Do you remember this scene from Star Wars (chapter IV I believe... the first one that came out in 1977), where Luke is watching a 3D message from Obiwankenobi, relayed out of R2D2?
Well my friends... it is here.
This foreward thinking Star Wars image, is what I think of as I am watching the exciting technology of Augmented Reality become a powerful tool. It's been around for a few years, but at ridiculous costs and labor intensive hours. Now however... we can download our own software and it comes in the form of a 2.5" x 2.5" code. All you need is a computer, with monitor and a webcam. It's being used for entertainment, as teaching tools for students, for marketing the most ordinary of products, as "thank you's" and as greetings. The opportunities to use this jaw dropping technology are endless. Here are a few ways I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch... and fun to market.
Being a music lover, I am thrilled at the endless opportunities I can foresee augmented reality being used in that industry. I would love to see my favorite band, TRAIN, code their tickets with an augmented reality concert. Can you imagine, getting your ticket(s) in the mail, holding them up to your webcam (after quickly uploading the software from http://www.trainline.com/) and watching a 2-3 minute recorded live concert of their latest release, in 3D !!?? Better yet, I can already imagine how the clip of "Drops of Jupiter" or "Hey Soul Sister" could look! Getting better... what if different tickets had one of 4 different songs?! Some live, some music videos, some studio recordings! Of course, they'd have to put the code on the stub so we can take it home, watch it forever and enjoy TRAIN'S awesomeness in 3D at our leisure. Ahead of the game, John Mayer's group HAS used augmented reality. Here's a music video using the technology. I'd like it more if John looked more "real", recorded on a green screen, or however it has to be done to not be graphicy. Great thinking from Mayer camp. Music video John Mayer "Heartbreak Warfare" released in Fall 2009.
Do you have a baseball crazed fan in your life? It's just about that time of year. This Topps 3D trading card will make them squeal! No matter what age they are...
Robert Downey Jr. who had "Sherlock Holmes" coming out in December, teamed up with Esquire Magazine for this issue from November of 2009... viewer video:
and Esquire's video tour of what this issue can do:
Hallmark Greetings has augmented itself with their popular Hoops & Yo Yo line. Check out this augmented reality Valentine greeting that became available for purchase in January. The thought of this type of greeting card during the Christmas holidays relieves me a bit, so we all won't have to "Elf Ourselves" one more time through Jib Jab only, anymore. Thanks to Ryan of The Digital Lifestyle for trying this out:
Here's my friend, Whitney Mathews, from the Social Media Club of Kansas City, demonstrating one of the Hallmark Augmented Reality Valentine cards handed out at a recent club breakfast (that I missed!).
Clothing is getting in on the game too. Adidas has come out with 5 pairs of shoes with an imprinted code on the tongue of each shoe, so you can see the augmented reality city they have created on your screen via your webcam.
Here's the teaser they sent out in January of 2010:
Brights and Stripes has come out with KIDS CLOTHING that come to life! Check out these fun clothes for kids... talk about sparking imagination! These kids are little, but I see where teens would love to have an enhanced look... emo kids, or gothic kids, athletes who can appear to have a football helmet with pads and jersey from their favorite team on... or look as though you're on a stage, or behind the President of the United States desk... Wow!
I found augmented reality T-shirts that play you in countless games of paper, rock, scissors with what appears to be a 3rd arm coming out of your chest! As well, there are LEGO products, that allow you to print the coded form out on paper from their website and hold it up to your webcam for your child to admire the 3D end result. There's even augmented reality business cards to really stand out from the crowd.
I am excited and encouraged by what I am finding with this technology. Time is in warp speed. We look back at the industrial revolution as the most dramatic timeframe that had the biggest changes in our world. I dare say, the last 5 years has been our most adventureous... I don't think we've begun to scratch the surface as to what we will have in our hands in the next 5years. If you have found some jaw dropping augmented reality uses, pah leeeese let me know. I can't get enough of it!