Augmented Reality in Console Gaming – The Immersive Experience

There are constant speculations about the future of augmented reality – how and where can it be used? Many brands and businesses are beginning to utilise the technology to engage customers and increase sales. People are catching on to the fact that any company, irrespective of their size, can develop new augmented reality products to change the world as we see it today.

But where’s augmented reality’s place in a world that’s already very different… the realms of gaming

Immediately, it seems apparent that augmented reality and gaming are a perfect fit. Gamers want an immersive, engaging experience that augmented reality is well equipped to provide.
The first console game to feature AR technology was The Eye of Judgment for PS3 back in 2006. The game used the console’s PSEye camera to gather real-world images and read the coded information on small physical trading cards.

What will the future of gaming look like?

If you listen to EverQuest studio Sony Online Entertainment’s development director, virtual reality and augmented reality experiences are it.

“VR and AR are things that I personally am extremely excited about. I honestly think that’s the future of gaming,” David Georgeson told IGN.

Earlier this year Sony officially announced its virtual reality head-mounted display Project Morpheus, which features a 1080p display and a 90 degree field of view. So far details are limited but it is expected to be less expensive than Oculus Rift, and not due to be released in 2014.

Microsoft, makers of the Xbox, are also currently developing an unspecified VR/AR offering.

Aside from a few tech demos, Sony is yet to announce any games that will officially support Project Morpheus. However, Georgeson hinted that we could see Project Morpheus support for future SOE games down the road.

SOE is currently working on EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark.

Until then…

Until an immersive AR gaming experience arrives, there are gaming apps like DroidShooting to keep you busy. DroidShooting is a simple shooter game which lets you interact with your surroundings in real-time – a demonstration of possibilities for such a gameplay concept.

 

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Wearable Technology – Futuristic Fashion & Fun

The wearable technology revolution has arrived. People can now track daily fitness results, monitor their health, and capture stunning video footage practically anywhere, just by the tap of a button. Wildly popular products of the moment include pedometers, smart watches, activity trackers and action camcorders such as the GoPro.

What is Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology (can also be known as wearable gadgets) is a type of technology devices which can be worn by a consumer, often include tracking information to monitor things such as fitness, activity or sleep. Other than tracking details, wearable tech gadgets can include devices that have small motion sensors to take photos and sync with your other mobile devices.

The Wearables section is becoming an increasingly hot vertical, with major companies like Apple, Google and LG allotting more resources to develop Wearable technology. New inventions soon to reach the market such as Google Glass, Apple iWatch and the Samsung Simband are really ramping up the public interest in wearable technology.
An interesting recent stat from GlobalWebIndexthat says 71% of people aged 16 t0 24 want “wearabletech.” They define wearble tech in this instance as a smart watch, smart wristband or GoogleGlass.

Another stat from GlobalWebIndex states that 64% of global internet users have worn a piece of wearable tech already or are “keen to do so in the future.” Men, at 69%, are generally keener to do so than women, at 56%.

Products to Look Out For

The Dash Headphones
Good for Easy Listening (& Tracking!)

These wireless in-ear headphones not only play great quality sound and remove the frustration of tangled wires; they also track your heart rate, body temperature, speed, steps and calories burned during the day. They’re very discreet too, unlike other wearables such as Google Glass.

FitBit Zip
Great for Affordable Health & Fitness Monitoring

The Fitbit Zip is the perfect affordable monitoring device for a wearable tech beginner. The Zip is water resistant, tracks steps and calories burned, and easily syncs with PCs, smartphones and Fitbit’s powerful fitness analysis tools. With its sleek silicon design the FitBit Zip is a great starting point.

 

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The Internet of Things – Augmented Reality’s role

The digital world is moving increasingly into the physical and ideas, which at one time seemed futuristic and revolutionary are now possible. But with the benefits come new issues.

Technology Growth

Technology is a fast growing market, with many people now owning multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices. 1 billion new smartphones were shipped in 2013[1], and there will be more than 7 billion new Wi-Fi enabled devices in the next 3 years [2]. Research reports[3] have estimated that the number of devices connected to the Internet of Everything by 2020 will be between 26-30 billion.

With this increase user habits and expectations are changing, the amount of information consumed and shared by individuals during their day-to-day life has increased exponentially, in addition to new location service platforms being developed. Take the increase in geographical information. Users globally are sharing, tagging and creating points of interest on a day-to-day basis. People, places, maps and buildings are being pin pointed by location-based services.

One of the first examples of added-value location services was the Semapedia Project, created in 2005 with the goal of connecting objects and locations in the physical world to their respective Wikipedia entries using QR codes. More recently location-based services have grown in popularity with platforms such as Foursquare, creating a competitive element to location sharing, and Facebook’s location tagging function. These services provide us with an interesting perspective into the life and behaviours of users, and the way they are incorporating environments together.

Ubiquitous Computing and the Internet of Things

Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp) is the idea of a constant presence of technology in the world, unrestrained like desktop computing and therefore able to appear in any number of devices and formats from washing machines and fridges, to glasses.
The advancement of Ubicomp means that the Internet of Things (the interconnecting web of these computer-like devices) is technologically possible. While feasible, there is still a lack of any effective, unquestionable solution on how to help successfully link smart environments and individuals, as such circumstances demand a greater level of accessibility for each device without compromising functionality.

Ubiquitous Computing and its recognition via the Internet of Things brings with it an enormous flow of geography-based information. Ubiquitous Computing allows inanimate objects to become smart devices themselves. These ‘smart devices’ therefore become sources of potential services for users close to them. This new progress is adding large amounts of geographical data to that currently handled by users daily.

Interaction Challenges

With the growth of interaction technology also comes the problem of an information overload. The complex, global geographically referenced information is already proving to be a strain on the current system, and with a growing numbers of users connecting, this problem will only increase.

Gartner [4] predicted that by the end of 2012 machine to machine communication would account for 20% of non-video Internet traffic – a huge amount of networked data being sent via the Internet. For such information to be delivered efficiently, on a proper interfacing framework, location-services must become more powerful.

The key linking these may lie within augmented reality; to develop user interfaces with the specific interaction requirements of the Internet of Everything.

The Introducing of Augmented Reality

An obvious collaborator to this increase in geographical technology and popularity is Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality has been gaining traction as one of the most promising uses of the concept known as ‘Computer-mediated reality’. Although this concept also contains the already well-known Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR) is rapidly becoming the hottest technology growth area. Augmented Reality is a combination of systems and experiences where the physical environment is an essential element of the experience. With AR a direct or indirect view of a real world situation is overlaid by computer-generated elements, rather than computer generated entirely.

The interaction capabilities of Augmented Reality interfaces provide a possible solution to the previously mentioned problems. The transition from Graphical to Tangible User interfaces will improve Human-Computer interaction in Smart Environments, and this is aided by the Augmented Reality approach with the physical world providing the environment and technology adding the relevant information by creating layers.

Further assets such as data mining, inference engines, multimodal interaction and a standardised approach (such as HTML5) will allow Augmented Reality interfacing to perform at its full potential.

References
[1] IDC
[2] Sys-Con
[3] Gartner – 26 billion, ABI Research – 30 billion.
[4] Gartner

 

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Is Augmented Reality the future of education?

Augmented reality is here to stay and there are endless ways of incorporating AR into daily life.
Over 20 years ago we would watch films like Robocop featuring futuristic head mounted display units, projecting superimposed graphics and text and think it was amazing. But interactivity isn’t just for Hollywood now. These days, real-world AR technology has that level of sophistication.

AR apps can mix graphic elements (3D, Video, text, etc.) with live video footage to create a unique user experience. And with the advancement of products like Google Glass, the digital visor is now almost a reality!

So how else can we use Augmented Reality?

Now personal computing has become more efficient and even more accessible with the invention of products like smartphones and tablet computers, the iPad in particular is proving to be useful in many ways. The intuitive interface of the iPad has made them easy for children to use, so it should be no surprise that teachers have now embraced the use of iPads in education.

The iPad in the classroom brings education to life. Children have endless access to valuable information such as the dictionary, thesaurus, and textbooks which previously were only available in print. Not only does the digital format mean that material is now constantly up to date, easily carried around and accessed, but the interactive technology makes learning more engaging and memorable. Great news for teachers everywhere! Tools such as audio and video recorders can change the way that learning takes place and homework is completed.

How can we use AR to help children learn?

There are a few examples of apps which have been developed for educational technology including:

Fetch! Lunch Rush! This app is a great use of augmented reality to make mathematics fun for young students. This free iPhone/iPad app was developed with the purpose of getting kids moving about a room in search of numbers. Students read the arithmetic problem on the app then search out the correct answer. When they think they have found the right number they scan it with their iPhones or iPads to find out if they are correct or not.

Star & Planet Finder The free version of this app enables you to locate the planets and stars in the night sky through your iPhone or iPad. To use the app, choose the planet or constellation you want to find from the list provided. Star & Planet Finder will then give you the directions to move your iPhone or iPad until you can see the planet that you’re looking for through the camera display. With the paid version of the app you can add lists of constellations, lists of satellites, and lists of brightest stars to the app.

Though the digital world might be crucial for future generations as they grow up, they should never forget that the importance of the real world. Maintaining a balance between both would be a wise message to teach for our kids, which luckily is easier than ever with augmented reality.

If you’re looking to develop an educational app contact Appearition to talk about an augmented reality solution.

 

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