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27 Oct

Mobile devices: the red herring or the diamond in the rough?

Augmented Reality

Using mobile devices to access virtual worlds pops up every now and again on the radar. For example companies like Vollee and Sun have developed applications allowing Second Life on a phone. That’s all well and good but….

I’m just not sold on this idea and just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. On a very simple basis the screen size of a mobile phone is too small to effectively serve up a virtual world. Then you have the issue of control and UI – standard device keys are unable to offer equivalent controls. Thirdly bandwidth – there’s not enough. So, combine these three factors and I don’t think it works.

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29 Sep

Superstruct – alternative reality forecasting

Augmented Reality

Created by the Institute for the Future (such a cool name), Superstruct is a MMO-type alternative reality forecasting game. The real and virtual worlds are tied together, meshed together by a narrative and sequence of events. Orders and instructions are given online but players have to execute them in the real world.

The narrative and essence of Superstruct is a series of superthreats to the world in 2019 – global viruses, energy crisis, food shortages, those types of threats.

The Q&A’s neatly sum-up what’s going down here (which is what they should be doing anyway)….

A: Superstruct is the worlds first massively multiplayer forecasting game. By playing the game, youll help us chronicle the world of 2019–and imagine how we might solve the problems we’ll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. Its about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential.

Q: Why should I play Superstruct?

A: Here are some of our favorite reasons: Because
youre curious about the future, because you want to make friends and
collaborators all over the planet, because you want to learn how to become a
future forecaster, and because you want to change the world.

Q: Who can play Superstruct?

Everyone! The more players, the better the collective forecast.

Q: How do I play Superstruct?

A: Superstruct is played on forums, blogs, videos, wikis, and other familiar online spaces. We show you the world as it might look in 2019. You show us what its like to live there. Bring what you know and who you know, and well all figure out how to make 2019 a world we want to live in.

Q: Who is making Superstruct?

A: Superstruct is being developed by the Ten-Year Forecast team at the Institute for the Future, a not-for-profit think tank based in Palo Alto, California. Project leads include TYF director Kathi Vian, blogger and futurist Jamais Cascio, and game designer Jane McGonigal.

Q: When can I play Superstruct?

A: The game starts October 6, 2008, and it will last for six weeks. Top
Superstructure Honors will be given out by our celebrity game masters favorite
superstructures at the end of the game, on November 17.

Check it out.


13 Sep

The future of gaming – PS9

Hitting the shelves senses in 2020? Home might have launched by then as well ;)

11 Sep

AR in-car videogame

Not so good in the dark, butdefinitelyone for the kids on a long journey.


6 Sep

Can you see me now?

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality gaming hits the streets. For now they may be considered geeks, but they’re fit geeks. More info here.


26 Aug

Virtual pets on your real world desktop

Sony EyePet is a toy 2.0 application recently showcased at theLeipzig Game Conference in Germany. It’s scheduled for release towards the back-end of 2009. This is yet another example of simple AR technology (more here), this time for a younger audience. What I love about this is the simplicity of the interface – forget having to use a keyboard or mouse to engage – try your hands instead.

Thinking about these types of apps more holistically, there’s real power here in terms of bridging the adoption gap between early adopters and the early majority – as the technology gets more and more advanced, the actual uses/products/applications get simpler.

23 Aug

Hints of the (augmented reality) future: HP TV ads

Here’s a near complete set of the recent’ish ‘The Computer is Personal Again’ TV ads from HP. A glimpse into the potential of augmented reality.


Mark Burnett

JY Park


Jay Z

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Great (and simple) examples of Augmented Reality

In the bespoke K Zero report written for Virtual Worlds Management (for the LA and London Expo’s), we’re offering our thoughts on emerging technologies and applications in 2009. Although it’s highly unlikely to see early commericalised AR apps appearing next year, we’re now starting to see some great examples of how AR can be used and we expect early prototypes hitting the radar very shortly.

Over on the petitinvention blog, there’s exactly that – some great visuals of simple (I use that termcomparatively) AR in action. If you’re interested in AR, head over to the site, here. AR is actually quite a difficult subject to explain using words alone, and you know us, we like pictures.

HD Vision Glasses, now just $19.95

If only!

But hey, they’ve got a Euro style design. Which is nice.

Augmented reality and dynamic contextualisation

Sling that puppy out at a dinner party, i dare you.

Folks from the Departments of Advertising and Computer Science at Michigan State University have recently published a relating to augmented reality (learn about the METLAB). The paper titled ‘Increasing Sales in Supermarkets via Real-Time Information’ explains a leading-edge idea conceptualised by Wei Zhu, Charles Owen, Hairong Li and Joo-Hyun Lee, called the PromoPad.

Here’s an extract.

Augmented reality technologies as a new way of human computer interaction make possible real-time modification of our perception of reality without active user interference. This paper introduces the prototype of an augmented reality shopping assistant device, the PromoPad, based on a hand-held Tablet PC allowing see-through vision with augmentations. While this new interaction utilizing augmented reality that places products into contextual settings can enhance shopping experience and suggest complementary products, it also has challenges and issues to be used in a public environment such as a store setting. This paper discusses the design and implementation of the PromoPad, and addresses the issues and possible solutions. The concept of dynamic contextualization is further investigated in this setting with a list of possible context modifications and their relation to advertising and the psychology of consumer purchasing.

So, put simply, this is a handheld device designed to assist consumers when they’re shopping by creating virtual objects overlaid, beside or instead of real-world objects.

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