Jan 28, 2010

iPad Response Pt. 1: Augmented Reality

If I haven't written enough yet about my feelings on augmented reality and the direction of computing, I just came across this video (though it was posted in September of 2008), and I thought it was especially ironic because it's applying AR to books, which the iPad's supposed to replace*.

The video was made in CV Lab in Switzerland, and explores the concept of turning a typical picture book into an augmented reality experience. My first criticism of the iPad is its lack of onboard camera, because that removes any possibility of AR. Just like an iPhone, it has the accelerometer and it has a compass, so it takes care of all the back-end work needed for AR (and there's already a few available in the iTunes store), except the required camera. Engadget points out that the SDK asks for a camera that doesn't exist, so it's pretty likely that'll add on before the item actually starts shipping. So here's an example of AR completely hitting mainstream as it literally a window to the world.

Imagine having a popup book with characters coming out of the popups or snow falling. Imagine having your kids watch a puppet show you perform that casts animated faces and voices onto your puppets for you. Imagine gamebooks that kids have to stack all the colored squares before watching the next little video or learning about clouds.

In short, developers, think of the children.

*(It won't. Nothing will. This argument is a complete red-herring.)