Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Better than reality?

An email from a friend and colleague of mine yesterday opened a new concept to me - augmented reality.  OK, you technological natives - take it easy on a "seasoned" non-technical person - this may be old hat to you already.  But it's new to me, and fascinating.

Augmented reality is a software application that can use your computer or a smart phone equipped with a camera and allows you to gather supplemental information about objects around you.  It can make a flat photo of a baseball player or a dinosaur on a poster look 3-D, and move.  You can walk around a neighborhood, point at a restaurant and read reviews on its food.  You can even point at a business and find out whether it's hiring!
  • Ben and Jerry's is using AR to bring home a branding message about "it's what's inside that counts," a look at family farms that produce the ingredients for the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream flavors.  You click at an object on the lid of the ice cream package (four flavors right now) to engage the AR feature.  See more about this project here.
  • Esquire published an issue of its magazine featuring Robert Downey, Jr. and demonstrating augmented reality in several spots in the magazine.  See the YouTube demonstration of how to use the issue by clicking this, and see links top some other cool videos about AR as well.
  • There are AR toys from the James Cameron movie Avatar, also demonstrated on YouTube.  How fascinating is that!
If the "gee whiz" factor isn't enough for you and you want to know more about Augmented Reality, there's some great information on the How Stuff Works site.

It will be interesting once our kids take ahold of this technology in greater numbers.  They could be posting photos to FaceBook, placing a dinosaur in front of local landmarks (or who knows what else!)  Better than reality?  I can't wait to find out...

1 comment:

AutumnalDusk said...

Not sure if "better than reality" is truly the aim. It's sort of like A-1 Steak Sauce for your steak. It's an enhancement,as opposed to a replacement, and I suppose it's going to come down to the cook, or (more importantly) the tastes of the consumer.