Back in December I had this idea for an online application that would let anybody create augmented reality greeting cards. They could choose a card with a 3D model attached, print it and send it to a friend who could see the 3D with their computer. I have a design background so the programing involved was challenging, but also very educational. What I've realized since then is that there are a lot of problems with the concept. It's a desktop-based app when so most of the relevant AR applications are mobile. Who's going to print anything out anymore, much less mail it? What makes this AR if the 3D models simply follow the marker around the video stream without interacting with the viewer in a meaningful way?
I began to realize that the most interesting part of the project was the idea that anybody could use the app as a tool to create their own AR content. And because &quot;Social&quot; is such a buzz-word, I had to put that in the title of this talk.
Why would average people want to create AR apps or games? Throughout the history of the Internet online sharing and collaboration has taken creation software and transformed whole industries. Social networking in a rudimentary form developed right alongside the first app to revolutionize content creation: Photoshop. When Photoshop came out in 1991 it was a black and white image editor and as it progressed it was mainly used by professionals in publishing, photography and advertising. It was an expensive program and there was no good mechanism for sharing the digital art files it created because the Internet was in the era of dial-up. But LOL Cats and most of the visual content on the Internet today was created using Photoshop.
Video is a great example because there was significant lead time between the first release of AfterEffects in 1993 and Final Cut in 1999 and Youtube's launch in 2005. The software combined with affordable video cameras allowed amateur filmmakers to revolutionize the television industry with a popular outlet for sharing video online.
I believe AR development is developing with a similar lag between the emergence of the technology and it's widespread adoption. The first working AR system was created by Armstrong Labs in 1992, the ARToolkit was developed in 1999 but most people only encountered it for the first time last year because the ARToolkit was ported to Flash in 2009. Flash AR was significant because nearly every computer with a browser has Flash installed. Mobile handsets are further expanded the availability of AR.
Wikitude.me allows anybody to tag their favorite places with a tweet-sized amount of text and a bland label. There are several similar Apps like Layar, a Yelp's Monocle application. AR is becoming more social and sharable than ever but it still isn't very user-create-able.
I'd really like to explore developing an online application that will allow anyone to create AR applications. AR WYSWG editors already exist, Unifeye is an example. I believe there’s an opportunity for an application that doesn’t have as many features or capabilities as Unifeye, but would be available for free or low cost to casual and amateurs.
This is important because although most AR creation is centered around creating advertising, chances are there are better applications out there for this groundbreaking technology. There's potential to revolutionize the computer-human interface. Maybe help visually impaired people lead more independent lives. Social AR apps might help people find and connect with other nearby or like-minded people. By letting non-programers experiment with AR there are even more chances that new uses for AR will emerge. By making it easy to create AR content it could become a more socially relevant.
Spoilrr AR presentation
Social AR <ul><li>Challenges and Opportunities </li></ul>
3D Augmented Reality greeting cards <ul><li>So what? </li></ul>
Why is it computer-based when so much of the relevant AR apps are mobile? <ul><li>Who's going to print anything out anymore, much less mail it? </li></ul>
<ul><li>But what if anybody could create AR apps? </li></ul><ul><li>You’d trust an app from you best friend...I hope! </li></ul>Webcam-based AR faces higher barriers to sharing because it’s more invasive than most kinds of online content.
<ul><li>...and for better or worse it’s helped social media develop </li></ul>Photoshop has improved dramatically from it’s beginnings 1991 Evolution of the interface 1999 Digital Tools Develop Social Media Explosion 2006 (Dramatically oversimplified timeline)
video lag time 1993 1999 2005 1995 Digital Tools Develop Social Video (Oversimplification)
AR LaG Time <ul><li>Even though AR has been developing slowly, social AR is on it’s way. </li></ul>1992 1999 2009 First AR system FLAR Toolkit AR Toolkit Social AR?
The first social ar apps <ul><li>user created content on these networks is generally limited to short bits of text </li></ul>
"When storytellers and people who media, love pictures, love words, find the abilities and the magic of the Internet you are going to see more and more interesting things happen." - Lee Clow March 20, 2010 Unifeye AR development Tools