Weekly Linkfest

Slow week, or am I at fault for not paying attention to the augmentosphere?

This week's video is without a doubt this one from The Heavy Projects - I never got so many retweets as I did after tweeting about it (if you don't follow me I'm @augmented). Harnessing the power of Junaio, the billboards of Times Square are repainted with original street art. I think the guys from Artvertiser had this idea first, but it's pretty neat to see it actually implemented. I just wonder whether it's ok with Junaio's terms of use.

Have a great week!

Weekly Augmented Reality Linkfest

If you missed it, we've got it, in this week's linkfest:
This week's video comes from Toyota Motor Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, which re-imagined a car's window for an excibition, and named it "Window to the World". The result is very attractive, as is evident by the half a million views this video got in the past last week. You probably have already seen it, but if not, here's a good place to read more about it.

Have a splendid week!

Hyper(reality) - Who Needs Eyes When Kinect is Around

Imagine for a moment how would it be like to replace your sense of vision with the point cloud generated by Kinect, which in turn is controlled by your arduino glove. Thanks to designer Maxence Parache you don't need to imagine such a scenario anymore

Hyper(reality) - The Last Tuesday Society from Maxence on Vimeo.

I'm not sure if this project can be catalogued as augmented reality, and if so, it is surely on the fringes of AR (since it seems to me to increase the latency between atoms and bits). Is the term alternative reality taken yet?

via Yanko Design (where you can see some more videos)

Is 13th Lab the Layar of Indoors?

Well, I'm pretty sure the guys at 13th Lab will get mad at me for comparing them to Layar. Most importantly, they don't consider themselves as an augmented reality company. They view themselves as a computer vision company, and AR only serves as a cool proof of concept for their technology. And what exactly is their tech? For now it's implementing SLAM algorithm on iPad2, as can be seen in the video below. Next they plan to implement more computer vision algorithms for mobile platforms.

SLAM, if you are too lazy to read the wikipedia article and prefer to learn this kind of stuff from a blogger, enables the device to locate its position in a pre-scanned room while continuously update its stored map of the room, all this without using markers. Here's a cool demo from Oxford, showing SLAM assisted augmentation of a museum, which suggests one way this technology can be used. Another scenario may be something like an ikea store where using an iPad you could change the color of the sofa which is right in front of you (or locate the exit).

This lead me believe that with some luck 13th Lab may become a force to be reckoned with in indoors AR. Moreover, 13th Lab aims to be a platform provider, like, well, Layar (and admittedly, many other companies in the AR space).

Writes Petter Ivmark, one of the founders:

The ambition of this company is not just to make a game though, but rather to take this pretty complicated technology, that requires a lot of specific math and low level programming skills, meaning that very few developers work with it today, and make it available to developers as a platform that doesn't require these skills at all. Hopefully, this will spur a lot more innovation in computer vision. We strongly believes that, as computer vision and artificial intelligence evolves, the camera will take over from the GPS as the device's most important sensor to understand, interpret and navigate the world.
We have had the idea that the camera has the potential to be the most important sensor for a long time.

A few years ago when we started talking about doing something in this area, the devices where not powerful enough to do SLAM and other advanced computer vision work. When we started looking at this, the iPhone 3GS had not yet been released (let alone a dual core device like the iPad 2 or some of the newer Android devices). iOS didn't even have a public camera API. But we made a bet on the exponential growth in computing power on devices, that if we started working on this, the devices would catch up quickly. This turned our to be true. Apple released the camera APIs for iOS, they put gyros in their devices, and finally released the iPad 2 which had a camera, gyro and a fast dual core processor. This was around the time we had a first working prototype of our platform, so the timing was great.
If you buy into their vision, you can sign up to their developers network. Better yet, if you live in Sweden, they are hiring - I bet it's going to be worthwhile to join them.

Weekly Linkfest

Oh my, what an interesting week for augmented reality, especially in the business front:

This week's video features a cool street art by SWEZA named QRadio. Graffiti boom-boxes around Berlin start to play music when the QR code drawn on them is scanned.  Via Wooster Collective.

Have a great week!

Augmented Reality Promoted to the Premier League

Augmented reality is to be promoted to the premier league. The English premier league that is.

Tottenham Hotspur will sport the logo of AR platform Aurasma during the 2011-2012 season, starting next month. Which is quite an interesting development, you must admit, especially considering that the company behind Aurasma, Autonomy, has decided to forgo its own name on the shirts. A bold, and probably costly move.

More details on football-marketing.com

Weekly Linkfest

How are terracotta warriors, billiard, a coloring book and the city of Basel all related to each other? Well... they are featured in this week's linkfest:
This week's video is just strange. 
An augmented reality artwork created by John Goto and Matthew Leach using the Layar platform, Gilt City confronts the banking crisis in an unusual way. Famous beggars appear on your mobile's screen, and you choose whether to help them, or make them explode. Art - I'll never understand it, but maybe you will, by reading more about this project here.

Have a grand week!

Apple Patents Augmented Reality Displays

As Apple Insider reports today, the US patent office just published two interesting patent fillings by Apple in January of last year.
The first, titled "Synchronized, interactive augmented reality displays for multifunction devices" is a very broad term patent and discuss methods to identify object, display an information layer on top of a live video feed and share that layer between users.

The second, and surely much more exciting is simply titled "Transparent electronic devices" and concerns "A method and system for displaying images on a transparent display of an electronic device ... the display screens may allow for overlaying of images over real world viewable objects"
. Or in other words - transparent iPads are coming!!!11221!. Seriously though here's quoting again from the patent:

These overlays whether in handheld or other electronic devices 10, may provide an "augmented reality" interface in which the overlays virtually interact with real-world objects. For example, the overlays may be transmitted onto a display screen that overlays a museum exhibit, such as a painting. The overlay may include information relating to the painting that may be useful or interesting to viewers of the exhibit. Additionally, overlays may be utilized on displays in front of, for example, landmarks, historic sites, or other scenic locations. The overlays may again provide information relating to real-world objects as they are being viewed by a user. These overlays may additionally be utilized on, for example, vehicles utilized by tourists. For example, a tour bus may include one or more displays as windows for users. These displays may present overlays that impart information about locations viewable from the bus

Interesting stuff, don't you think?
More information at Apple Insider.

Weekly Linkfest Plus

I think that's one of the best linkfests in a while. Judge for yourself:
Since Friday was Canada Day, and tomorrow is the 4th of July, let us celebrate with a double feature in this week's video. Two first person shooter games caught my eye this week, the first ShootAR has a surprisingly sleek teaser video, while the other Uwar seems a little bit more feasible, and features cool shirts (well, cool is in the eye of the beholder). Is this new generation of AR games going to heat things up?

Have an excellent week!