Arduino ecosystem

A looping Rube Goldberg machine meets an Arduino-controlled, Pachube-feeded  internet of things ecosystem.

Welcome to NABA, where an interactivity course gets an interesting twist, conceiving and producing this prototype.

Project goal is to simbolically represent our planet like a fluid interconnected ecosystem.

Have a look at the project blog, Interactlaufdinge, for information. More to expect for the next prototype.


SixthSense, a good reason to start wearing some markers

Pure genius, real future.

Have a look at SixthSense, a MIT media lab project. Here is what a “wearable gestural interface” looks like.

Pranav Mistry, inventor, wearing the markers. Quoting Pattie Maes, “he’s wearing simple marker caps, but if you want a more stylish version you can also paint your nails in different colors” (sorry so candid I had to quote it):

Colored caps are used to recognize gestures:

Data can be projected everywhere for interaction

I mean everywhere

A lot of applications can be written to interact with real world items and augment information on them:

Some ideas about people recognition already pushing the understatement  boundaries:

Have a look at at the  TED presentation by Patti Maes:

Well, waiting for an open-source prototype (as it’s been promised) to play with.


Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop

That’s creepy: Minority Report meets a William Gibson’s dystopic future. House furnishing becomes a surface for the advertising industry, and despite/because of the social-flow-absorbing skills, our Robocop needs help by an encouraging virtual assistant to prepare a cup of tea.

See the film, 1.46 min:

Here’s some AR screenshots:

A gestural tool to reduce advertising level (which ways do you pay to get less advertising? Here the dynamic is only more explicit):

Directions to prepare a cup of tea:

What’s missing on your fridge:

The social flow superimposed to the kitchen kettle:

That’s a well thought critique, and a warning. I wish that the  author, architect Keiichi Matsuda, could use this as a starting point to image a better future and -as he wish- finding a needed role for architects to make it real.
Technologists beware!


What the iPad means for augmented reality.

Well, nothing. 😥

Great screen? check. Gps? check. Compass? check. mobile internet? check. Camera? fail.

A game-changing lap sized computer without a camera? A back & front camera would have been great for AR applications.

But wait. what about this?


Ladies and Gentleman, at your left the new iPad, at your right Vuzix Wrap 920AR 67-inches video eyewear with integrated video cameras. Coming soon together?! I hope so.


Two Grizzly Bear videos and Augmented Reality

What’s AR got to do with it? In fact, nothing. But have a look at the title of this blog 🙂

“Two weeks” by Grizzly bear, same song, two realities. Spaces and faces.

BTW, can you guess which is the official video and which is the “fan video”? Have a good experience in the meanwhile.

(Directed by Gabe Askew)

(directed by Patrick Daughters)


Oldies but goldies: GE Smart Grid AR

Yes, that’s pretty old, but it’s been one of the first mainstream applications of marker-based augmented reality. And an impressive one!

See this teaser, thanks to the good folks at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners who did the Smart Grid campaign.

And try it by yourself at the Smart Grid Website. Don’t forget to print out the marker! Don’t bother to print one? Use an Iphone to display it, or have a laptop to show it to the webcam.

Be careful, the recognition of the marker is not top notch (it’s exhilirating to says that marker recognition has improved during latest months). Anyway, two thumbs up for North Kingdom digital agency for the magnificent production.


The future of magazines

A wonderful Off Topic to start with.

2010 is the year of the e-book readers (hurry up Apple) and magazine publishers are right now struggling to reinvent themselves on a medium that still doesn’t exist in a mature way. New business models are to be found (still waiting for you, Apple, with a new iTunes magazine store) and new design work is undertaken in order to find an interface merging the monolithic magazine structure with the atomic and hyper-linked approach of the web.

There’s still a reason for magazines to exist?

By looking at these examples, i’m sure of it. In fact, I couldn’t be more excited to design content for such devices.


Four kinds of augmented reality

Overlapping real and virtual

This term, “Augmented Reality”, is pretty vague.

In fact it’s used for describing different approaches, and even things that with AR have little in common (the term “buzzword” comes in my mind very clearly).

So we can think about it as

A two-way communication between the virtual and the real world

Our digital tools multiply the information enriching the context of our physical environment, and our world affects how data interact.

Four levels of augmented reality emerge.

These four levels overlap in some ways.

Here they are:

  1. LEVEL 0, Physical world hyper linking: it deals with the interconnection of databases and objects in our world. It all started with the 1D UPC bar code, now present in every product. Now available are 2D bar codes, most notably QR codes and Data Matrix. Well, some don’t even call this level AR. In this group is also present 2D image recognition, overlapping with Level 1.
  2. LEVEL 1, Marker based AR: Semi-autonomous animations are triggered by objects seen trough a webcam. It allows the display of 3D informations from a 2D input and “increases” the information available. That’s “real” AR, because it contemplates a two-way communication between virtual and real: reality gets processed in real time recognizing specific markers, and on the top of this reality graphics get rendered and displayed in real time.
  3. LEVEL 2, Markerless AR: is superimposing data to the surrounding world. It’s the exploration of reality through the information added to the context. Great with mobile phones! Of course, the phone needs to know where it is (GPS) and where is looking at (compass).
  4. LEVEL 3, Augmented vision: let’s quote futurologist Robert Rice

We must break away from the monitor and display to lightweight transparent wearable displays (in an eyeglasses formfactor). Once AR becomes AV, it is immersive. The whole experience immediately changes into something more relevant, contextual, and personal. This is radical and changes everything. As I have said before, this will be the next evolution in media. Print, Radio, Television, Internet, Augmented Reality (well, Vision).L3 must also be mobile massively multi-user, persistent, shared, dynamic, and ubiquitous.

Confused? Well, me too, sometimes.

Next posts will deal with a few examples to make things clearer.

(thanks to Robert Rice and to the unknown creator of the pic)


AR? what we’re talking about?

Ronald Azuma (1997)  says that Augmented Reality:

  • combines real and virtual
  • is interactive in real time
  • is registered in 3D

Ok, enough academical b**hit.
Here’s what we are dreaming about augmented reality since 1982: TRON!