Qualcomm's pretty keen on its "Digital 6th Sense" idea, and having played with the company's latest DVD augmented reality app we're starting to see why. Capable of recognizing DVD covers and overlaying live streams of preview clips on top of them on your smartphone's display, the app isn't just AR for the sake of it but an example of how modern chipsets like Snapdragon are capable of some seriously impressive real-time crunching. Check out our hands-on after the cut.
In Qualcomm's demo, the main camera on a BSQUARE MDP can spot and recognize DVD covers, look up the film they're related to, and then superimpose a video stream on top of them on the handset's display. That video stream resizes and skews according to the angle at which the DVD box itself is oriented: it can also track multiple covers, even if only a small part of each is actually visible.
Qualcomm Vision-Based AR hands-on:
Although it makes for an eye-catching demonstration, what Qualcomm is keen to stress is the technology behind it - and the demands that are being made on the MDP's chipset. The app scans the frame thirty times a second, each time comparing the contents to the list of recognizable titles. It then calculates the position of each object, and renders an AR view that hybridizes custom graphics and the live feed from the camera. It demands a decent camera, of course, as well as enough processing capacity and 3D graphics capabilities.
Best of all, though, this sort of thing is possible with current devices. The MDP runs Qualcomm's MSM8660, the same SoC as inside the HTC Jetstream tablet, meaning the hardware side of things is all there. What's still in the air, Qualcomm tells us, is the service itself: the right content-related company coming along and investing in AR. It's not limited to DVD previews, of course, but could include any internet-sourced links or multimedia. If you're interested, you can try it yourself with Qualcomm's free AR SDK.