Augmented Reality Farmville

Addicted to Farmville? Have a green thumb but no garden? Envy real farmers but got allergies?
The guys from TU Munich have the perfect solution for you:

Augmented Farmville could be one heck of a layer for Layar/Junaio/Wikitude once better positioning is available. Think of the gold rush to get a virtual plot in major cities, imagine Times Square as a flower bed! Using real meteorological data to those virtual farms would add another interesting and educational twist. It may be the most stupid idea I have ever featured in this blog, but then again, nobody would guess that a farm simulator will be one of the most successful games in 2010.

How Augmented Reality is Changing the World Cup

Coming back from my vacation, I had to catch up with a lot of AR related news. One topic though was so prevalent that I had to write about it in my coming back post. Obviously, I'm talking about the world cup in soccer. No other sports event gained such an attention from the AR community, and here are the results (don't worry the last few ones are quite good):

Zakumi in FLARToolkit
The good: It seems to be created by a single programmer. Cheers for the initiative.
The god-awful bad: The music. I rather hear vuvuzelas than this one hit wonder.

Kappa's "We Are One"
The good: The music is better than the previous video.
The bad: It's in Chinese, so it's hard for me to tell, but I think you need to download an application to play with it. Hello? This is 2010s, not prehistoric 2009!

Sony Ericsson World Cup Game
The good: You get to be a world famous soccer player while hitting soccer balls with your head in this game created by Total Immersion's partner CherryPicks.
The bad: World famous soccer players are not necessarily handsome.

The world cup in a shopping mall
The good: Nice game, showing there are still some innovative things to do with a marker on a piece of paper. Made by another partner of TI - InterAct 3d.
The bad: Couldn't they have the same application accessible through a webcam?

Junaio's virtual soccer field overlay
The good: A brave attempt by Metaio to show game statistics for fans in the stadium in an unconventional way.
The bad: You have to be in South Africa to see it, and no videos are available. I'm a bit skeptic.
More info: where you can read about another application assisting you to find a good joint to see the next soccer match.

Zugara's AR game in a banner
The good: Really cool creative, you need to "head in" corner kicks in this AD for AT&T.
The bad: AT&T. And people looking at you from behind while you're jerking your head around.

KickBall AR
The good: Much better than AR Boomerang, this is the only mobile application on this list.
The bad: Only available for Samsung's Bada operating system and the fact that Tom already wrote about it.

If I've missed anything (surely there's a Layar layer for the games, no?), please feel free to add a comment.
So how AR is changing the world cup? Well it's not, but for my first post in nearly three weeks, I had to try a title inspired by the linkbait generator. Anyhow, the usual "Weekly Linkfest" will return next week and as usual be sure to follow me on Twitter.

AR - Not for the Faint Hearted

Here's a fun video showing of the results of a paper by some students from Imperial College, London back in 2008.
The abstract says:
Accurate estimation and tracking of dynamic tissue deformation is important to motion compensation, intra-operative surgical guidance and navigation in minimally invasive surgery. Current approaches to tissue deformation tracking are generally based on machine vision techniques for natural scenes which are not well suited to MIS because tissue deformation cannot be easily modeled by using ad hoc representations. Such techniques do not deal well with inter-reflection changes and may be susceptible to instrument occlusion. The purpose of this paper is to present an online learning based feature tracking method suitable for in vivo applications.

In other words, they are augmenting a live beating heart, muhahaha!

Soft Tissue Tracking for Minimally Invasive Surgery Learning Local Deformation Online. Peter Mountney and Guang-Zhong Yang

Weekly Linkfest

As expected, this linkfest is full of ARE2010 stuff:

This week's video is not from ARE2010, but cool nonetheless. EXMAR is a conceptual periscope-like device that attaches to your mobile phone and lets you see an augmented view of your surrounding without pointing directly at anything. It's great for minimizing hand strain, looking behind you and admittedly for perverts. Created by students at Korea's KAIST institute, the related paper was submitted to ISMAR10 but is not available online as far as I can tell

Have a great week, see you back on the 20th (unless my flight will be canceled again).

Jesse Schell - Rethinking Vision

Jesse Schell gave what can only be described as a "kick-ass" keynote in ARE2010. In less than 30 minutes he gave me so many points to think about when considering augmented reality in 2020, that I couldn't help but watch his presentation again, even though the video quality is less than perfect.

I will do great injustice to Schell by trying to summarize his talk, and you should really see it yourself, especially if you think that AR is about labeling things and will undoubtedly have a positive influence on our lives.

(sorry RSS readers, this is a Qik video and can't be embedded in the feed)

On a side note let me again apologize for not attending ARE2010. My transatlantic flight to Atlanta was canceled due to some technical problem and Delta wouldn't put me on another flight heading to the US for another 24 hours. Considering the connection involved, this would have meant getting to attend only that last couple of hours of the event, so I've decided to forgo the all idea.
Assuming my rescheduled flight will leave has planned, I'll be in San Francisco next week and the week after that in Washington DC, if anyone feels like meeting up.

Edit: I want to thank the "Avatar Hotel Great America" in Santa Clara for canceling my stay on a very short notice without fines. I'll be sure to stay with you the next time I'm in the vicinity.

Vicariously at ARE2010

So, it seems that fate (also called Delta Airlines) decided that I should not attend the augmented reality event. Here are some alternatives you may want to check out for online cover of the event:

Are you there and reporting about the event? Please tell!