By Patrick Shaw | 05-4-2012 1:30PM
Scott Jochim, the CEO and founder of Digital Tech Frontier, is enthusiastic about the future of augmented reality and how the technology can change the way in which we interact with movies, television, books and video games on a more immersive level.
Jochim has developed new technology that does just that, which he has recently applied towards a line of children’s books where animated 3D objects -- such as space shuttles and centipedes -- literally come off the page through the use of a webcam and any display from a computer monitor to a smartphone or tablet. Digital Tech Frontier's Popar Toys augmented reality books recently won a "Top Toy of 2012" award at 2012 International Toy Fair.
“Using pattern recognition, we created an algorithm which is entirely unique in the industry,” Jochim said. “It does one thing that no one else has done: our set of codes work across mobile, PC and Mac all at the same time”
“Putting an object on a tracker isn’t really a big deal,” he said. “Anyone can do it. What we set out to do is use it in new ways to create marker-to-marker tracking and second screen content for a deeper level of engagement.”
To demonstrate how this technology works, Jochim showed off a variety of Popar Toys educational books on topics ranging from space exploration to insects. As he flipped through the pages, 3D rendered objects displayed on a computer monitor emerged from the page. Powered by the Unity graphics engine (which is also used by many PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games), the detailed 3D objects can also be fully rotated by moving the book around. You can even transform yourself into a giant bug or astronaut by wearing a special ARG t-shirt Popar Toys sells and then pointing a webcam at you.
Jochim sees the potential in changing the way we interact with media beyond just books.
“When you watch television you’re watching non-analytic media, and you can’t track how long people are watching something,” he said. “We can change that. Imagine you’re watching a Doritos commercial. We can extend the length the viewer is engaged with that ad by creating an augmented reality tracker that people can point their iPhone or Android devices at, which launches second screen content such as a video game. Imagine a million people across the United States all playing that same game.”
Jochim showed off an example of an augmented reality game that can be created by pointing a smartphone or tablet at a TV screen displaying an ARG tracker. In the game, the viewer uses their smartphone or tablet’s camera to blast 3D flying saucers out of the room around them. While the UFO game featured simple effects and gameplay mechanics, it illustrates how the new tech can be utilized in some exciting ways in the future.