Smart phones have achieved mass market adoption, so potentially we are in the right place at last for AR to move from being a research phenomena that most people still think of as science fiction, a novelty on the edges of geekdom, to becoming a powerful new creative and commercial force with mass attraction.


Augmented Reality: Magic, Angels and making me want to hit the streets b.TWEEN 3D
So this week I’ve mostly been thinking about Augmented Reality: tech that allows us to add new layers to the reality we see though smart phone lenses.

The big brands are starting to buy into it as the next big thing and there has been some pretty interesting stuff going on recently.

Swappu by Dentsu is pretty cool: Toys that come to life when peered at through the lens with a bit of software thrown in.

Augmented reality has even hit the World Economic Forum at Davos with Marco Tempest with his cyber magic.

And there have been some ( kinda ) interesting additions to film marketing, which, without wanting to be a killjoy, could be seen as a bit of a one trick pony.

Avatar’s Augmented Reality Toys

My very favorite to date is the lynx ad by Mindshare. Kelly Brook was a virtual fallen angel that appeared to be walking amongst passing commuters at Victoria Station. The YouTube clip went viral and has been watched a gazillion times.

I love the look on peoples faces, the sheer delight. This really was an innovative advertising campaign with clout. It apparently had a huge impact on sales. Good work Mindshare – but there is so much more that could be done. All this really is, is a layer of video manipulated by a human operator. I’d love to see where theatre writers or directors could push this to. This is where cross sector interaction could really come into it’s own. Play-writes and directors create magic, that’s what they do best…along with screen writers of course.

I have downloaded some pretty cool augmented reality gaming apps but to be honest tend not to play them in public any more as I have had some very funny looks.

As a screen writer myself, I would love to see an augmented reality project that can transport me into a totally immersive fantasy experience, a strong emotional, funny, scary story…that I can walk through, or that will make me run around, but it’s going to have to be bloody good for that to happen, with a seriously good reason for me to get involved. …Which probably means I will have to be engrossed in the game/story on another platform way before I hit them there streets because, let’s be honest, you feel pretty silly walking around looking through your iphone engrossed in an alternative reality.

I know Gary Hayes has been experimenting in this space for some time and is trying to push this forward…but what can we do with this platform to move the agenda forward?

What would the investment business models be? I guess what we need to do as always is to make sure the investors are part of the conversation too. And publishers…who are the right publishers to get involved? I look forward to your suggestions.

And all this is just about augmented vision, but I am loving the idea of haptic augmentation where you can feel the things that aren’t there, and audio augmentation.

We did a project with HP labs a a few years called Exploding Narrative – using their mScapes technology. The idea that has most stuck with me was by the amazing Hazel Grian, an immensely talented interactive screen writer.

“Night Train is an intense experience of mystery and suspense; a fifteen-minute audio drama, triggered by you walking a particular route. As you do not know how the story will end, neither do you know quite where the walk will take you. You are accompanied by the voice of Roxy who tells you the chilling story of what happened the last time she came this way. As Roxy’s story reaches a climax, so your walk culminates in a surprise. Live actors bring audio drama to live unexpectedly”

See her pitch here… I for one would be there…

What can AR to for education? Are there community building applications of AR? What will they look like? Have you seen any shit hot examples we should know about?

Oh and another question… where are all the female leading lights in this space? My lovely Kate and I are struggling to find them. Come out from wherever you are hiding and join in the conversation!!!