Saturday, 12 February 2011

♔ The Evolution of Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified to enhance one’s current perception of reality.  For any of you (luddites) who still haven't seen some of the things brands can do using AR, we've compiled a few examples below.  

The first example isn't really AR at all. It is however the first example of mixed/ augmented reality in the midst of an otherwise formally conventional feature film, but also in relation to the recent proliferation of text treatments in motion graphics work.  The overlaying of text on screen in this scene from David Fincher's Fight Club bears an uncanny relationship to recent experiments with information graphics in augmented reality research. It also offers a clever and self-reflexive meta-commentary on the conventions of product-placement that is increasingly common in contemporary feature films.  (See below)

[ Fight Club Ikea Catalogue Scene ]

Transformers - We Are Autobots AR
Augmented Reality (AR) Promotional used to build excitement around the launch of the latest Transformers movie. It was the first good example I’ve seen where facial tracking technology is mixed with Augmented Reality to enhance the experience.

Mattel: Avatar Toys
Toy maker Mattel’s solid AR example that got some serious hype with the launch of Avatar.  It can be used with Mattel products or as a product itself, and as the technology becomes more advanced, we’ll be able to have toys like this interact in a very “game like” way - making them even more appealing.

Adidas Originals Shoe AR
This Augmented Reality Shoe App provides one of the most detailed AR models while combining a lot of functionality and interactivity into the app. However, the downside is it’s so detailed that it seems to be a little slow (just sayin’) in the gaming area.

Stella Artois Le Bar Guide
Stella’s Augmented Reality App blends real world places with directions, promotions, and other useful features. 

GE’s Smart Grid AR
As featured on the front cover of Popular Science magazine in early 2009, this robust app is responsible for sparking the big push from brands and agencies into Augmented Reality last year.

Rayban Virtual Mirror
Try on the entire range of Rayban sunglasses from your very own computer. Like the Transformers AR app, it works with some facial recognition.  The app maps key points of your face then utilizes these as the directional markers to track and size the sunglasses perfectly on your face.  Perfect to enhance sales and introduce new product lines.  It’s even tied into an e-Commerce application.  Smart.

This Augmented Reality Example was one of the first to allow you to take an AR model in your hands, place it on your desktop and then control the car from the keyboard and webcam while you drive it around your desk!  The AR app also allowed you to save out the graphic you created and share with your friends on Facebook & Twitter.  It’s really the BMW of AR apps. Go figure.

Although the correct description "mobile markerless tracking algorithm optimized for dual-core chips" sounds very complex, the demo shows how easy life can be with AR.

The Future - AR 2.0
Currently in the prototype stages, this technology demo by researchers at the University of  Tokyo are using ultrasound technology to give holograms a solid feel. Sensors detect when you’re touching the hologram making the whole experience truly interactive. 

2011 Mobile World Congress MWC Teaser 
Here is a taste of what we’ll be seeing at this 2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC). This video demos the world`s first integrated markerless 3D object tracking on a smartphone. Or, to you and me, it shows us where Augmented Reality is heading: robust, smooth and useful everyday experiences. 

Iron Man 2 Augmented Experience 
Much like the Trasformers example, users can use their webcams to get suited up with either an Iron Man or War Machine helmet, as well as take a look at what the HUD (heads up display) would look like through Iron Man or War Machine’s perspectives.

Microsoft Live Labs
Blaise Aguera y Arcas TED Talk on Augmented Reality (AR) Maps.

Have examples of great AR you'd like to showcase?  When we say great, we mean at the level of say a North Kingdom or Total Immersion.  Still not sure?  Take a moment and check out Total Immersions Reel on their website.  Send examples to