The AR Impact….

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2011 4:17pm

‘Reality leaves a lot to the imagination’ John Lennon

Blog by Colin Ward (who promised a free John Lennon quote with every post!)

Introduced By:
Lester Madden, Director, Augmented Planet
Nick Brown, CEO & Co-founder, Crossplatform
Scott Fletcher, Head of Interactive, Play Nicely
Produced by:
Lester Madden, Director, Augmented Planet

Blog by Colin Ward (who promised a free John Lennon quote with every post!)

I saw something today that made me go ‘wow’. It was Douglas Adam’s babel fish, an app that lets you point your phone camera at a Spanish sign and will then produce an image of the sign in English. It looked like it was even in a matching font. Take it on holiday and read everything from menus to notes in an art gallery… as long as the gallery is in Spain (other languages are on the way).

Augmented Reality is the technology that allows CGI to overlay the real world in real time and it’s a pretty weird place. Fittingly, the session was presented by a fairly odd double act who came to AR from a marketing perspective. Nick was like a very nice, highly intelligent car salesman and Scott was a cross between Jack Dee and Dylan Moran (particularly enjoyed the clip of Scott sitting glumly in the middle of a cuddly graphic blowing bubbles to demo a Pampers nappies AR campaign).

The session was all about showing the audience AR working because, as Scott explained, you can’t describe AR to people, you have to show it… No, don’t go away. I’m sure it can’t be that hard.

So here’s what happens… you hold up something in front of your webcam, let’s say a Star Wars magazine – this is the marker – and the webcam sends that marker info to the Star Wars website. The website then sends a 3D image of Luke Skywalker to your computer and overlays the image over the real time video image coming from your webcam, making it look like Luke is sitting on top of your magazine. When you put another copy of the magazine next to it, Darth Vadar appears and they have a light-sabre fight.

Does that make sense? It’s CGI in real time, at home. You can use markers or face recognition to lock your graphic onto the real world. It’s brilliant and I want to do something exciting with it.

If you want to know more about AR Nick writes a blog called Augmented Planet. Nick believes that the brand take up for AR indicates that the technology is about to take off (he launched the red button for Sky and knows how these things shape up). He was recently involved in devising a neat campaign for M and S to promote their ten pound meals – customers in the store hold up a £10 note in front of a webcam and a vid clip promoting the meal appears on the note. Sadly it got blocked because the lawyers thought Mrs Windsor might object to her image being used for such purposes.

Scott also showed examples of product marketing for the Star Trek DVD release (the trekkie geeks loved it) and a more interactive online game for the G.I. Joe movie. That was the question everyone was holding on to – great technology, good gimmick, but how do we find a way of making it sustainable. Where will consumers take it? Over to you lot I guess.