Augmented reality (AR) is a view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with  virtual computer-generated imagery . AR, originally coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. This post will explore the applications and possibilities of such a (AR) reality.

Augmented Reality

The internet is now going to be smeared all over everything, everywhere you go information  is turned inside out and in the very near future it’ll be worse.  Augmented Reality is in some ways just another version of the web; a web applied, through novel interfaces.

How AR works

Emerging AR applications use two basic approaches:

In one, users hold up a specially coded sheet (which they can print) in front of a webcam or video camera and computer monitor.

Digital encoding is translated and displayed in a moving, 3D holographic form that can be rotated and otherwise manipulated.

The second, and perhaps hotter, way uses an iPhone 3GS, Google Android or similar new smart device to view the physical environment, say a city street or subway station.

Multiple layers of information are then overlaid on the phone’s screen, providing specific information about everything from available real estate, nearby bars and restaurants – even the identity and background of passersby.

augmented reality

Current uses of AR

1. Magazine cover/tech explainer: Popular Science and GE

Last month, PopSci and partner GE claimed to publish the first interactive 3D cover magazine cover. Three windmills pop off the page, build themselves and start twirling.

2. Interactive card and Website: Topps

Every kid’s dream – favorite stars come to life right on the card! Collector giant Topps does just that, using AR on select Topps 2009 baseball cards. Stars pitch, field and bat in 3D – like a mini video game on your desk.

3. e-tail: Zugara

For all its convenience, online clothes shopping frustrates in one key area: seeing how merchandise looks being worn. Similarly, online merchants fret about low browser/buyer ratios.

Enter online retailer Zugara, whose “Webcam Social Shopper” app lets users select clothes, print a special ”marker” app and “hold” up articles of clothing up in front of themselves as it tracks their movements.

I found a website that has 35 AR examples. I think these examples which I have given can be used in SA, especially since the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held here.

Future uses

In the near future marketers may consider using AR to promote a new product via an interactive, web-based AR application. In the medical field AR may assist in complex tasks such as surgery.

For example, labels can be displayed on parts of a system to clarify operating instructions for a mechanic who is performing maintenance on the system.  A doctor could observe the fetus inside the mother’s womb. This is to be characterised as Mixed reality.

In the architecture industry AR can augment be employed to virtually resurrect destroyed historic buildings as well as simulate planned construction projects.

With AR, users can rebuild ruins, buildings, or even landscapes as they previously existed. Combined with a wireless network, the amount of data displayed is limitless.

The effectiveness of navigation devices and enhance for the purpose of maintaining industrial plants for a variety of applications. These types of devices can also be useful for airplane pilots, too.

AR can be applied to military and emergency services as wearable systems to provide information such as instructions, maps, enemy locations, and fire cells. In the fields of hydrology, ecology, and geology, AR can be used to display an interactive analysis of terrain characteristics.

Game Changer

AR Game Changer

Game Changer

In centuries past, the ability to conjure moving, talking 3D objects and people in thin air was exactly the sort of showboating sure to get you named court magician.

Now AR allows you to conjure similar dazzling and useful results, with decidedly less risk.

The notion of layering digital images and sounds is like creating a physical world in a new computer-enhanced experience.

All of this is a complete game changer for any industry, 3D technology will capitalise on everything. What future holds is unknown but extremely exciting… keep your eyes and ears open for things happening in the new media era.  This is futureye  signing out.

Post updated and corrected on the 9th of Nov 2009

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Comments
  1. futureye says:

    How journalists can use augmented reality.

    Augmented reality and journalism are made for each other. Journalism gathers information about the world around us.

    Thanks to augmented reality, this information can be displayed where it got picked up – which is especially interesting for event reporting.

    But there are many more possibilities. So, having looked at what augmented reality applications are available, let’s look at how it can be used in journalism.

    The living magazine
    Augmented reality found a mass market in smartphones last year, enabling users to see additional layers of data or 3D objects when they view normal objects through smartphones or webcams.

    It is no surprise, therefore, that at the end of 2009 one magazine was making a big fuzz about the subject: Esquire.

    The men’s magazine, published in the US by the Hearst Corporation, featured an augmented reality cover, in which Robert Downey Jr introduced the December issue.

    Holding the issue in front of a webcam and moving it around a bit you could make changes on the screen, like having a model changing clothes as you turn the page, or listening to actor Gillian Jacobs telling a joke.

    You are right, the whole thing was kind of a ridiculous PR stunt, and nobody really needed it; on other hand new technology often is a bit clumsy.

    However, the idea of a living magazine as the London based agency Moving Brands has developed it, makes perfectly sense (watch their video here).

    If you have a closer look for example at the animation that the Munich company Metaio made for a toy company catalogue, you get an idea of what is possible.

    Yes, Robert Downey Jr was just the beginning: more actors and wannabes are likely be filmed in front of a green screen to be featured as exclusive add-ons. Just think of how the tabloids will use the technology.

    But that is just a start.

    Sports journalism & augmented reality
    There is an exciting potential for augmented reality in live events such as sport. Augmented Planet recently summed up several possibilities for that field: games such as cricket or football can be overlaid with statistical information that is usually delivered by commentators.

    In the future, you might prefer to watch a game on your smartphone featuring the blogposts of a sports reporter (as a non-sports person who has to keep up with an Arsenal fan in her private life, I might say the Guardian sports editors do an excellent job that even takes me along).

    Watching a game on your smartphone might even become as attractive as watching it on the TV.

    You can do it while at work or looking after kids, and catch up with the stats whenever you feel like it, as in this video featuring an augmented baseball game – go to 3 minutes if you want to jump directly to watch the prototype.

    Event reporting & augmented reality
    Augmented reality might also be relevant if at big political events such as the G20, where it could deliver information in real time, explaining the role of key figures as they appear.

    The technology could also enrich a serious investigation by making information tangible. Recently, Sunlight Labs launched an augmented reality application showing you where the US government’s economic recovery funding went.

    Imagine driving through the UK, pointing your mobile somewhere, and get updates about where MPs’ expenses were spent. See what I mean? And as London mayor Boris Johnson is launching a website hosting extensive data about the city today the material is already there.

    Furthermore, news organisations’ archives could be used to display information about the world around readers. T

    he New York Times is looking into augmented reality to deliver its restaurant reviews, for example.

    And local news organisations might be able to offer applications showing the biggest news stories of the past, allowing users to experience the past in a whole new way.

    Summary
    In summary, one can say that augmented reality will enrich journalism.

    It can provide new opportunities for distributing stories; it makes news tangible for readers in a very new and exciting way; and last but not least advertising people love it, too.

    Hopefully its potential will be picked up by news organisations before other players get there first.

    By http://www.guardian.co.uk

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