Monthly Archives: October 2009

Layar reaches the iphone – AR for everyone?

You can tell I have a 3GS in my hands now, a few more hands on tests of apps. I had been waiting until the Augmented Reality service linkages were unleashed. Today it got even better with the Layar the AR browser appearing for download. It works really well, with either simple searches of google showing up in your heads up display as you pan your iphone (or Android phone) around.
The key is of course the layers. Different providers providing different sets of data, from twitter to flickr and even wikipedia.
It is so simple and stunningly effective.
Even better though (and this saves me a job having to do it) is that they are going from static pins and icons to animated 3d objects placed in AR space in November
Now surely this is where we get a to define the objects in relative space and store them in opensim as the source for the layer. I am thinking in particular of things like mirror world builds being able to easily be mapped to physical space. Tagging real world places so people can visit them in the mirror world and vice versa.
Even the elements of slight more obscure things, think of some very good blended real and virtual world applications (the list of which in my head deserves its own post very soon).
Easy, free, relatively accessible with a popular device set. I think Layar has just set themselves up as the the AR equivalent of Second Life on virtual worlds, or Google in search.

3dVIA on the iphone

This video (thanks to @andysc for tweeting it) shows the 3dvia iphone browser for models in action, and providing a degree of augmented reality. The ability to view and examine3d objects on with the touch interface of the iphone is the important part. The elements of superimposing on a static photo is really AR lite. At the end the piece that is thrown is as a joke is really something that is happening with rapid fabrication.
So now someone needs to combine the realtime AR elements of video with the excellent modelling renditions from 3dvia. Hang on, I have an iphone now and I am a registered developer. Hmmm…. to the lab.

Here is a car in the palm of my hand.

Washing away cave paintings – Live

This week sees me on the road for two presentations of Washing Away Cave Paintings.
The first is tonight for a joint BCS/IET branch meeting in Swindon to IT professional and Engineers.
The second is on Thursday on London at Workplace Trends. (Somewhere I spoke last year, so hopefully I don’t cover too much of the same ground). This time the audience are property and real estate managers for business.
The same presentation, and with a slight addition from the original one back in march at the Derry Awakening Creative Entrepreneurship. The addition being a picture of presenting the same presentation in Second Life is a different way and a Kzero chart.

(Not to self really must do a voiceover for this one day!)
The message fits people, as much as the specifics of a job role or area of interest. I think the diversity of audiences and the positive feedback from them (so far) shows that this still has a way to go.
It is not just about virtual worlds, nor about the tech to operate with them. We are all experiencing a change to work and social life where the tech is a conduit. Whilst it has fashions, trends and quirks we are very much more connected to a more diverse set of people than at any time in human history.

Augmented Reality Magic

I just bumped into this magic video using some of the sort of Augmented Reality things that we are seeing emerge for real on devices like the iphones. The award winning magician Marco Tempest is making some of the close up magic we see on TV start to incorporate AR, but not in a way that is just cheating with a camera trick. Obviously at the moment some of the elements are clever live editing into the performance, but it is the more descriptive and engaging visualizations that help tell the story of the pack of cards that prove the most interesting.

The underlying techniques and tricks may well be the same ones used by many magicians, but the techno showmanship really appeals, whilst also being actually possible right now.

Virtual goods for marketing engagement

As I blogged on I am very much looking forward to the driving fest that is Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360) this month. However I was just struck by how interesting and experimental some of the marketing in and around the game is. Forza is not just about driving but about the cars as content. User generated paintwork and art on the cars are tradeable as are specific tuning setups. The car is the container for the content. Many games recently have allowed early downloadable pieces of content custom to a particular provider or pre-ordering allowing you access. This particular example is a twist on that. (I am not saying its a first, but its certainly not the norm)
So the offer is that if you go to a blog article and comment by joining in on the “What are your top ten driving songs” you get to receive this Zune branded Audi when the game is released.
Zune Audi
So we have a marketing stream that is engaging us to join in on a blog, but talking about music as it relates to cars, and is “sponsored” by Zune the Microsoft music player. On receiving the car we then have a Zune advert, that is in fact limited edition, that we may choose to use in online races. This being an example of owning the 3d content, but being able to atleast show and use it with other people who don’t own it. Also the songs will start to form driving playlists on the Zune marketplace.
In exchange for being interested and sharing, we get to feel engaged yet also become the advertiser for the Zune. It does not leave me feeling exploited or sold too, its a great pattern, and now I am blogging about it. UPDATE: I forgot to mention the irony or otherwise that I opened my iTunes when compiling my list of top ten favourite driving tunes for the competition entry.
The article if you want to join in and have an Xbox Live Gold account is here

Explorers, Anchors and Historians – Who is the trouble maker?

Whilst out cycling and dealing with a rather annoying puncture on the cliff top overlooking the Solent I was struck by the description of a concept that I needed to think about some more and then share. The solent has often been the gateway to some great exploration, it has some significant history around Portsmouth and Southampton and it is also a safe port for many a vessel.
HMS Victory
This trinity of classification seems to apply to the adoption of new ideas, new ways of working, new products.
The Explorers go out and discover, they invent, they sing the praises of the new world. They risk a great deal, but the risk is the reward for many.
The Anchors offer a safe haven, keeping things in place, giving an explorer somewhere to launch from and return (triumphantly) to.
The Historians remember, capture keep and preserve both the good and the bad. They keep old ways of doing things alive.
We need all three, but sometimes the system goes out of balance and that can be any one of the set but the most frequent in my experience is the following.
The Explorers head out, discover and return. The Anchors worry about having to haul anchor, find ways and means of not accepting what the Explorer has found. The Historians back up the Anchors with the “this is the way we have always done it” or “it did not work last time so…”.
Generally the Explorer will battle with the Anchors to justify the expedition, but a strong Anchor just has not reason to move.
In reality the Explorer should target the Historians, showing them there are other ways of working to preserve, new exhibits and generally forget the Anchors altogether.
Why does this make sense, well if the Anchors are in control the system stops completely. The explorers wont go out and find anything, the anchors wont move on and so the historians have nothing to preserve as old. Everything will remain static and the same just as the anchor needs it.
If the Historians demand history to record, and the Explorers find new ports to anchor in and provide that change then the system works.
So, and excuse the pun, don’t let the Anchor’s drag us down.
It is not the free and fancy explorer that is the trouble maker here, nor the Historian seeking to preserve the old ways is the Anchor.
I speak as an explorer and sometime historian, which of the three are you?