By Andrew Liszewski
Here’s a 21st century take on those pop-up books that fascinated us as kids. Instead of using intricately designed and engineered origami contraptions to make a 3D world pop out of a book as you turn the pages, a company called Metaio uses a run-of-the-mill webcam (I’m sure it has a minimum resolution requirement) and a custom piece of camera recognition software to make a 3D world appear on your computer’s screen. The company’s Augmented Reality technology was recently shown off at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany with an upcoming interactive 3D book called Aliens & UFOs which superimposes planets and alien spacecraft on the page when the book is held up to the webcam.
What’s particularly neat about Metaio’s Augmented Reality technology is that it doesn’t require any special tracking markers to appear on the page. Instead, the exact dimensions and layout of the page is what the software uses to track its position in 3D space and perfectly superimpose the objects in real-time. So in other words, the book’s layout has to be 100% complete before the software portion can be written. But imagine how cool it would be to get an Augmented Reality IKEA catalog in the mail that allows you to see a 3D layout of the room and furniture on your PC?