Let Me Be Your Voice in ARE 2010

Not going to the Augmented Reality Event, this Wednesday? Too bad, but don't despair. I'll be there to cover what may become a milestone event in the history of AR.
Have question to any of the speakers or exhibitors on site? Just write a comment or send me a tweet - @augmented. Which reminds me, not bringing my laptop, I'll be mostly updating on twitter via my iPhone. Be sure to follow me there.

Weekly Linkfest

The last weekly linkfest before the augmented reality event, and the last one in the next couple of weeks. Here's what happened this week in the world of augmented reality:

This week's video is a video presentation for QderoPateo's Ouidoo, the articulated naturality device. I don't know if it's official, but seeing this video I understand why the avoid using the term augmented reality. A much better term is surrealism:

QderoPateo Ouidoo. Video presentation. from Vladimir Shelest on Vimeo.

Have a great week, see you in ARE2010!

Augmented Reality for Autism

I have very little experience with people on the Autistic spectrum, but designer Timothy Byrne of Western Washington University has a brother with an autistic disorder, a fact the propelled him to invent "Sixthsense for Autism". Building upon MIT's Pranav Mistry's SixthSense technology, this conceptual project tries to provide its user social cues for everyday situations. Here's for example standing in line while using the device:

In the following video Byrne explains the motivations behind his design and show some other uses:

Visit the West Washington University's channel on Youtube for more possible uses of Sixthsense, such as aiding those with impaired memory, in the classroom, for construction, and while driving or traveling.

[via Yanko Design]

Looking for an Augmented Reality Casual Game

Looking at the list of best selling applications for the iPhone, I started thinking (usually a dangerous habit). On the one hand, augmented reality wants to be mobile, and the best avenue for mobile AR we currently have are smart phones. On the other hand, we often imagine augmented reality (and surely AR games) as immersive experiences - if you haven't seen it yet, checkout Roku's reward.

The thing is, I believe that currently "mobile" and "immersion" are conflicting goals. Our mobile platforms are way too limited to enable immersion:
  • Battery capacity is very restricted
  • Screen size is quite small
  • Processing power and sensor accuracy are low (but I expect these issues to be alleviated soon)
Even more importantly, most mobile game players are not "gamers". They don't have a day to spend in a quest around the city. Users require simple but challenging games which can be played during brakes, while waiting in line or while riding the bus. This also limits us to games that don't require us to carry much additional resources to be played, such as a boards.

As augmented reality enthusiasts we can ignore those problems, and just wait for them to go away once head-up-displays, powered by fuel cells, become wildly available. But this is a counter-productive approach, and still targets gamers. There is another approach - casual games. They fit the character of most smart phone owners and play nicely on the current available hardware. Most importantly, casual games are amongst the most purchased applications on the various app stores (here's WSJ covering the phenomenon called Angry Birds).

We need to explore casual augmented reality games. Smart phones are on the brink of making such games plausible (if they aren't already) but we still have to tackle the hardest problem - designing a compelling gameplay. Obviously, games that only use the camera's input as a backdrop to a game, such as Firefigther 360, won't cut it.

I asked on twitter what could such a game be, and skry suggested: "On your daily walk/run, some of the course offers a round of DDR, hopscotch, or calisthenics". Frogger across real roads is another interesting proposition. What do you think? Will there be an AR equivalent of Tetris, Sokoban and Angry Birds?

To get your creative juices flowing I've attached two casual AR games that I really like, though both are not based on smart phones. The first is Carcade, a game you can play while riding a train by students at Berlin University of the Arts. The other is Candy Wars by students of the Augmented Environments lab at Georgia Tech (though it's cheating a little bit, since it requires additional objects).

Weekly Linkfest

It's time again for the weekly linkfest, where we slay augmented reality smoke monsters every week since 2009:

This week's video is strange, lacking better words to describe it. It's a concept video for an AR application named Transumer, described by the video uploader to be "inspired by the anonymous anti-consumerist publication, the coming insurrection, which critiques the downfall of capitalism and proposes a call to arms for a modern day revolution". Ah, ok.

Have a great week!

iWatermelon - Augmented Ripeness Checker

Augmented reality. Once used to improve the construction of jet planes. Now it improves your chances of finding a ripe watermelon.

Available on the appstore and costs only a buck.
(and yes, I find it more augmented reality than many visual applications we have seen this last year. Although lacking a visual integration, it does extend your senses, and it has more interaction with reality than that firefighter game)

Weekly Linkfest

I'm back! (but not for long, following the augmented reality event I'll be mostly offline for three weeks). Speaking of augmented reality events, this week's linkfest is full of talks from other events that took place recently:
This week's video demonstrates cooking with AR, a video showcasing some of Yoo Kyoung Noh's concepts presented in her Object 2.0 project - a concept proposal for the system of the near future, where the Internet is integrated into physical objects and spaces. Via Beyond The Beyond:

networked smart objects from Yoo Kyoung Noh on Vimeo.

Have a great week!

Weekly Linkfest

Sorry for being late, here's this week's augmented reality (short) linkfest:

This week's video is of a kid playing air AR guitar, a promotion to some Disney product, I think. On the bright side, it's the first time I see augmentation of the torso (and not the head). Via Development Memo For Ourselves

Have a great week!