All posts filed under “Augmented Reality

Augmented Shadow

Augmented Shadow

Augmented Shadow is a design experiment producing an artificial shadow effect through the use of tangible objects, blocks, on a displayable tabletop interface”, created by Joon Moon.

Watch bigger version

I really like that the shadows are used to reveal hidden worlds, augmented over the existing shadows from light. As you move the light source around, you see the shadow of trees and houses within the blocks. If there is no light near a house, a person comes out to capture the light.

Moon cites some familiar reference material of inspirational projects on this thesis site, as well as concept sketches and work in progress videos.

Augmented Shadow

“Augmented Shadow utilizes this unique interface metaphor for interactive storytelling. Maximizing the magical amusement of AR, it is embedding an ecosystem where imaginary objects and organic beings co-exist while each of them influences on each other’s life-cycle, even though it is not in use by users. Light and shadow play critical roles in this world’s functions causing chain reactions between virtual people, trees, birds, and houses as shown below”.

Created using openFrameworks.

Concept sketch…

Augmented Shadow

Work in progress…

Augmented Periscopes & Telescopes

I have been asked a few times about doing interactive periscopes or telescopes with augmented graphics, and my response is “well, they’ve sort of been done many many times before”. So for research I decided to post up for everyone those that I am aware of.

If you know of any more, please post in the comments.

Parascopes, Unsworn Industries
Three ‘Parascopes‘ created by Unsworn Industries were a way of giving the citizens of Malmö a look into various town plans for reducing car traffic. Rather than viewing plans in the city hall, panoramic images controlled through the periscope enabled users to see the designs in situ, creating a more tangible concept of the future. Other plans included letting people draw their own ideas through the website and vote on them, trying them out on the periscopes. Read full press release.

Jurascopes, ART+COM
ART+COM created Jurascopes for the Natural History museum Berlin.

“When visitors look through a Jurascope, at first they will see the skeletons in the hall. By then turning the Jurascope, they can choose a dinosaur and start the animation: One after the other inner organs, muscles, and skin will appear. The animal is brought to its natural habitat and starts moving, feeding and hunting there. Sounds from the environment and the animal itself contribute to the experience.

The sequence lasts around 30 seconds, then the dinosaur moves back to its former position, freezes and is once more a skeleton in the hall.”

Timescope, ART+COM
Another by Art+Com is Timescope, using the same hardware as Jurascope, but this time outside, allowing visitors to Berlin to take a trip back in time with historical photos.


Argui, created by Valérie-Françoise Vogt with Jonas Braune, Maik Lochmann, Uli Henrik Streckenbach & Franz Wagner, for the annual exhibit at Burg Giebichenstein.

“Placed in front of the biggest of the University’s buildings, Argui lets you see not only its facade but what’s going on inside. Cameras that are placed inside each of its rooms give you an insight into the projects exhibited there and make it easier to choose where to go next.”

watch video

Flypad, Blast Theory
Not technically a telescope, but definitely worth showing is Flypad by Blast Theory, created for The Public

“The work has 11 terminals arranged around the central atrium of the gallery. Each is equipped with a monitor, a motorised pan-tilt camera and a footpad interface in the floor.

Visitors create avatars which they’re able to fly around the atrium using the the footpad. The camera tracks their position as they fly; crashing into other avatars, learning new moves and collaborating together to attain perfect grace.

By holding on to other avatars, visitors can stay in the air for longer, mutating with the avatars they hold on to. As the game progresses, visitors become hybridised: from a group of individual and separate bodies emerges a social body in which everyone’s form and identity is partly moulded by those around them.”

more photos

Rear Window, Jon Friis & Michael Lawrie
Rear Window
Rear Window, by Mike Lawrie and Jon Friis, is a “contemporary re-imagining of the 1954 Hitchcock film of the same name, which centres on the symbolic relationship of audience and screen that the protagonist has with the neighbouring apartment block.

The installation takes the form of a telescope, placed in a location with a suitable view. To the user it appears to be an ordinary telescope. However, the image seen through the eyepiece does not wholly coincide with what is seen by the naked eye. Utilizing augmented reality techniques, portions of the image are replaced. The windows of neighbouring buildings become silver screens presenting clips of classic Hollywood footage which utilize the Rear Window cliché.”

Rather than a single installation, the xc-01 has been created by Didier Stricker at the Augmented Vision department of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence to sell as a product for these situations.

“To create applications for the xc-01 we developed a visual drag’n drop editor. With this tool one can join different media to an Augmented Reality application. Different objects and functionalities of a palette are just dropped on the scene and positioned.”

“The vandalism-proof case of the xc-01 contains a high-resolution camera, a high-contrast lcd-display, a precise hardware tracking system, an air condition for outdoor use and a coin detector.”

watch video / via gizmag

Other mentions

OBSERVATORIO, 2008 – Clara Boj y Diego Díaz

Drift, Alex Davies & Daniel Heckenberg.



Subversive Sightseeing, Tim Simpson
Subversive Sightseeing

(via @pixelfrenzy on twitter)

Subversive Sightseeing by Tim Simpson is a “coin-operated, tourist telescope but through it you see a film of an unravelling sequence of epic catastrophes. In the distance a crane collapses, a mushroom cloud appears on the horizon, and a capsule on the London Eye dangles precariously over the Thames”.

How it was made

BMW Focus on Joy, MESO
BMW Focus on Joy, MESO

(via Christoph in the comments)

Created by MESO for BMW…

“Originally developed for the BMW show in Hall 11 at the IAA in Frankfurt, MESO developed software and graphics for 10 electronic telescopes. At one of the ten rotating telescopes, positioned around the BMW show, the visitor can see the real image of the automobiles around him and an additional virtual layer giving further information about the specifics of the car.”

View information

Virtual Sightseeing, YDreams
Virtual Sightseeing

“Journey beyond what your eyes can see with Virtual Sightseeing® – YDreams new scenic viewer for parks, monuments and heritage sites”.

(via @PauloMoreira on twitter)

Curious Displays

Curious Displays

Curious Displays is the thesis project of Julia Yu Tsao (Sept 2009), a concept that explores our future relationship with displays in the home. What if our display was ‘alive’, like little swarming bugs? What if your nano display was intelligent, connected to objects in your house and your communications?

“Curious Displays is a product proposal for a new platform for display technology. Instead of a fixed form factor screen, the display surface is instead broken up into hundreds of ½ inch display blocks. Each block operates independently as a self-contained unit, and has full mobility, allowing movement across any physical surface. The blocks operate independently of one another, but are aware of the position and role relative to the rest of the system. With this awareness, the blocks are able to coordinate with the other blocks to reconfigure their positioning to form larger display surfaces and forms depending on purpose and function.”

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Curious Displays

Of course it would get very annoying if you are watching Finding Nemo and it starts running around the room, but the project shows a different approach to ambient displays ubiquitous computing. The production of this concept, (animation by shadedbox, sound Jason Chung), is done to a high standard, making these tiny displays feel alive.

So how would we control these displays of the future? Tsao suggests:

“The user would need control of not just the usual channels and volume, but movement, functionality, and behavior, as well. What types of buttons would we have to have for the system? Would there be an array of buttons for different shapes and aspect ratios? For different types of functionality? For different display personalities, even? ”

Curious Displays

Tired of these little guys following you around all day, demanding your attention? Then whack the kill switch in your back pocket.

Curious Displays

Nice work.

Grazing Jellies

Grazing Jellies

Grazing Jellies is an augmented reality project by Hudson Powell, commissioned by the Abandon Normal Devices festival (previously in Liverpool, this time in the Lake District, North West England).

Grazing Jellies

A screen set in the forest provides a real time portal into a virtual world of hidden jelly/slug like creatures. The creatures react to movement, from the trees or people, going off to sniff out whats happening. When passers by make a noise in front of the screen, the creatures come up close to investigate.

Grazing Jellies

The software was created in openFrameworks by programmers Neil Mendoza and Victor Martins. Although site specific to this forest, the scene builder allows them to construct the environment on site, from creating polygon obstacles to positioning the virtual camera to match the webcam (shown below).

Grazing Jellies

The music & sound was created by Jean-Gabriel Becker. There is a backing soundtrack, and then each slug has a track in its head that gets louder as it gets closer to the screen.

Grazing Jellies

Some videos on the development blog.

(also on Wired)

The Artvertiser

The Artvertiser
I am a big fan of the works Berlin based Julian Oliver (see Fijuu2, levelHead & q3apd) so I am very pleased to see his latest work, The Artvertiser, come to life at the recent Transmediale.

“The Artvertiser is an urban, hand-held Improved Reality project exploring on-site substitution of advertising content for the purposes of exhibiting art.”

The project was initiated by Julian Oliver in February 2008 and is being developed in collaboration with Clara Boj, Diego Diaz (hardware) and Damian Stewart (software).

“The Artvertiser considers Puerta del Sol Madrid, Times Square New York, Shibuya Tokyo and other sites dense with advertisements as potential exhibition space. An instrument of conversion and reclamation, The Artvertiser takes imagery seen by millions and re-purposes it as a surface for the presentation of art”

“The Artvertiser software is trained to recognise individual advertisements, each of which become a virtual ‘canvas’ on which an artist can exhibit images or video when viewed through the hand-held device. After training, where ever the advertisement appears, the chosen art will appear instead when viewed live through the hand-held device. It doesn’t matter whether the advertisement is on a building, in a magazine or on the side of a vehicle.”

Watch video

Its a fantastic use of Augmented Reality. Of course this software could work on netbooks, smart phones / iPhones etc, but what interests me most is the custom hardware device (shown below)…

Billboard Intercept Prototype
“A set of urban and weather-proof digital binoculars have been built. This device guarantees high-quality immersive advertisement substitution and is be more performant for AR applications than any hand-held device currently available; equipped with a high-quality wide-angle lens, fast CPU and GPU, powerful wireless adapter, long battery life and plenty of solid state storage space.”

The Artvertiser

I would much rather have a portable device like that than view it on a phone. The styling is great too, retro games machine feel (like these).

The Artvertiser

Augmented Reality Roundup

I’ve never really written very much about augmented reality on Pixelsumo, just an alternative reality. The other week I was talking at an Augmented Planet event, where various demos were shown & discussed.

I am slightly cynical towards AR because many things I have seen don’t work, so I decided to post some projects that I actually do like.

For me, bad uses of augmented reality are where it is used just as a gimmick. Showing a 3D model on a marker? I mean common, the ARToolKit was developed nearly 10 years ago! The experience has to be meaningful, with the technology being part of the context in which it is used, and enhance an experience, not making it harder. If you are aware of the technology as the main focus, then it hasn’t worked.

Watch this parody video
Me too (doing some AR stuff)

Or how bad is this? :)
Transformers Augmented Reality

A lot of marker based stuff doesn’t work, due to lighting conditions, obscuring the marker or just being too slow. The problem is that we get used to these flaws as part of the experience of using AR, so we just accept them.

To be honest, I’m not keen on the concepts of augmented magazines, corporate brochures, band videos & business cards. What happens when the novelty of AR wears off?

So what do I like?

Le monde des montagnes
Written about previously already. Lovely.

levelHead by Julian Oliver is a great spatial memory game. Players use a plastic cube, each side covered in an AR marker, acting as a window into a virtual room, whilst tilting the cube to make the character walk. I like this because the display cube is used as a tangible link into the virtual world, and the markers themselves help act as visual helpers to remembering which rooms belong to the cube sides.

Augmented Reality Magic
Marco Tempest - Augmented Reality Magic
Augmented illusions from the ‘virtual magician’ Marco Tempest, watch video. Whilst in contemporary magic you have no idea how a trick is done, here its easy to say ‘oh its done in the computer’. However there are traditional card tricks linked into some AR graphics here. The system recognises the cards (rather than needing AR markers), with the software for this magic being created by Zach Lieberman & Theo Watson. Pictures of the software in action here.

Also check out the Magic Projection (created by Zach for Marco).

In EyePet, Sony have brought AR to the masses in a game, much more accessible than any other attempt at AR for homes before it. More of an advanced toy than fully fledged game, you control your virtual pet via the PSEye camera as the interface. As well as motion vectors from your hands movement, they have used ‘magic card’ as AR markers to let you interact with your pet (shown here). Most impressive is the technology to turn your drawings into 3d objects that the pet can ride & play with (shown above). Watch this video, and this one. I suspect when the new PS3 motion controller is released this spring will bring a host of improvements to EyePet.

Lego Digital Box
Lego Digital Box
When you take a child to buy a box of Lego, the box doesn’t just show the pieces that are inside in a random pile, it shows that these pieces can (or should) be made into. Watch video. So its a very logical idea to let children see what their creations could look like when finished & also animate them. Why is it good? In store you get to instantly see how the Lego pieces animate, and the technology doesn’t rely on large ugly AR markers. Created by Metaio for Lego (via Notcot)

Augmented Reality Pool
“The RCVLab at Queen’s University demonstrates Deep Green, a pool playing robot, and ARPool, an augmented reality system for teaching the science of pool”. Watch video. Sure it works as a training aid, but also opens up ideas for creating new rules & games on a pool table. Although, this Obscura Digital product might be too distracting?

Total Immersion
Total Immersion
French company Total Immersion are one of the leaders in this field for years. They have done too much to mention (3d face mapping, markerless space tracking, pattern recognition), but check out their videos here. Also check out the videos of team member Emmanuel here for tonnes of great behind the scenes & experiments.

AR on iphone
Yes there have been a few apps that overlay arrows pointing at tube stations, and demos of using the AR toolkit, but the marker-less space tracking is really going to be the key to success. Apple, please allow developers to use the camera in your sdk!

The Active Vision Group of the Oxford University Engineering Department created PTAM (Parallel Tracking and Mapping) by Georg Klein & David Murray, watch this awesome video (from 2007). Now supports multiple cameras & multiple maps (with source code), see PTAMM. As you can see from this video, they have PTAM running on iPhone.

I suspect that other companies, such as Total Immersion & Metaio have iPhone technology ready to go when Apple buck up their ideas. Why is this important? Well the popularity of the device could see interesting AR apps and games appearing that really push the boundaries of outdoor AR and pervasive gaming.

Augmented Reality Toys
Augmented Reality Toys
For his final project of Interaction Design Master degree, Frantz Lasorne created a toy prototype, asking the question how we might play if wearing a head mounted AR viewer device (view videos). Read about the project here.