There’s an adage that states “there’s nothing older than yesterday’s news.” Well in today’s world of immediate online news sites, YouTube videos, ever-changing Facebook updates, and up-to-the-minute Twitter remarks, the permanent ink-on-paper style of news is deemed old the minute the newspapers roll off the press.
But what if you could make that newspaper more current and exciting? What if you could make the ads inside the paper more enticing?
Aurasma, a start-up based in Cambridge, UK is aiming to do just that with the mobile app it created. Aurasma has the power to turn printed publications into interactive videos and animations that literally jump off the page. They have developed the technology that bridges physical imagery with virtual reality to deliver content in real-time including videos, animations, audio and webpages. This virtual world can be seen easily on a smartphone or tablet by simply downloading Aurasma’s app called “Aurasma Lite”.
Aurasma is an augmented reality platform that uses the device’s video camera to recognize pre-trained images and overlay an image or video so that the video tracks as the camera is moved.
Camera tracking is a fundamental requirement for video-based augmented reality applications. The main hardware components for augmented reality are a processor, display, sensors and input devices. These elements, specifically the CPU, display, camera and MEMS sensors such as the accelerometer, GPS and solid state compass are present in modern smartphones and tablets.
Aurasma uses a scaled down version of the outfit’s IDOL pattern recognizer to identify images stored in a vast database, then converts those images into related video and squeezes it down to run on a smartphone or tablet.
Augmented reality requires all of the computing horsepower the hand-held smartphone can muster and it makes it possible to recognize a database of about a half million objects. The neat trick, however, is it then uses the devices computing power to correctly “insert” a video image into the scene on a screen of the handset or tablet, complete with convincing 3D accuracy.
At the recent TED Global Conference in Edinburgh, Matt Mills, a technologist from Aurasma, presented the new augmented reality technology.
Mills explained that Aurasma allows anyone to take an image or object of interest, tag it, and then add additional information to it. That added detail is called an aura, and could be anything that counts as digital content.
The examples Mills gives clearly demonstrate how powerful an idea this content link-up is. If you bought a newspaper this morning with the sports results inside, you could point your smartphone at the page and see the video replays appear. It also has the potential to replace user manuals with interactive guides played through your phone. To see the technology in action at the TED Conference, visit http://goo.gl/My9d3.
Augmented reality using a smartphone, tablet, or hand held gaming device isn’t a new idea, but Aurasma has a lot of potential to become hugely popular. The reason? It is completely free for anyone to tag objects and associate digital media with them, and the tools to do that are very simple to use.
Source: John Markoff, New York Times