Augmented Reality (AR) has been around now and although some people are still showing off with it, not many people have found a useful application for the concepts and technology involved. This is a shame as I believe that there are numerous applications that could be both entertaining and useful.
There are a number of different techniques that I have seen classed as ‘Augmented Reality’. Some might not adhere to the exact definition but their desire to stretch the boundaries allows them into the umbrella phrase in my book.
From Wikipedia we also find that these boundaries seem not to be set:
There are two commonly accepted definitions of Augmented Reality today. One was given by Ronald Azuma in 1997 . Azuma’s definition says that Augmented Reality
- combines real and virtual
- is interactive in real time
- is registered in 3D
Additionally Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino defined Milgram’s Reality-Virtuality Continuum in 1994 . They describe a continuum that spans from the real environment to a pure virtual environment. In between there are Augmented Reality (closer to the real environment) and Augmented Virtuality (is closer to the virtual environment).
More recently, the term augmented reality has been blurred a bit due to the increased interest of the general public in AR.
Esquire Magazine: A recent video posted about Esquire magazine using AR technology shows how the owner of an Esquire magazine can put their magazine up to their webcam and cause an effect on screen. This ranges from changing fancy background to having Robert Downey Jr. start talking to you. Sounds great? Yes it is, until you find out you have the hassle of downloading a program you get with the computer. Not to mention that the only thing that happens in ‘real time’, here and now, is the reader holding a magazine in front of their computer. Superbly done it seems, but not an industry changing solution just yet in my opinion.
Now we are talking! Nice one LEGO.
So finally after quite a while of research I find someone who has really used the technology and concept with skill, class and a solid concept that could, should and would drive sales. This company is LEGO as seen in the below video which perfectly, interactively and simply demonstrated the contents of each box as a virtual model when a camera recognises the top of the box.
Now this is fun.
Now where do we go from here???