Augmented Reality Entertainment

AR is on the rise, companies like Google with  Google Glass and Microsoft with its HoloLens. Besides these two big companies with their own products many apps are available to use on smartphones. A interesting company with promising results on AR entertainment is for example Magic Leap a startup company from the US[1] which just recently got significant financial backings. A short demo video is Linked below. But also a visit to Magic Leaps website is really interesting.

 

Another good approach is taken by Zappar. One can create a Zappar code for example for a website and a visitor can use the Zappar app, which is available for iOS and Android to scan the image and then interact with the provided elements. The following video demonstrates the app on the website of BBC Radio 1. While you have your device scanning the image it augments the camera view with previously programmed elements. It is mostly you to connect better with a customer or an audience. In the following example provided below you can do things like taking a selfie and so on.

 

A particular interesting AR application for children is the live texturing app from Disney. The aim of this app is to engage children more in colouring. The idea behind the app is to detect the drawing and track it while an animated 3D version of the character that is textured according to the child’s colouring is augmented.The app is based on two technical contributions in the field of real-time and deformable surface tracking. An algorithm was developed to create a lookup map for existing pixel to automatically create this map for drawings. In the future other applications can profit from the newly found technologies. Furthermore the app could eventually bring the effect the researches hoped for. A questionnaire which evaluates the end-user appreciation of the AR colouring book app suggests that skill as well as motivation to draw increased another effect was that the connection between the character and the child increased a lot. In conclusion the app not only engages children to draw more, they also get more attached to the character they drew.[2]

A short demonstration is shown in the video below.

 

A big part of entertainment in augmented reality are games and there are a wide range of it available. One of the best-selling video games is Minecraft with over 70 million copies sold[3]. Microsoft showed on E3 2015 in Los Angeles how the future of gaming could look like. In a impressive demonstration they showed how any flat surface, like a table can be augmented with the world of Minecraft. For the presentation the HoloLens was used and the player was able to manipulate the world in an innovative way. If you haven’t seen the presentation, it is linked below for your convenience.

 

For the 20th anniversary of Pokémon Nintendo announced a new game is for 2016 which is kind of revolutionary[4]. The concept is, that the real world is the playground for Pokémon GO and the player can use a smartphone and the camera to see the little monster. It is kind of like a paperchase and the game uses the location and compass as well as other sensors to complete the players’ experience. Pokémon GO shows what is possible now in the game sector and combines different technologies to create a new kind of gaming experience.

 

Although games are a huge part of entertainment in augmented reality there is a new approach in china. The Landmark Entertainment Group is planning to build a theme park with the new technologies Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (Mixed Reality). With the design concept for the L.I.V.E. Centre (Landmark Interactive Virtual Experience) are they pioneers in the field. They goal is to launch the park in the next three years in china.  [5]

The Europa Park in Germany is using another concept for their theme park. Altough it is not augemneted reality it is worth to mention it to show how a theme park in the future could look like. While riding the rollercoaster you wear a VR headset and experience the ride with different, more spectacular pictures. [6].

A video from the Europark how they use VR in their park on the roller coasters

 

Another place where augmented reality is used are museums. A lot of different museums upgrade to this technology. They aim to is to engage more with the visitors and make a visits in a museum more exciting and to provide new ways for imparting knowledge. An new to possibility for museums are for example to show things that are usually hidden. An example is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A Van Gogh painting was used to show different views, for example x-ray, infrared, ultraviolet and the back of the painting. Theses views are normally not accessible for museums visitor. Another good example is old technology like a radio. The museum visitor can mostly see what the radio looks like from the outside or if the museums has deconstructed the radio. With augmented reality the visitor can use an app to see what is inside the radio. The museum saves space for exhibits and the visitor has access to more information an is more engaged.[7] An example video is provided below how augmented reality could look like in a museum.

 

[1] http://www.wired.com/2015/02/magic-leap-reddit/

[2] http://www.ieee.org/conferences_events/conferences/conferencedetails/index.html?Conf_ID=36142

[3] http://hexus.net/gaming/news/industry/84371-minecraft-sales-reach-70-million-20-million-copies-sold-pc/

[4] http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-go/

[5] http://fortune.com/2015/06/18/ar-vr-theme-park-china/

[6] http://www.20min.ch/leben/reisen/story/17080358

[7] http://www.emaa.uzh.ch/static/assets/ar_museum_web.pdf

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