It won’t be long before all the technologies we see in a Spielberg film, or some other sci-fi Hollywood blockbuster becomes available to us in reality. Augmented reality may not be mainstream, but thanks to brands like Starbucks and some other cool iPhone and Android apps, it is no longer an alien concept.
For the uninitiated, augmented reality simply adds information to a real object and is not to be confused by virtual reality, which creates a simulated reality. Hence, for example, the Toyota Augmented Reality Touchscreen, which turns the backseat of a car into a translucence touchscreen with enhanced functionality. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have the rather risqué Moosejaw app, which allows one to see fully clad models in their lingerie!
The Obvious Engine system thankfully isn’t as naughty as the Moosejaw app, or unfortunately, as slick as the Toyota Touchscreen. However, it still impresses, since it can manipulate any physical object. The system uses vision-based AR technology and SDK and is targeting indie games companies, developers, and brands.
Designed to work with 3D objects and curved surfaces, the vision-based augmented reality engine is capable of tracking natural features of an image; hence, making the use of traditional markers and glyphs redundant. This as expected has impressed industry experts, and many see it as the first step to AR becoming more than a technology fad.
The video below is a demo of the Obvious Engine system in action and shows what the AR app can do to a Dr. Pepper soda can. Must say, witnessing the soda can bulging and getting warped in real-time makes for an interesting past time. Also seeing that the soda can augmented with psychedelic glowing rings and Japanese ninja like creatures makes for an almost surreal imagery (who needs LSD, when you have AR?).
So while, the critics may dismiss the Obvious Engine system as another gimmicky technology out there and despite its clunky edge detection, the Obvious Engine impresses. The idea here is to create an interactive and an engaging experience, without modifying the actual product, and the vision-based augmented reality engine succeeds. So if you are a fan of AR and impressed by the Obvious Engine system, then you can also see the technology at work in the Chatterbucks app for iPhone, which can be downloaded from here.