An Idiot’s Guide to Augmented Reality

Following on from last week’s workshop with Clive, we delved into Augmented Reality, its rise and the applications within smartphones. Augmented Reality has a similar feeling towards projection mapping, although not necessarily related. They both seem to come from a new sense of technology that hasn’t been fully accepted by modern society just yet. It feels like virtual reality headsets have tried to crack into the market every decade or so with no success – however over the last few years there has been a bigger buzz than ever before. This article will describe the problems with the public’s view of VR and open up the pros & cons to such technology.

What is it?

Augmented Reality to a lot of people is the stereotypical version of AR where you use a device such as a 3DS or smartphone as a window to watch virtual beings or structures in 3D space on a 2D plane move around or interact with other virtual objects. This can get boring very quickly for a lot of people so its no surprise that many innovative media companies around the globe are currently testing out new concepts to help push the boundaries of augmented reality. AR isn’t just this window peering instrument, virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift are more advanced versions of the AR genre.


Recently Augmented Reality has moved from a quirk as part of another product to its own experience, this is partially due to the rise of the smartphone and the technology included within it. Summer 2015 prompted Nintendo, to produce a Pokemon virtual reality/augmented reality game that focuses on sending gamers around the world to collect their favourite Pokemon’s in a geocaching like fashion. The game is yet to be released but can be played with just a smartphone or with one of the many smart watch accessories that come with the game.

Another advancement of the AR technology comes from the Disney Research Team who have managed to create a colouring book that allows children to still engage with “old” toys that in this modern age seem to be used less and less but with a twist – the ‘new & updated’ colouring book now enables children to colour in a character on paper and see the same character be coloured in as a texture on a 3D model of their drawing on their smartphone or tablet.

Not all AG products use the ‘virtual window’ to peer into a virtual world through a smartphone’s gyroscope, the Oculus Rift for example uses two screens within a headset with gyroscope to help take the AR immersiveness to a whole other level. The rift allows for experiences like none ever before, where you feel that you are within that virtual world and that you can actually reach out and pick something up. This video showcases a group of individuals all playing on separate Oculus devices with another type of equipment on their hands that allow them to move their fingers within the game and interact with their surroundings.

I ended up pushing a large truck through the Augment app that was operated by Clive McCarthy, I found it quite hard to move my hands into position while looking at the screen to find the correct position. I feel that when interacting with AR it is best to use a “window” you control or through a device such as the Oculus Rift.


Apps & Programs Used: –

Augment was used to browse through various 3D models that have been created by the public before then being put into 3D space, this was done by the app scanning a QR code to help pinpoint where a surface was – allowing the model to stand and stay in the correct position without moving when the camera moved in 3D space.unnamed


Applications in One minute Wonder Project: –

At this current moment I don’t plan to use augmented reality within my film due to the nature of AR being something that one interacts with rather than watches and experiences on a flat surface i.e. a computer screen or tablet. If Augmented Reality was easier to manipulate and adjust models to your own preferences I may have used AR to quickly put my name on my desk and record/view it in 3D space rather than having to use visual effects to create the impression of a 3D graphic within the world. Where as VFX allows you to easily adjust font, font size, colour, extrude and multiple other effects.

In other uses it may be interesting to see what augmented reality could be used for in a film sense over a playful experience; however with this project it is not something I don’t believe I will delve into.

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