One of the more interesting technologies Sony (SNE) revealed at this year’s E3 trade show was an augmented reality book experience called Wonderbook. The idea is to combine the motion sensing capabilities of the PlayStation Move with a specially designed augmented reality book to create an immersive and interactive digital book experience. Targeted mostly at children, Sony announced on its PlayStation Blog that the first Wonderbook will be J.K. Rowling’s Book of Spells. The digital book/game will allow players to bring spells to life on the Wonderbook’s flippable pages. The $79.99 bundle is the latest PlayStation 3 product to extend the console’s reach beyond traditional gaming and on-demand entertainment. Each bundle includes a PlayStation Move controller, PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Book of Spells, the augmented reality Wonderbook and will hit U.S. stores on November 13th. Check out the tour of Wonderbook: Book of Spells in the video below. More →
Google unveiled “Project Glass” earlier this week, an undertaking that it hopes will bring eyewear equipped with heads-up display technology to the masses. The new glasses currently in development include an integrated transparent display that projects images and data in the wearer’s field of vision. HUD technology such as this could allow users to pair Google’s glasses with a smartphone and view data while the handset remains tucked away, or they could operate as a standalone product with an integrated chipset and embedded flash memory. The project has stirred up a healthy amount of intrigue within the media and among consumers, and Google’s competition has apparently taken note. More →
During the SIGGRAPH 2011 conference in Vancouver this week, a team comprised of researchers from various universities showed off a demo during a Microsoft Research presentation of how the Kinect Xbox 360 accessory can be used in the real world to create real-time dynamic 3D models. The project, dubbed “KinectFusion,” shows off the Kinect’s ability to render 3D models of an entire room nearly instantly as one researcher pans the accessory around. After the device has scanned the entire area, KinectFusion is capable of creating a 3D texture-mapped model of the entire room using a Kinect RGB image. The technology could be used to create highly immersive augmented reality games or, as TechNet points out, for architectural purposes on a budget. Hit the read link to see a video of KinectFusion in action. More →
Layar, the company behind the popular augmented reality app for the iPhone and Android smartphones, announced on Monday that Layar 5.0 is available. The latest iteration allows users to share screen shots — of anything they view through the application — through Facebook or Twitter. Layar 5.0 also provides new animation capabilities, which means some layer content can come to life in 3D form. Coincidentally, we were using Layar this weekend while walking around a new town, and while we find it much easier to simply use a search engine to find local points of interest — because the Layar browser didn’t always return accurate results — we applaud Layar’s efforts to turn local search into an interactive tool that can provide a fun and unique experience. The app is free and is available in both the Android Market and iTunes App Store now, and Layar says that a new Symbian version with the updated features is in the works. More →
A team of German developers is doing some pretty interesting work with Kinect thanks to the OpenNI open source framework, which allows programmers to build applications utilizing the technology surrounding Microsoft’s Kinect sensor. The team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich has created an augmented reality app dubbed Magic Mirror that allows a user to view a simulated x-ray of his or her skeleton. Using a CT scan from an anonymous patient, the app tracks the user’s motions along the X, Y and Z axes with a Kinect sensor. It then adjusts the view of the scan with each movement, resulting in an impressive interactive x-ray that appears to display the user’s skeleton. Hit the break for a video demonstration and an explanation of how the application works. More →
It seems that an AR-like capability within Mobile Safari has gone pretty much unnoticed (or at least unimplemented by a third party) until now. Occipital, a company that has developed a panoramic photo iPhone app, has come across the new feature in Safari for iOS 4.2 devices, and it’s related to the gyroscope. If you have an iOS device with a gyropscope (iPhone 4, latest iPod touch) you can try a live demo for yourself. It’s ridiculously impressive, and by using the gryoscope and a panorama image, you can deliver an augmented reality type of experience right in the Web browser itself. Hit up http://occip.it/pt3dmqna from your iOS browser directly to check out the demo.
Could there possibly be a better way to introduce the world to an app that locates sex offenders? Antoine Dodson, who inadvertently earned a place in the Web video hall of fame as a result of the Internet phenomenon Bed Intruder Song, does his best to keep America’s children safe by introducing the world to Sex Offender Tracker. The mobile app makes users aware of local sex offenders using a nifty augmented reality interface that… Seriously, just hit the jump for the video and let Antoine tell you how it works. More →
Sure it looks a bit odd in the image above, but don’t be fooled — Layar’s preview of its updated AR interface is as cool as the other side of the pillow. What’s better than augmented reality? 3D augmented reality, of course. We told you about Layar’s AR browser for Android back in August and since then, it looks like the Layar team has really kicked things up a notch. This morning, Layar released three new videos that preview its new 3D augmented reality browser that is currently on display at the Picnic Conference in the Netherlands. As far as how Layar has implemented 3D objects in its browser, here’s a description straight from the horse’s mouth:
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.
Layar plans to launch its 3D AR product in November as part of its version 3.0 update and to put it mildly, we can’t wait. Hit the jump for the preview videos.
Augmented Reality is quickly becoming a hot ticket item in the mobile world and we’ve seen various nifty applications of the technology previewed recently. The key of course, is finding useful and valuable ways to apply AR concepts to mobile devices. Today, a preview of another infinitely useful AR app is making the rounds and we’re digging it big time. While the app name isn’t overly creative — Augmented Traffic Views — the application itself is fantastic. Built for the Android platform, Augmented Traffic Views combines a layer of AR above the device’s camera view with live traffic camera images and traffic data. Simply hold the Android handset up and the AR layer displays all available traffic camera points in the direction you’re looking. Tap one to see the most current available image taken by the cam. The app also packs some added features, such as an automated predictive tracking mode that will pop up traffic cam images ahead while you’re driving. Brilliant. Potentially dangerous, but brilliant. For the time being, Toronto is the only city covered by the app and there’s no word on when it might be available to the public. Hit the jump for the video and keep your fingers crossed that the developer decides to bring his work stateside to hit some major US metro areas as well.
Ok, seriously… Layar kicks ass. Big time. Sure you look ridiculous swinging your phone around to see which new icons jump onto the screen, but it’s totally worth it. For those who haven’t yet heard of Layar, here’s how it works: Using the camera on your Android handset, Layar displays the world around you with an added layer of location-based content on top. So if you search Google or Yelp for a restaurant, the Layar browser will plot results in a 3D layer above the live video displayed on your screen from your camera. But it gets better. Layar is actually a platform more than anything else, so a number of third-party developers have jumped on board to provide their own layers (or Layars). Currently available content includes Flickr, Wikipedia, Yelp, Google local search, Qype, Britekite, Twitter and more. With Layar’s recent announcement, the augmented reality browser is now available globally on the Android OS — it even ships pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands. What’s more, the company is already eying the iPhone 3GS and plans to have its browser ready for the handset some time next year. In the meantime, Android users need to hit the Android Market ASAP to snag Layar. Hit the jump for a pair of demo videos.