In the last year, [Jeri Ellsworth] has been very busy. She was hired by Valve, started development of an augmented reality system, fired by Valve, and started a new company with [Rick Johnson] to bring her augmented reality glasses to the market. On the last Amp Hour podcast she spilled the beans on what went down at Valve, how her glasses work, and what her plans for the future are.
[Jeri] and [Rick]’s castAR glasses aren’t virtual reality glasses like the Oculus Rift or other virtual reality glasses that cut you off from the real world. The castAR glasses preserve your peripheral vision by projecting images and objects onto a gray retro-reflective mat and allows you to interact with a virtual environment with an electronic wand. So far, there are a few demos for the castAR system; a Jenga clone, and a game of battle chess called Team For Chess, a wonderful reference to Valve’s hat simulator.
The electronics inside the castAR glasses are fairly impressive; new frames are drawn on the retro-reflective surface at 100 Hz, positioning accuracy is in the sub-millimeter range, and thanks to [Jeri]’s clever engineering the entire system should be priced at about $200. Not too bad for an awesome device that can be used not only for D&D and Warhammer, but also for some very cool practical applications like visualizing engineering models of 3D prints before they’re printed.
Enjoy losing at pool? Well the folks at Queen’s University just made it a whole lot easier. The Deep Green robot was created with the purpose of playing a flawless game, allowing it to beat even the most skilled human players. More than a couple of research papers have been written on the project. A ceiling-mounted Canon 350D tracks the position of all of the balls, in addition to another cue-mounted cam (for higher shot accuracy). Using a bunch of calculations, and a computer (probably more advanced than an Arduino), the Deep Green is able to strategize and play. Very well.
On a positive note, another team from Queens is working on a seperate but related project: ARpool (as in augmented reality). It was created to make playing pool easier. The website does not provide much info, but it seems to project different moves onto the pool table, allowing an inexperienced player to tell whether a shot is at all possible.
[onezerothrice] has been working hard on creating ARtisan, a flash library for bringing augmented reality to the browser. His goal in creating the library was to make AR projects quicker and easier to develop. The library can provide the location, size, and rotation of multiple markers on screen with little work from the developer. It is licensed under the GPL and comes bundled with Papervision3D, another flash library for manipulating objects in 3 dimensions. He has posted several demos with source and accompanying video.
Embedded above is a neat augmented reality business card by ActionScript developer [James Alliban]. After seeing “the most impressive business card you will ever see“, he was inspired to update his own business card. His new card has a fiduciary marker on the backside and directs you to his site. A flash app on the site displays a video where he tells you more about himself. The 3D grid of planes in the video varies in depth based on the brightness of the section. He has a few more AR and tracking demos on Vimeo.
Updated: While we’re talking augmented reality, it’s worth checking out the tech behind ESPN’s baseball tracker that uses doppler radar.
Related: Augmented reality in Flash
[via Josh Spear]
Here’s a quick demo that FAT’s [Theo Watson] put together. It uses the iPod’s accelerometer to measure how fast it’s spinning and plays the sound file accordingly. This only works on the iPod touch 2nd gen because of its curved case. He says scratching is coming next, but currently the app doesn’t know which direction it’s spinning since it’s measuring outward force. This project was done in response to [vanderlin]’s AR scratching that used fiducials on records.
Digital Pictures Interactive has put together a great augmented reality demo. Unlike many others, it’s entirely Flash based, so there’s no install necessary. Print out the custom symbol and try it out for yourself in your browser. Augmented reality refers to any mashup that combines computer generated content with a live video stream. We see great potential for this technology and the large number of consumer webcams would certainly help consumer adoption. Video demo embedded below. Continue reading “Augmented reality in Flash”