developers are reported working on augmented reality apps for iPhone. This is partially due to the success of 5 wildly popular apps in the iPhone App Store.
  2. Actual turn of events: Came true. This Google News timeline for 2009 clearly shows that October was the peak in augmented reality reports. In all fairness it can be debated what “wildly popular” means, but the following were referenced in bundles: Layar, Wikitude, Nearest Tube, Cyclopedia & Robotvision. When this is written, now in early December, the app store is absolutely crawling with AR apps.
  3. Where prediction appeared: More predictions and a page to list them


Year 2010

Rise of serious augmented reality apps

Look into the all-seeing eye: This is a prediction whose outcome is yet to be seen.

  1. Prediction on August 28th, 2009: In January, 2010 interest in fluff (useless, silly) applications is declining. Much more powerful, serious AR apps are on the rise.
  2. Where prediction appeared: More predictions and a page to list them


Major stores adopt augmented reality

Look into the all-seeing eye.

  1. Prediction on August 28th, 2009: In January, 2010 the first major store announces mobile AR support; possibly an app that indicates product locations in shelves, or one that shows information about products. There are rumors of at least 3 other stores preparing a launch.
  2. Actual turn of events (written Feb 9th, 2010): Came true. To quote SFGate.com’s article on AR smart phone apps (Jan 2010):

    Companies including Best Buy Inc., Jack in the Box and Puma are already advertising on Loopt, serving up coupons or banners when people near their stores.“[sic]

  3. Where prediction appeared: More predictions and a page to list them


Open-source augmented reality platform

Look into the all-seeing eye.

  1. Prediction on August 28th, 2009: Mid April, 2010 an important open source AR platform standard is introduced.
  2. Actual turn of events (written Dec 8th, 2011): Came true—only it was introduced not in mid April, but in June. Qualcomm announced its vision-based augmented reality platform at Uplinq 2010. To quote TechCrunch’s article on the subject: At Qualcomm’s recent Uplinq conference, they announced their plans to release a free Vision-based AR platform to mobile developers.” Initially developed for Android, their AR SDK is now available for iOS devices as well, royalty-free and community driven.
  3. Where prediction appeared: More predictions and a page to list them


Augmented reality eyewear & head mounted displays

Look into the all-seeing eye: This is a prediction whose outcome is yet to be seen.

  1. Prediction on August 28th, 2009: Early May, 2010 the first specs specifically designed for mainstream, mobile AR are announced. Use of eyewear-screens (head-mounted displays, AR glasses) increasingly popular among young and young adults.
  2. Where prediction appeared: More predictions and a page to list them


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