We primarily know Parrot as a purveyor of all things Bluetooth, but now the French company is segueing into remote controlled devices. The Parrot AR.Drone is a quadricopter - i.e. a four-propellor helicopter - that's packed with WiFi for remote-control from an iPhone or iPod touch, two video cameras (one for auto-pilot, another for streaming birds-eye footage back to the pilot) and various sensors and gyroscopes. Parrot are also releasing an SDK so that developers can create games and other software such as augmented reality (AR).
Augmented Reality isn't just for the iPhone or Android; Nokia Beta Labs have updated their Image Space app to include internet data overlaid onto a real-world view through a cellphone's camera. Nokia Image Space allows you to upload photos to a large, collaborative gallery which maps them geographically; when there are enough images of a landmark, the system automatically creates a 3D view which can be browsed from the desktop. With this new update, you can now encounter photos - whether yours or others - when you approach the geographical location they were shot.
This might look like the eye-level view from a Rovio gone rogue and trying to wipe out your family, but it's actually a concept shot from the new Scope augmented reality game. The handiwork of Frantz Lasorne, Scope mixes together some of the common elements we've seen in previous AR systems - computer-recognizable glyphs, heads-up displays overlaid across a live view of the surrounding area - and makes it all about shooting toys.
Like an ex-partner suddenly hitting the gym and prompting some relationship regrets (yes, we're shallow here in the tech world), Symbian Foundation have caught our eye with a new demo video of what they're suggesting might be a nifty future UI for the platform. Part of Lee Williams' keynote at SEE 2009 last month, the video shows a device with lashings of augmented reality and location-based services, together with social networking integration.
With augmented reality (AR) taking off as smartphone hardware ramps up to support the sort of real-time processing they demand, it's about time the first such app for the iPhone made it through to Apple's App Store. Seemingly meeting the Cupertino approval council's grade where others have reportedly failed, Metro Paris Subway is the handiwork of a French team of developers and overlays information about Paris businesses over a live view of the surroundings as seen by the iPhone's camera.
Developer James Alliban wanted a way to make his business cards stand out, and also to show off his augmented reality skills, so what better way than to link the two together. On the back of James' cards is an AR glyph; when you visit a page on his site and hold the card up to your computer's webcam, it brings up a floating video introduction made of of 3D colored planes.
We've talked about augmented reality (AR) here on SlashGear before, but we've never seen it incorporated into magic. Performer Marco Tempest has created a unique act in which classic card tricks are integrated with real-time AR; in this demonstration video, he shows both what's happening normally and what's brought to the performance by the computer.
Vuzix have announced [pdf link] an augmented-reality (AR) add-on kit for their Vuzix VR920 video headset, developed in collaboration with AR specialists metaio. The system will initially be demonstrated with a 3D animated book, that has computer-generated characters, but Vuzix believe it has potential applications in gaming, education and travel.
Flash-fiddlers and optical-recognition lovers Squidder have been showing off two new systems that tie augmented reality into Twitter and other social networking systems. Their first project is a t-shirt with a FLAR barcode that, when recognized by a webcam-enabled computer, pulls up the encoded Twitter username and displays their latest tweet as a video overlay. The second task, meanwhile, is cutting out the barcode and having the system recognize users by face.
To me, "augmented reality" always sounds like the advertising gumph of some sort of hideous latex sex-aid, possibly with a USB plug because everything else seems to have one of the damn things these days. However Nokia Research would like us to consider it in slightly less X-rated terms - superimposing data onto an image of your surroundings in real-time. Using a 6680 handset modified to include accelerometers, compass and GPS, the team has put together a proof-of-concept system which monitors the location of the phone and overlays virtual information tagged to different objects as shown on the display from the camera's POV.
URLs can be associated with objects, giving quick access to local information, and the device can both use data locally-stored or from a remote server. The latter would allow applications such as "find a friend", where the moving location of another object could be streamed to a user's cellphone. The prototype also has map functionality, accessed by holding the handset horizontally, which highlights the user's location and annotates nearby points of interest. There are streaming videos of different functionality on the Research page, linked below.