Monday, 23 November 2015

IT Kitchen: Blending Reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality are hot topics at the moment but I think the real heat will be where they are combined in a form of blended reality or what some call “augmented virtuality”.

I demonstrate how to blend reality in the IT kitchen with free\cheap and easy stuff - a value Android smartphone (Vodaphone Smart Utlra 6) with Octagon Studios Animal 4D+ AR application and a Google Cardboard VR headset. You can download a free sample set of the Animal 4D+ flashcards here.

The Animal 4D+ AR app is really good in standard AR mode - load the app and point your smartphone camera at the animal flashcards and see the animals pop up from the flashcards - kids (and adults) really like this app. The app gets even better when you have certain animals and foods together - for example - if you have the monkey and banana cards together the monkey will go across and start eating the banana - see the examples here. The Animal 4D+ app gets even better still - it has a 3D (VR) button - which presents the smartphone view stereoscopically for a VR headset.

Virtual reality is immersive, we only see computer generated images - we enter computer reality. With Google cardboard we close the smartphone into the viewer - the camera view into the real world is not used.

Blended reality or “augmented virtuality” combines augmented reality with virtual reality to overlay our perception of the real world with a virtual world. With Google Cardboard we keep the back of the viewer open so that the camera takes in the real world while the AR app overlays this to our eyes. With the Animal 4D+ AR app in VR mode we get a simple look at what’s to come with blended reality in the years ahead - check out Magic Leap for the high end view!

While the possibilities of augmented, blended and virtual reality are amazing and seem like the stuff of science fiction - we must remember that we live in a real world - the world of everyday fact - do not neglect the real world … it’s the only world we have!

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