Friday, March 19, 2010

Polls Archive 56 -What's Augmented Reality's Future?

Poll 56: "With which statement do you more agree? 1. Augmented Reality is a passing fad that will be out of fashion by 2011. Or 2. Augmented Reality is going to become an increasingly important part of our interactions with technology in the years to come."
Poll ended January 15 2010. 20.4% picked "passing fad" while 79.6% chose "increasingly important".

For the last year, my team at Talking Dog Studios have been developing our expertise in Augmented Reality. Over that year, we've been excited to see this field moving from being virtually unknown to becoming increasingly part of the mainstream. But where is it going from here? According to this study published by the University of Singapore, Augmented Reality is going to be a $14 billion industry worldwide in 2011. Another study also published by the University of Singapore predicts that by 2012, Augmented Reality will be an integral part of gaming, which will cause AR to balloon to a $68 billion dollar business worldwide!

It's great to see that almost 80% of the people visiting this blog agree that AR is going to be a standard part of people's interactions with their entertainment and their data. In many ways, this connects to an experience people with an iPhone or iPod Touch are going through right now - once you've gotten used to the dual touch interface, being able to zoom in on items and slide them around simply by pinching and sliding your fingers on the screen is infectious. Once people have gotten used to it, we find ourselves wishing that our laptops and even our TVs would let us do the same thing. The film Minority Report showed us a version of what's coming, as we saw Tom Cruise's character being able to interact with his computer interface in ways that are very much part of the Augmented Reality experience that is now becoming a reality.

While Talking Dog is currently working on various retail applications for AR, we are also continuing to put up free sites to let people have fun and show them some of the possibilities. AR is so engaging because it lets you become part of the experience in new and interesting ways. For instance, here's a movie I showed you a couple of weeks ago demonstrating our new site called expandAR which gives people a visual toy blending facial tracking and augmented reality. There are over 300 different ways of messing with people's faces that the website randomly cycles through, and as it does so the site shows you the two-character combination representing the current option being shown. As soon as you want to you can start entering your own combinations, which then lets you stay as long as you want on any particular setting. Try it, it's fun! If you've got a webcam just go to

A direct link to the above video is at

Can you imagine watching a program or a commercial where you see yourself inserted into the action using the approach we're showing here, with your face changing as different things happen to you? So can we!

As a simple proof-of-concept experiment we've just posted a revised version of expandAR: this time, instead of seeing the software messing with their own face, the user sees themselves transformed into four of the characters from Disney's new hit film, Alice in Wonderland. The images used to create this demo are, of course, © 2010 by Walt Disney Pictures.

As you've probably guessed, the pictures here are of me trying out If you've got a webcam, head on over there and try it out for yourself!

We've also posted a new blog entry over at the Talking Dog AR blog that goes into more detail about what we see as the possibilities for how film, television, and commercial producers could use this approach to create interesting and entertaining ways to engage their audience.

I hope you enjoy expanding your reality into new and exciting possibilities.

Rob Bryanton

Next: Polls Archive 57 - Will 10-10-10 be significant?

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