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Tag Archives: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality Gives Greeting Cards a Virtual Facelift

Augmented-reality greeting cards

Greeting cards have been around for decades. It’s time they got an upgrade, don’t you think?

That’s what tech company DAQRI is trying to do with their Gizmo Kickstarter project. They look like typical greeting cards…until you point your tablet towards it. Instead of seeing the plain card on your screen, it’ll literally come to life with a short but fun interactive animation. The cards can be customized depending on the occasion or event being celebrated, including birthdays, Christmas, and Valentine’s day.

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August Smart Lock Takes Home Security to the Next Level…Socially

August Smart Lock

Smart security systems are nothing new, but August takes things to a whole new level by making it social with the August Smart Lock. The product of the work of designer Yves Béhar and technology entrepreneur Jason Johnson, the lock functions like most other smart locks in the market which unlock when the virtual or digital key is detected nearby.

Its defining function is perhaps its social features which makes it easy for the homeowner to provide access to family, friends, and guests when they come over to visit. The lock can be easily retrofitted to fit existing deadbolts, so there’s definitely no problem on that end. In fact, its makers explain that it should just be a quick two-screw job for about 90% of US-made deadbolts.

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Surprise: X-Ray App That Lets You See Under Catalog Models’ Clothing Actually Boosts Sales

By David Ponce

It’s hard to think of a better way to showcase augmented reality technology than by making use of it to undress models. Case in point is the latest marketing push by outerwear retailer Moosejaw. Last month they released an iPhone app that works in conjunction with their print magazine. Get the mag, download the app, and point your camera at select pages on the magazine. While the boring old dead tree reality would show you the models fully clothed, they’d appear in their skivvies on screen. From the video below, the technology works quite well. What seems to work even better is its effect on the company’s bottom line as they’ve seen a 37% increase in sales from the same period in November last year. Other retailers have tried similar products before but Moosejaw seems to have seen the largest impact on sales. What’s more, Gary Wohlfeill, the company’s creative director, said that although they’re pleased with the increased ROI, their ultimate goal was to delight their subscriber base and build long term loyalty.

Nearly naked models will do that.

VIA [ Mashable ]

Niklas Roy’s PING! Mixes Old-School PONG With A Touch Of Modern Augmented Reality

Niklas Roy's PING! (Images courtesy Niklas Roy)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s no paddles, no score and no ultimate goal, but Niklas Roy’s PONG! Augmented Pixel game still looks like it would be incredibly fun to play with, and hard to walk away from. He describes it as a sort of sandbox game, not unlike GTA, but not anything like it either. Built as a standalone hardware box, the game has a single video input which takes a live feed from a video camera, and a video and audio out for connecting it to a television. In fact the electronics inside are fairly simple by today’s standards, and Niklas believes his device could have easily been built back in the 70’s. Though it would cost heaps more than it does today.

Instead of paddles, the white ball seen on screen bounces around between two white lines, but it can also interact with a dark object in the video feed. So you can use your hands, fingers or anything with adequate contrast to be a makeshift paddle. The lack of scoring might make it seem like a useless tech demo, but seeing it in action below makes it look pretty addictive. The old school video game sound effects at boot-up and while playing are a nice touch too.

[ Niklas Roy’s PING! Augmented Pixel ] VIA [ Today and Tomorrow ]

ShelvAR Augmented Reality App Automatically Sorts Library Shelves – Will Librarians Ever Catch A Break?

ShelvAR Augmented Reality App (Image courtesy Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group)
By Andrew Liszewski

As if the sting of ebook readers starting to make places like libraries obsolete wasn’t enough, now a team of researchers from Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group have created an app that lets any schmuck with a camera-equipped tablet or smartphone be an amateur librarian. ShelvAR, seen in the video below demonstrated with a Galaxy Tab, reads a special spine tag that corresponds to each book’s call number and automatically tells the user which tomes are out of place, and where they need to go. The algorithm behind the app also automatically determines the minimal number of moves necessary to sort a specific row of books, and then marks the ones that are out of place with a red X.

At the moment beta versions of the app have successfully worked with shelves containing up to 12 books, but given a library usually holds a few more editions than that, the researchers hope it can eventually be scaled up to sort an entire shelf. But that will depend on the camera’s ability to differentiate the spine tags, which are limited in size to the size of the actual books.

[ Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group – ShelvAR ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Augmented Reality TagCandy

Augmented Reality TagCandy (Image courtesy DigInfoTV)
By Andrew Liszewski

Like the engineering students behind yesterday’s AutoFrost Cake Decorator, Japanese researchers at Keio University’s Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory have come to realize there’s far more important research to undertake than say cloning sheep. Instead, they’re improving candy using augmented reality. Their TagCandy system uses an actual sucker attached to a fairly hefty sensor/speaker device. When it detects the candy has touched your tongue, the vibration speaker kicks in and is able to recreate various physical effects in your mouth like drinking a fizzy carbonated drink, biting into a crisp apple, or even fireworks. And when your teeth touch the candy, you’ll even hear sounds thanks to the effects of bone conduction.

Their ultimate goal is to develop a system where a neutral flavored sucker could end up tasting like anything you’d want it to, with people even developing and sharing their own flavors online.

[ DigInfo TV – Variable Candy Sensations Using Augmented Reality – TagCandy ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

Home Depot’s Augmented Reality Video Gift Cards

Home Depot's Augmented Reality Video Gift Card (Image courtesy Home Depot)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s a certain stigma that goes along with giving someone a gift card. It’s like saying I wanted to give you a present, but didn’t want to spend the time figuring out what you’d like. Now that may not always be the case, sometimes people can be incredibly picky (guilty) so a gift card could be the easiest option. And Home Depot’s new gift cards go a little further when it comes to making them feel a bit more personal. Using augmented reality the cards let you upload a video message that will play back whenever you visit a specific website and hold the card up to a webcam. Now I’m pretty sure Home Depot didn’t develop these on their own, and I’m going to assume they’ll be offered by other stores soon enough, but when it comes to novelty gift card designs the Home Depot has just taken the lead away from Target.

[ Home Depot’s Augmented Reality Video Gift Card ] VIA [ ChipChick ]