Weekly Linkfest

Anyone is coming to WARM 2010?
The augmented reality society is coming out of its winter hibernation, and we have quite a few links to AR related stories this week:
And this week's video is the perfect example of AR being misused. A couple of young Dutch guys calling themselves "Teletekst Is Dood" (teletext is dead) assisted by the Layar browser have terrorized non-suspecting citizens (and their neighbors) whose only fault was to tweet about banal things. Yeah, I guess you can call it art:

Teletekst is dood are a bunch of Layars from David Veneman on Vimeo.

Have a nice week (but be careful about who is reading your boring tweets)!

Augmented Reality? That's Why!

The following clip is so beautiful, I couldn't stop myself from posting it over here, even though Tom already wrote a post about it at Games Alfresco.

More details on phedhex's blog.

Weekly Linkfest

Another week, another linkfest:
We have a double feature for our weekly video. The next two clips bring AR to the big screen. The very big screen. First is Hungry Hungry Eat Head, an art installation commissioned by City of Edinburgh Council (more info, via Wooster Collective):

Hungry Hungry Eat Head from Bren O'Callaghan on Vimeo.

and next is another art installation called "A Someone Else's Problem Field" commissioned for the Next Wave Festivals, which is mostly strange (more info):

That's it, have a nice week!

Social Commons for the Physical World Platform

Tish Shute holds such great interviews for UgoTrade, that it should be considered a crime not to read them if you are an augmented reality fan or professional. Her last interview with Anselm Hook is especially interesting and engaging.

However, Tish's pieces are usually quite long, and may be intimidating. In order to lure you into reading the whole interview with Hook, here are a few hand picked quotes:

Even things like Google Maps or mapping systems we think are so great are really just kind of almost an aspect of a hyper-local view. You actually don’t really care what is happening 10 blocks away or 100 blocks away. If you could satisfy those same interests and needs within a single block, one block away, you would probably be really happy. You really just want to satisfy needs and interests, find ways to contribute, or get yourself fed, or whatever it is you want. And AR seemed to be the playground to really explore the human condition.

There is a real risk of our augmented reality world being owned by interests which are not our own. There is a real question of when you hold up that AR goggle, what are you going to see? Are you going to see corporate advertising? Are you going to see your friends’ comments or criticisms? It is going to be an Iran or a democracy, right? It is unclear.

We, as a community, need to assert an ownership, kind of a commons, over how computers will translate what they see to information that we perceive.

As we move towards a physical internet where there’s no clicking and there’s no interface and the computer’s just telling you what it thinks you’re looking at, translating, you know, an image of a billboard to the name of the rock star who’s on that billboard, or translating the list of ingredients on a can of soup to the source outlets where it thinks that, those ingredients came from. When you have that kind of automated mediation, the question of trust definitely arises.

Search needs to be inverted, trust filters need to be built. We need to democratically own our data institutions. We don’t right now. That will be more of a concern, especially with AR.

Again, this is a very concentrated version of a most excellent interview. The ultimate augmented reality experience will be much different from today's web. Instead of entering a search string and getting 10 results as possible matches, we will look at the world, and for each physical item we will get the first "I'm feeling lucky" result, as Google has determined for us.

If a new data provider finds it very challenging getting into the Google's organic results these days, imagine how hard it would be for such a provider to win the first and only spot in tomorrow's augmented search results. That's assuming Google will keep playing fair and show results by how well they fit the search query (let's just assume they are currently playing fair).

On the other hand, democratizing the outernet's search engine may result with increased spam results. You may look at the Venus of Milo through your AR goggles, and get ads about prolonging your manhood. Wikipedia successfully fight spammers and hooligans. But, is there another Wikipedia like enterprise? Can the whole outernet be moderated by a limited number of industrious editors?

I don't have an answer for any of those questions, but it seems to me that's those are the most exciting and important problems we can try and tackle in the coming year. Tish advances the idea of a federated Google Wave-based infrastructure for AR. What do you think?

Augmented Reality, Newspapers' Last Best Hope?

We all know the future looks quite bleak for newspapers and journals. Many publications have already fallen victims to the predatory internet with its free, easily accessible and real time reports. Some have speculated that newspapers must either over-specialize or abandon their offline presence in order to survive the coming decade.

However, there's another option - forming a merger between an online and an offline presence, via augmented reality. We've already seen Esquire toying with such a concept, but now a daily newspaper in Switzerland has made a giant leap ahead.

Since this Wednesday, every page of the Swiss Blick newspaper can be scanned using Kooaba, an iPhone/Android application. Once scanned and identified, the user can see additional information about the articles or ads visible in the page, add them to her online library, and share with friends. Remember, this is not a single issue being augmented, but rather every issue from now on will have this extra layer of information.

Follow the link to see a video of Blick being augmented, but since that video can't be embeded, here's another one, showcasing Kooaba's technology:

More information here.

Domestic Robocop

I'm a bit late with this - Toby already wrote a post about it last week, and I meant to do the same, but was too sick to write a post this wonderful next concept video deserves. It reminds me of a short story by Asimov where people grew so reliant on computers they forgot how to do basic arithmetic.

Created by Keiichi Matsuda of the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. You might wonder what does an architect have to do with augmented reality (and the art of making tea). Kei tried to explain:

The question of the connection with architecture comes up a lot, but its not necessary to think of it in the context of buildings etc. Architecture as a study is about spatial design, encompassing a lot of social, philosophical, economic and technological theory; more interesting than placing beams! Im currently working in a lot of media, so its kind of unlikely that ill go on to be an architect, but it makes a lot of sense for architects to be interested in VR, AR, game design etc., even without having a technical background as they touch fundamentally on how we operate in space. AR particularly is a really exciting technology, as it interacts directly with the built environment.
The film (domestic robocop) is pessimistic in a way; I believe that AR could become essential to us very quickly, once certain standards and economic models are in place. Becoming incapable of making a cup of tea and navigating your own house is obviously quite far fetched, but is maybe part of a broader comment about our reliance on technology and the all-infiltrating nature of consumer culture. With all the hype around AR at the moment, I think its a good thing to speculate as to what effect it might have on our lives, positive or negative, in the long term.

Kei currently works on a thesis titled 'Pluralism and Identity in Augmented Reality', and I bet we will see many other interesting concepts and ideas out of him.

Weekly Linkfest

Quite a busy week, and unfortunately I was knocked out by the cold to write about all that was happening in real time. Luckily, the weekly linkfest is here as a compensation of sorts.

Remember the fake iPhone app Nude It (yes, there's a real app by this name, but it doesn't have the same "capabilities")? Well, forget about it. This fake app, named iNaked, is far better:

As a matter of fact, I have no clue how it was done. It seems to me that making this fake demo took more time than it took making some of the real AR applications out there. (via Gizmodo)

Anyway, have a great week!

One Year

On Wednesday this little blog celebrate its one year anniversary (first post), while I was suffering from a bad case of the common cold. However, two days have passed, and I feel strong enough to commemorate the occasion.
A word of warning - this post will not be about augmented reality, but rather about maintaining an AR blog, and a quick look-ahead to the future of this joint. Note that I'm only looking at Augmented Times statistics, and don't consider my Games Aflresco readership.
  • This year I've published 246 posts.
  • I've made a neat $0 through this blog. It was never about making money, and therefore you won't find any ads or affiliate links over here.
  • Augmented Times had 40333 visits, 21969 unique visitors and 61955 pageviews. The numbers are quite low, comparing to Games Alfresco or The Future Digital Life, but I'm quite satisfied. During my first month I had 0 visitors (or it may be that I've installed Google Analytics to track visitors only later).
  • On the brightside, Augmented Times has 448 subscribers to its RSS feeds using Google Reader, second only to Games Alfresco, and far ahead of any other AR-specialized blog. I've tried to make all my posts fully-readable via RSS, and avoided using any "click-through" tricks to bring more readers to the site itself.
  • I have 564 followers on Twitter (@augmented) and new followers are added every day. But it is still nothing compared with Metaio's Danika following. (though I have a better followers/following ratio)
  • My top post in terms of readers was "Augmented Reality in Your Hands" about a research project that used hands in lieu of black and white markers. A close second is "My IKEA has a Live Demo".
  • My top sources are Google, Games Alfresco and Twitter.
  • On Google, the top search strings leading to my site were "augmented times", "augmented reality blog", "srengine" (!) and "ikea augmented reality" (you people really like IKEA). I also had visitors looking for "freaky nudes" , "pimping cars", "how to become optimus prime" and "christmas porn greeting cards" (what?).
  • Finally, I have become popular enough to make Dutch tech company deLight buy the domain augmentedtimes.com and point it here, for some strange reason.
Now is a good time to send my sincere apologies to those that I have offended in the last year, mainly Sequence Point Software and Mobilizy. As for the year ahead - frankly, I don't know. Maintaining Augmented Times is a time consuming task with little reward on its side. A lot has changes during this past year, and many skilled people have created their own sites covering AR. Whether there's any place to my unqiue point of view (if it's unique at all) is still to be decided. Till then, I try to learn everyday a new thing about the technology that's going to rock our world.

This Post is Rated AR

Very short post following my prediction that 2010 will be the inaugural year for augmented reality porn. A couple of days ago, AppScout reported about the latest venture in this area, Pink Visual's AR Porn (NSFW link).

Well, it's porn all-right, but the AR is gimmicky at best. Here's Pink Visual's Amanda Cory explaining the potential of such application -

And here's a close-up video of the application itself, showing how much the potential is left unfulfilled at the moment (sorry, you'll have to follow the link due to some mild nudity). Not to mention the intrinsic problem of flash-based AR porn - porn websites can record everything that is visible by your webcam while using the application. Isn't that exciting?

via AppScout.

Weekly Linkfest

This week was dominated by the Parrot's ARDrone, which is just about the coolest toy I've seen in a while, made even cooler by augmented reality from our friends at int13. Other AR news articles making the rounds this week:

Our weekly video comes from Techcrunch (3), and I'm quite sure most of you will find it non-AR. Yet, since it really makes you see things differently, exposing hidden information not available to most of us in any other way, I tend to call it AR. It's called SnapTax, and it helps you fill up your taxes by taking a picture of your tax forms (if you are a US citizen).

Have a great week!

First Augmented Building Spotted in Japan

Augmenting reality using the GPS&Compass combo has become very popular in 2009, and has decent accuracy when used to augment distant big objects such as buildings. However, it won't be terribly useful for augmenting specific floors within a building.

Japanese Qosmo and Teradadesign Architects to the rescue. By covering the facade of Tokyo's N Building with giant QR codes, they were able to display store information and even tweets, linked to their source from within the building. It's cooler than my lame description, check out the video:

More details at Nao Tokui's blog (Qosmo's CEO). Via PSFK.

Weekly Linkfest

The last week of 2009 was quite a slow one, and having Thomas K. Carpenter join Games Alfresco, diminishes my list of resources even further. Nevertheless, here are some AR related news-bits that we haven't covered this week:
Now, if I get it right, Soho is a men magazine from Colombia that employed AR to boost its sales. Which is one step closer to my prediction about Playboy getting augmented. (via Design Memo for Ourselves)

Have a great week!

Augmented Reality in 2010: The People have Spoken

2010 is here (we are living in the future!) and it's time to take a look at our survey published a month ago, asking for your predictions for the coming year.

Well, the results speaks for themselves. 3 out of 4 responders, believe that the buzz will only grow around augmented reality in 2010 (though nineteen were brave enough to think differently). You bet on augmented games and porn, but you don't buy into the prospect of cool HMDs, making access to such applications easier. And although most of you count on Google to make a major AR play (which, well, is not a prediction but rather a fact), you surely don't believe this will cause a consolidation in the AR browser market.
Hopefully, we will revisit this post and the other post in this series next year and see who get what right. Till then, have a happy new year!