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Augmented Reality

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Vuforia just made Augmented Reality 10x more interesting with Object Recognition

While I really enjoy making AR content with Unity, I realise that its real-life applications are few and far between. This could be set to change with Vuforia beta 4.0, which introduces Object Recognition.

In short, this means we are no longer bound by flat planes with markers on them, such as business cards, posters, boxes, and menus. Vuforia now allows us to use a physical product as a marker, which is very, very exciting.

A great example is toys, and Vuforia uses an augmented toy car in their promotional video:

 

As soon as I was notified about the release, I had to take a look. Although it's beta software, it works well. My first test of the tech was with a toy car, which was a bit boring. Time for something a bit more interesting, and relevant to my interests. Since I'm obsessed with Iron Man, I thought I'd try using an Arc Reactor prop as a marker.

First of all, place the object to track on the special scanning marker, and use the scanning App to build up a model that Vuforia can track.

Then send the tracking data to yourself, and upload to the Object Tracking manager. Download the Unity package, import into your project, then just add whatever you want to it.

In this case, I had some assets that I thought might work well with it. So here we go, an Arc Reactor with Iron Man flying above it, with a few other elements. 

It works! It's remarkably robust too, considering I'm using quite a symmetrical marker. I'll see if I can capture a video of it when I have some time, as it's much more impressive than a boring static screenshot. 

In all, this took me around an hour. About half of that was waiting for the assets to download. Once again, basic AR is easy.. it's all the functionality that's added on top that take time!

I wish I had an accurate 3D model of the Arc Reactor, as it could be made a lot more interesting augmenting parts of the reactor (see the car bonnet in the Vuforia video above).

This tech could have great applications for use with physical objects, including and also far beyond toys. I'm very excited about what we can make with this, it could have huge uses in training, education, marketing, and advertising... anything that involves a physical product that doesn't deform.

One thing I'm interested in is how much they're going to charge for this. No details are released yet. It should be fine for prototypes for clients, but anything 'out in the wild' is unlikely to be completely free.

I'll post more experiments with Vuforia Object Recognition in the coming weeks.

If you want any more info on this, use the contact form and give me a shout.

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FESTIVE VR Brighton!

2014 has been an amazing year for VR. I love developing VR experiences and games, and I’m convinced that it will continue exploding in popularity over the coming months and years. We’re at an incredibly exciting point in the birth of a new form of entertainment and interaction, and we're helping define the future of a medium.

I set up VR Brighton in early 2014 to get like-minded people together to share their excitement, show off their work and to get the technology into the hands of those who don’t have it yet. 
It's been eight months since our first meet up, and Festive VR Brighton on December 8th was our largest, most popular and most successful event so far. We had 70 people in total, mainly from Brighton and London, but also from Dorset, Yorkshire, and Edinburgh! Yes - people came from another country to VR Brighton!

 

There are lot of people I need to thank! First up is Brightwave, a very forward-thinking eLearning company based in Brighton who hosted the meetup on the top floor of their gorgeous office for the evening. In particular, my thanks goes to: Colin Welch, Hayley Maisey, Laura Ward, and Rob Keery for helping out with the organisation and the invaluable assistance on the evening.

A huge thank you to everyone who bought demos along! Thank you SO MUCH. It would be really quite boring if you didn’t come along. So in no particular order..

Also, a huge thankyou to everyone who attended! If you have any feedback, positive or negative, please let me know.

Massive apologies to Peter Brophy for bringing the HOTAS & Vest, but being unable to use it as my PC couldn’t connect to the internet to authenticate Elite: Dangerous. Next time!

Kerry: Thanks for all the help. You're a star.

To everyone who didn’t come along and didn’t change your RSVP to "no" despite all the reminders.. shame on you! You’re on Santa’s naughty list now.

Finally, thanks to Lloyd Digital (oh wait, that's me) for sponsoring the drinks and mince pies. And for the two strands of tinsel.

Hope to see you at the next VR Brighton meetup! Let’s make 2015 an even more exciting year for VR.

Merry Christmas!

Iestyn

Edit: There's a video of the event here, thanks Kevin!



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A busy quarter

A quick update on my activity this year. It's been hectic so far! I've had the pleasure of working with some enormously talented companies; Littleloud, Fat Pebble, Plastic Pictures, and most recently Preloaded. I can't give any more information as the work I've done is either NDA'd, or has yet to be released. I'll be sure to update when the projects are on the App Store / Google Play.

Of course, the biggest news of 2013 so far is Sweatshop HD being pulled from the App Store, which was covered by media worldwide.

Work in Progress - Augmented Reality Car Demo

Some work in progress shots of an interactive Unity3D demo I've been working on when I have spare time. At some point I'll upload video, and maybe link to a Webplayer demo. Screenshots from Desktop, iPad3, and iPhone5.

This was also a contender for working it into a http://www.onegameamonth.com/ entry. Maybe next month..

Spin View

Spin view

Augmented Reality view

Interior gyroscope view