March 07, 2009

Fun with Augmented Reality

Wikipedia describes “augmented reality” as “the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.” Now it’s come to Flash, with some amazing results.
The GE Smart Grid site lets you print out a sheet of paper, hold it up to your Web cam, and interact with 3D graphics. I was all set to link to a quick demo of the technology, but it just went MIA from YouTube. No matter: here’s a demo of an interactive print piece for Mini:

Thanks to the open-source FLARtoolkit for Flash, augmented reality is popping up all over, as in this augmented Happy New Year’s card:

It’s even been combined with Twitter + t-shirt printing. For more info, check out David Pogue’s report from TED. [Via lots and lots of people]
Tangentially related: This funny example of “real-life multitouch” is, indeed, a sign of too much iPhone usage. (Seeing it reminds me of Photoshop QE Pete du’Fosse realizing that he was working too much when he found himself hovering a hand over his microwave’s keypad, getting frustrated when no tool tip appeared.)

Posted by John Nack at 3:25 PM on March 07, 2009


  • 14o — 7:47 AM on March 08, 2009

    Funn video :) thanks

  • Clay White — 6:56 AM on March 09, 2009

    Anyone have a clue how to make the GE thing work with the built in ISight camera.
    It is not a choice in the Flash menu and will not work thru photobooth.

  • Daemon — 8:43 AM on March 09, 2009

    So about this MINI thing. First, it requires Internet Explorer. When you start it in IE, it requires some ActiveX control to be installed. When you install it, it then downloads (using/through that ActiveX) approx 10 megs of data through some slow service that has maximum download of 100kb/s. Then it required to restart IE (i was using IE7).
    And only THEN could i see the marvel of technology.
    In comparison, the Happy New Year 2009 project required any browser, and only Flash player.
    So you see kids, when big company like BMW makes project – it is heavy and complicated. When people do stuff just for fun – they are fast and lovely!
    [Yeah, I know a few things about that. I often say that if you asked all of Adobe to move a Coke can across the table, you’d end up listening to six months’ worth of VPs debating whether we should be in the fluid-transportation business…
    Or you could just move the Coke yourself. That’s why I work really hard to enable things like SWF panels, so that we can largely get Adobe the hell out of the way. :-) –J.]

  • Ben — 8:32 AM on March 10, 2009

    Nice. I really like the cow!

  • Cris DeRaud — 12:30 PM on March 10, 2009

    Topps baseball cards is already using the technology.
    [Cool! Thanks for the link. –J.]

  • Jan — 1:04 AM on April 09, 2009

    Hey John, would love to get in touch to discuss the above and really appreciate you sending me an e-mail. Best regards,

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