Paranoid time travellers in AR

July 21st, 2014

Hi everybody,

I’m back from my vacation and it’s time to kick off with some summer updates! Guess I missed the biggest world cup party in Munich ever (congratz to the German team!), but that’s okay. I could watch the game in France with some Dutch beer (d’oh). :-)

Quite some news happening to blog about, also steering towards big upcoming events (ISMAR 2014 in Munich, yeah!)… but for today I’d like to stick to a small update on a neat kickstarter pledge I’ve found, entitled “Modern Polaxis – A Modern Augmented Reality Comic”.

ar-comic-2

Sutu, the creator, wants to create an augmented comic book, that cannot only be augmented with some fun layer but also continues the story through the additional media and reveals the actual nature of it. In short it’s about:

The story is about a paranoid time traveller known as Modern Polaxis. The book will be presented as Polaxis’s private journal. Polaxis writes about his day to day life, but all his secret information, his paranoid delusions and conspiracy theories, he hides away in the Augmented Reality layer.

ar-comic

So, please go and take a look. 16 days to go and I’m really curious how Sutu will combine the two layers (drawn and superimposed via AR CG) into an intriguing story, where it’s not only a gimmick for the pure visual fun. I hope he finds a good way for this cross-media approach to work. Seems he has some decent ideas up his sleeve. Also, I like the protagonist’s look and the overall jagged, punky style. Hope it works out!

See the kickstarter page.

World Cup Fun!

June 23rd, 2014

Hi everybody,

people around the world are watching the soccer world cup again! So, let’s also enjoy a bit of augmentations of the game through some summer AR game fun!

SoccAR

The German team from dobesgames has developed an iOS app, where you can play soccer on your table – AR-style. Good if you don’t have tippkick figurines or anything you can use for a ball. Just put up the green and augment the rest. Either place objects as players or use your bare fingers. This can definitely get you through a boring game or the half time break!

soccar

Head kicks for couch potatoes

Sony Ericsson released an AR game 2010, which you can still play (if you find your way through the Chinese page here) online! Try to header away as many footballs as possible!

Fun with food

Pringles also came up with goal shooting fun game using their boxing. Unfortunately, it cannot be found to play online anymore. Maybe try out some wobble head kicking instead. … or just waste your time watching Fuleco dance samba. :-)

Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy the games (the matches and the AR games) and have a great summer! I’m off on vacation until end of July. Updates popping in afterwards! Have a great time!

Cheers,
Toby.

Cartoon Creatures infesting an Animated Reality

May 27th, 2014

cellanimation

I’ve found a pretty cute video by Hombre_McSteez, titled Aug(De)Mented Reality, that I wanted to share, although I have to be careful not to post too many non-high-technical “fake” AR in the future. But with so many extra points in cuteness and effort, it’s worth a look and might inspire you to create some cell stop motion animation AR app toolkit!

Enjoy the odd creature infested cartoon universe!

Sex, Technology, and Obsession

May 22nd, 2014

Finally! A catchy headline! Today, I’d like to motivate you guys to take a look at another kickstarter project. It is a story about sex, technology and obsession! Well, it is a movie in form of a satire. But I like the concept very much and I think we need more cool visionary near-life sci-fi movies and demonstrations to get everybody inspired and get the creativity flowing how our favorite tech stuff could work in everyday life. Maye we can make this another highlight like Keiichi’s Domestic Robocop among others!

This one comes from Creative Control and describes itself as A NEAR FUTURE satire about sex, technology, and obsession.

creativecontrol

I spoke to Benjamin Dickinson from Brooklyn, NY, one head behind the project, and it seems a very high-class production to me with wits, great DOP work and great actors but with just some missing funding. A good week to go on kickstarter. Why not take a look! The story introduces briefly as In Near-Future Brooklyn, an ad exec uses a new Augmented Reality technology to conduct an affair with his best friend’s girlfriend….sort of. and I very much liked Ben’s quote stating it’s like a Woody Allen film, if it were directed by Stanley Kubrick. Hehe! Can’t wait!

If you are intrigued and would love to see more CGI work from the same guys, be sure to take a look at the cool video done for Microsoft guys on interfaces. Done by Ethan Keller who’s also working on concept designs for this project.

Enjoy!

3DXCITE Conference at one glance!

May 19th, 2014

xcite-welcome

Hi everybody,

we had a great week and a great conference! Two days packed with demos and new solutions presented to the whole visualization world. To quickly wrap up and give a first impression of the show I edited a small (phone-cam’ed – sorry) video of some of the demos, that touch augmented reality. Official material will pop up later, but here you can have a sneak peak!

What I especially liked was the tracked projection mapping demo for a clay model of a car, that uses the Werklicht projector hardware and a tracked wand to draw on the physical model with virtual colors. A great blend of the physical and virtual world! It really brings together 3D guys and hands-on clay model designer!

In the end of the video you will see another cool demo: using metaio’s edge-based tracking with our data sets to give a stable mobile augmented reality solution without the need for markers! Enjoy!

Best greetings,
Toby.

RTT Excite Conference coming up

May 12th, 2014

Hi guys,

busy days down here. Because once again it is time for our own annual fair! RTT will present once more 3D real-time high-end visualization with many live demos in virtual and augmented reality environments! We do feature some cool AR and projection mapping demos for you! Happening this week in Munich, Germany.

excite2014

Check out the conference website and see the program for Thursday, May, 15th and Friday, May 16th.

Hope to see you there!

Best,
Toby.

Playstation on the AR move for more realism!

April 28th, 2014

ps-lab2

Sony demos their research on lighting & fluid simulation for Playstation Augmented Reality! They show two videos: the first one demonstrates a fluid/liquid simulation, where they pour water from one container to another. Each container is stuck to one marker and moved around by the user’s movements of the physical marker. The demo also features some matching splash sounds and a beautiful rubber duck.

While rendering quality is not impressive and especially the water is far from looking like uptodate Playstation game’s water, it is good to see, that Sony is playing with this topic to enhance the feeling of the two worlds being one. It helps so much if the augmented objects actually react to yourself. Typically this is only the camera position and not more. But we sure need way more input data than the camera pose to have a good immersion and merge of CGI content into your augmented mirror! Holding two markers up might be a bit dusty, but shows nicely the 100% direct interaction possible. Obviously this could be something cooler (or no marker at all using depth sensors, etc.), but holding up a physical piece will help the users. Augmenting a box-shaped object matching the marker dimensions will also make it easier for the user to forget the augmentation and to have a matching haptics feedback. Plain, but I like it.

The second video does not approach a physical behaviour of things and interaction through that, but rather the interaction with real world’s light. Also seen before, but – again – good to see that the good folks at Sony are working on it to bring it to the PS. Aiming for the Asian market Hatsune Miku is featured and the always-liked-but-usually-dead Dinosaurs:

ps-lab1

I’m wondering how Sony researchers are calculating the cast shadow. Is it just comparing the center position of the 2D image with some exposure values from before and see the offsets to calculate a virtual light source relative to the center? On a quick glance it looks pretty nice, but you can notice some shadow direction glitches, especially when close to the center and the spot gets in the front of the Dinosaur. Then the system just cannot know the actual camera’s position and tricks around it.

Honestly, I’d like to see way more on this from Sony with depth cams and reconstructed room data in 3D for occlusions and all! With a simple RGB image you just don’t have enough input data. Sony should add more hardware for next generation and also be able to throw all their real-time shaders on it, too. It is time for a really visually stunning and undistinguishable AR integration! If some companies know how to do good looking real-time 3D content – it is gaming companies like Sony!

Can’t wait!

Happy Holidays everyone! Have fun playing!

April 17th, 2014

Hey everyone! Time to drop the keyboard for a while and get out there egg hunting and enjoying some good food offline with your loved ones (if you happen to celebrate Easter).

toywheel

But if your 21st century children (or yourself) would rather like to play with some digital goods, you could also take a look at the new app by Berlin start-up Toywheel: they kick off a virtual car game, bringing the physical and the digital world together once more:

I like the looks of it and the cute designed elements. Racing games in AR have been done before, but I still like this concept very much (I did implement my own AR-Racinggame with spaceships). It is a winning combination, where shrunk objects (like cars) are still convincing declaring them as toys with a known mini scale. The developers say that it is supposed to be a more open approach where the kids can play freely without the scripted need for winning/racing, giving them back the freedom of playing freely (as it was with matchbox cars all those years). A nice twist. Let’s see how they evolve the concept.

What I still would love to see is the direct manipulation of the track by different (independent) markers: just pick up a marker for a ramp and move it around to change the track. This would give a deeper interaction between real and virtual! Let’s wait for more!

… but what I don’t understand is why the kid is so obsessed with food in the video (prominent donut eating and pizzas…). But it fits to our Easter theme. :-)

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Transparent Bonnets to drive savely the rocky road

April 11th, 2014

A nice new concept video “Land Rover Reveals Transparent Bonnet Concept” hit the web and received some attention:
the car’s bonnet appears translucent by a visual overlay to the driver’s view via a HUD, showing the camera-recorded ground underneath. They briefly describe it as: Land Rover reveals world’s first Transparent Bonnet Concept allowing a new level of driver awareness with a ‘see-through’ augmented reality view of the terrain ahead, making the front of the car ‘virtually’ invisible from inside the cabin.

Land-Rover-Transparent-Bonnet

The concept video shows it nicely, so no more words are needed to show the possible (optimistic) outcome:

Why optimistic? Because it is still only a concept and is not proven to really look like in the video from the driver’s perspective. First, the ground needs to be recorded with a single or multiple cameras with a reasonable field of view and exposure time to have a solid visual quality but at the same time match the viewer’s perception of the environment. Then this image needs to be match to the viewer’s point of view. Second, the user needs to get a good (non-distracting) overlay to its windshield (via some HUD setup). This might sacrifice more visual quality (in contrast to the looks as seen in the concept video). The car company might find a solid driver’s head position through the current seat position, etc., so it might give reasonable results, assuming no bigger head movements by the driver…

Blair MacIntyre also commented more on this issue of geometric distortion and positional problem in his blog, where you might want to read on, if you are interested in this tricky thing.

So, result’s might not be as seen in the video soon, but in general an interesting concept and idea!!

Turn your world into a game

April 8th, 2014

rescape

Want to run around in your house or office playing first-person shooters with your friends in an mixed reality setup?
The fellows from 13th lab (who e.g. brought you Minecraft Reality) are pledging on Kickstarter for this idea, named “Rescape”. 8 days to go, so it is urgently time for you to take a look!

Their solution is a piece of hardware (the rifle-styled mount for your smart-device) plus their software SDK, including 3D scanning and tracking components. Quoted: Using advanced computer vision and specialized optics to track your movements, Rescape lets you digitize the real world, pull any canvas you want over it, and then have you and your friends blow it to pieces!

rescape2

So, their approach is more of a mixed reality rather than a visual augmentation to be finicky. But the immersive experience within your real environment looks damn promising (in their promo videos).

The want to offer a Rescape SDK, the game controller with specialized optics (with strap-on 180° fisheye lens) and mount for your smartphone. By using the SLAM approach they plan on reconstructing, scanning the real building and giving a full (6 DOF) positional tracking in real-time.

Their SDK would be 100% free, giving a C interface and Unity support for first demos. It will be available first on iOS devices, Android to come later with a first release to kickstarter backers planned in September.

To make it real fun, they want to support multi player with friends – having them even replaced by Avatars. This looks a bit too good to be true to me. But let’s see how it goes and if they can raise the missing money. I cross my fingers!

More technical videos and multi-player demo can be seen on their kickstarter page. Worth a look!

Enjoy!