Sony moves to augment reality with EyePet

Sony EyePet
Sony’s planning on making a splash in the augmented reality world. At the Games Conference in Liepzig, Germany they showcased the EyePet, a game set to hit the stores in late 2009, which uses the PlayStation Eye camera to allow users to interact with a small monkey-like-thing onscreen (set to explode from cuteness). The system also enables you to draw items on real paper which then pop out of it and turn into 3D objects for the monkey to interact with. In the promotional video, embedded below, they show a sketch of a car turning into a 3D vehicle controllable with a PS joystick.

I salute Sony for moving into the realm of augmented reality. Like I was discussing recently, we’re on the verge of an augmented reality craze—given that the powers that be jump on the opportunities offered by our latest technologies.

Origins of the sketch-idea

The extent of the image recognition system is unknown to me, but it made me remember an older tech-demo that made it’s way around the blogosphere last year; a series of prototype sketching games, created by Anton Mikhailov. The one shown in the video below allows you to draw a lunar lander on paper which is then turned into a real lunar lander game. Apparently Anton’s demos made it into a product!

We need augmented reality glasses

While the EyePet is cute and looks really cool for a few minutes, I can’t help but feel that there’s not much more to be seen. Sure, kids never get tired of virtual pets and their immortality saves you from flushing things down the toilet. But this pet you can’t take with you anywhere, it’s confined to your screen and it can’t possibly be able to interact with but a handful of objects. In my honest opinion, the Eye-cam idea has been bonked from the start. The EyeToy made you wave your hands …. and that’s it. This time you can (thankfully) do more than wave your hands, but to what extent? Lift, push and pull? Sounds like too little too late, considering it’ll be competing for consumer attention in a world where we can do that using only our minds.

The thing missing from this picture are augmented- or virtual reality glasses. That’s something with an edge. Say, for example, making Doom3 monsters not emerge from dark corners on screen but out from behind your couch. They certainly have the computing power for it, in their little black PS3 boxes.

Screenshot from Doom3

I remain fairly certain that the Eye-cam idea won’t go very far, and that the mobile industry will prevail with augmented reality games and applications using phone cameras.

Links & References


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5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. You are so right about this!
    Sony has taken augmented reality to a new level; this kind of augmented reality on a computer screen is cool – but it’s like a genie stuck in a lamp.
    Who’s going to rub the lamp and let the genie outdoors?

    To get a sense on who’s trying, start with a collection of the best of the best in augmented reality as covered in my blog at http://www.gamesalfresco.com.

  2. Those AR glasses you want are real and have been since the 80s invented by that mad genius Steve Mann. Go check out eyetap.org to see his latest versions and search for eyetap on youtube to see the amazing demos.

  3. @Ori Inbar
    You’ve got some nice resources there. I’ll be reading.

    @Haig S.
    They’re real alright, in many types, shapes and sizes and all over labs and workplaces across the globe. But they’re still expensive and none have made it into popular public products. That’s what we want and need.

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