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.
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
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.
Prediction: Apple releases initial support to iPhone augmented reality apps before September 15th, 2009. Actual: Announced 11 days after the prediction; Apple’s iPhone OS 3.1 supports augmented reality applications; expected release is in September (as predicted).
Only eleven days after the prediction news began rushing in; among many others reporting, MacRumors said on July 24th 2009:
The L.A. Times reports that Apple will begin allowing developers access to the tools they need to produce augmented reality applications starting with upcoming iPhone OS 3.1. [So far, AR applications] have used unpublished APIs which prevent them from being allowed on the App Store. Apple, however, told one developer that the tools necessary would become available with iPhone 3.1. [MacRumors]
In short, Apple is releasing their initial support to augmented reality applications. The Los Angeles Times posted the article that broke news that Apple told developers of the Nearest Tube AR train finder (Acrossair) that augmented reality apps will be allowed in the iPhone App Store in September, as predicted… let’s see if it turns out to be September 15th
Recently there’s been an onrush of news and Web searches for augmented reality (AR), for the fist time surpassing interest in its cousin, virtual reality. Think Artificial’s article on a prototype AR toolkit for the iPhone saw a 224% visitor increase and was cited in a CNET News article.
Several AR apps hit the market and the now-famed Dutch augmented reality Web (and browser) caught more media attention than anyone expected. But augmented reality is barred from the optimal mobile device: the iPhone’s own development suite doesn’t allow access to vital components.
Finally. An augmented reality application of superb execution. Layar is a Google Android OS application and an iPhone 3G S version on its way. Publicly announced on June 14th by Dutch company SPRXMobile. Many AR apps have hit the scene since Wikitude AR Travel Guide first appeared in November 2008—but Layar ups the stakes by being able to hide and show different types of information.
The US Postal Service has begun using a pretty neat online augmented reality (AR) tool. Developed by AKQA/DC, the Virtual Box Simulator is a marker-based AR applet that enables you to use a webcam to find a box size and shape that fits a shipment item.
Stand inside the AlloSphere—a giant metallic sphere that displays real live images of scientific data. In the video below JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, creator of the sphere, demos a flythrough his colleagues brain. Simply awesome. See video below.
For an instant “aha” in conversation with non-scientists, I often use science as an example area that benefits from improved artificial creativity. The mention of medicine does especial wonders to exercise people’s often-skewed ideas about intelligent machines.
Earlier this month reports of a “robot scientist” made their rounds telling of a robotized lab and AI system that generated its own hypothesis, ran experiments to test them and with the process “discovered new functions for a number of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aka brewer’s yeast.” The robot, called Adam (cute), is being developed by Aberystwyth University and the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Kweekies is a new augmented reality game that’s tuned to hit iPhones, Nokia Smartphones and Windows Mobile sometime this summer.
Created by int13 the game is marker based (meaning that the software uses pattern on a paper to know how the world is oriented) and features some cute cuddly Pokémon-styled creatures that you train and control (to fight). See the embedded videos below.
Love of the AR concept leaves me blind to shortcomings, but my girlfriend stayed vigilant and posed an observation: How does AR enhance this particular game? And she’s spot on.
Other than providing a flat surface, the real, physical environment plays no part at all in Kweekies’ gameplay. Making that surface virtual would provide more or less the same experience and remove the need to lug around a fragile piece of paper with inkblots on it (can it even be folded without producing errors?). But it does look cool, I’ll give it that. The portal concept and design is nice even though it looks like it’s just bling. Maybe Valve could do something functional there.
Is augmented reality in virtual reality’s footsteps?
This does beg the question whether primitive AR implementations will cause people to write them off as ‘cool… but pointless‘, thereby slowing down AR development. After all, that happened to virtual reality in the 1990′s: creating viable consumer products was impossible but we still made some primitive demos that spread hype like a nuclear shockwave. Time passed. The only things that remained exciting were machines with sky-high pricetags that even game arcades could hardly afford. Public demand decreased and VR R&D crawled out of sight and into the shadowy corners of labs, hospitals, military bases. By the time we had everything to make killer consumer products (ca. 2005)—people had lost all interest.
But maybe the masses will love all AR applications regardless? They’re cool, there will be others like Wikitude that’ll do practical stuff. One of the most popular iPhone games is a ‘yo momma’ joke generator. So who knows?