Roseate World of Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality — seeing more while looking at ordinary things — how cool is that? A ground for endless imagination. Adding to reality, not replacing it. Woah!

The basic concept is that a 2D or 3D object triggers a pop-up of another piece of content.

A trigger can be:

  • 2D object (an image, sign, printed or digital ad, traffic sign, christmas card, a letter — whatever)
  • 3D object (a building, YOU, candle, Christmas tree, your cat — if it sits still)
  • GPS location

When a trigger is identified, you’re now able to see AR effect:

  • another image
  • a 3D model
  • a video
  • text message (maybe some advice or a commercial?)
  • an action point (buy button, link to Google maps, a coupon to be redeemed as part of sales promotion campaign, a field to enter information to move further in whatever you’re doing)

While your imagination goes beyond limits here, the tools to experience AR are quite limited at this point:

  • smartphone camera+screen+app — mobile AR when you see extra info through the screen of your phone by pointing the camera at the trigger — the most promising application of technology at the moment in my opinion, still for individual use, needs an app to be developed and installed
  • glasses (like Google glasses) — still questionable and for individual usage only
  • projections — this is a mass tool allowing to experience AR in a company, quite expensive to set up though.

And now it’s time for tools:

  1. Aurasma — web based tool — you just upload a trigger and the outcome and voila! everyone who installs the app (both iOS and Android) and follows you can enjoy your piece of augmented art Over the weekend I tested this on my friend and her Christmas tree photo — FANTASTIC!.. and so easy.
  2. ARToolKit — requires an app to be built in XCode
  3. Vuforia — requires an app to be built in XCode, but is compatible with Unity where an app can be developed without using XCode

Oh, and ideas for advertising!

It was an interesting discovery of so-called user-defined targets. It means that any object that is repeated can be a trigger for the same thing even though it’s not the same object. Let’s imagine you have the same bins, road signs, or chain brands around the city. You uploaded an image of a sign on a bin once, and now everywhere around London they can trigger your ad. Investment — 0 pounds.
Free media? A marketer’s dream?