3D Photography and Augmented Reality

By: Boyd Rankin


Augmented reality (AR) is the term used when images from the real world blends with the virtual via computer programs. This technology tends to enhance the perception of reality. AR is the middle reality between the real environment and the virtual environment. Some examples of augmented reality are video games, professional 3D eyeglasses, displays in cars among others. Gradually, augmented reality is paving a way for virtual dependence. Latest technological products are adopting the augmented reality, because of its high interactivity and efficiency. The routine way of doing things is going to change in the coming years thanks to AR.

One of the most important tools used in marketing is interactive products animations. Using digital photo studios, marketers can instantly create interactive 360 degree product animations and 3D animations, irrespective of size and weight.

Augmented Reality capabilities in gadgetry has seen a really rapid growth in the last few years, the novelty of seeing yourself holding a light saber, or even virtual pets on the kitchen table never seems to wear off!

But one of the more recent gadgets, that use Augmented Reality to provide extra entertainment is the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo's latest handheld offering, and the successor to the DS, actually comes with three cameras built in, one inside webcam for video chat, and two outer-shell cameras which allow the console to perform its 3D photography.

Unfortunately, all three cameras are a measly VGA resolution, so they don't have the potential to replace your standard camera like the iPhone's could, but pure photography isn't really why they are there.

The really innovative use of these cameras comes - as you might expect for a games company - in the Augmented Reality software which is built into every console. The first app, which is inventively titled AR Games is a collection of mini challenges that involve use of an Augmented Reality card, from which various objects - including a crazy golf course, fish pond and even your own avatar - appear to pop out.

However, although these games are great fun, they don't really provide that lasting experience. The larger of the two Augmented Reality offerings at present is called Face Raiders. It instructs you to take photos of anyone around, before stitching their face onto a flying helmet and seeing them cackle at you before flying off.

Your aim is then to shoot various targets/faces within the game, but with a twist - everything happens in the real world with the outer-shell cameras providing the (3D) game play environment. In later levels, you also need to twist around a full 360 degrees to avoid being snuck up on from behind!

With the potential for more such games on the way in the near future, it is really exciting to see what Nintendo can do with AR technology - the 3D glasses does all the wonders, what usual 2D cameras can't.

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