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Augmented Reality in the Drivers’ Seat

February 10, 2012 at 9:30 am PST

Augmented reality (AR) isn’t new but it definitely continues to gain momentum and is becoming a driving force in the way we engage with our content rich world. An AR experience is appealing to most age demographics because it enables us to interact in fresh and engaging ways with a variety of mediums. So no surprise that ABI Research estimates the market for augmented reality in the US will reach $350 million in 2014. That’s up from only $6 million in 2008!

I have explained in past blog posts what AR is in detail, see the below list of blog links to learn more. To recap for those who are new to the concept Wikipedia defines augmented reality (AR) as a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

Here is an example of AR solutions that have been generating a lot of buzz and excitement J

At CES this year Mercedes Benz unveiled their experimental networked applications with augmented-reality and gesture-controlled features. Of course Mercedes is not the only automaker exploring how to make the car smarter and most are experimenting with voice controlled features because obviously there are safety concerns with these approaches.

“Cars are becoming platforms to participate in the digital world in a fully networked sense, just like your tablets can and your phones can,” said Venkatesh Prasad, a senior technical leader with Ford Motor Co.’s innovation division. “It’s our job to take those computing services people are used to at 0 mph and make them available at 70 mph.”

For example, icons flash on your car windshield, hologram style, as your car approaches restaurants, stores, historic landmarks or the homes of friends. Point at them, and the icons open to show real-time information such as when that building was built, concert schedules at a local theater, or reservation options at a restaurant. Wave your hand again, and you’ve made a restaurant reservation. Or take Mercedes’ messaging app which will create a menu of text options based on your location and your car’s speed — “I’m stuck in traffic,” or “I’m just north of San Jose” — and display them on the screen. So if you are late to a meeting you can choose from the options  and push a button to post the one that fits, instead of having to manually type the words.

These systems are not road ready yet and most automakers are looking beyond to making the road safer by working on systems that would allow vehicles to talk to each other about road conditions, weather and traffic issues. Read More »

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AR Gets Smart and Goes 3D

June 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm PST

Augmented reality was all the hype in 2011 but today many feel it may be losing its appeal due to laggy performance , most agree it will be quite some time before it used widely by the mainstream.

However some recent news shines a spot light on how augmented reality is evolving and becoming more appealing to the majority.

There are some devices on or coming on the market that enable 3D…drum roll…without the glasses! Many of these are handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS and the LG Optimus 3D smart phone which both leverage AR to enable some engaging end user experiences such as:

  1.  The Nintendo 3DS comes with a packet of AR cards that enable you to play games such as Archery, AR Shots, Fishing and more. Using the system’s camera to read the cards and then  project the games onto any flat surface such as your desk or hand.

 

  1. Wikitude will deploy a 3D AR browser on the LG Optimus 3D. Using the phone’s built-in GPS to locate your position, the camera displays your current view on the screen and icons are overlaid providing information on your surroundings.

 These are really positive advances for 3D and AR but they still require that AR marker to scan or rely on GPS in order to deliver the AR experience. That is why Sony’s SmartAR announcement is truly exciting as it requires no marker in order to deliver the AR experience. Read More »

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