Remember Sony’s SmartAR? The markerless AR technology that promises reality augmentation without the need for unsightly tattoos? It’s back again, showing itself once more after an all-too-brief 48 hour layoff. A new live-demo shows Sony’s markerless object recognition system focusing on posters, tables, books, and coffee cups in lieu of the traditional AR card — allowing it recognize multiple objects at once. Focusing on objects rather than markers allow augmented entities to interact more naturally with their environment. For instance, bouncing AR balls plummet off the edge of a table, and realistically ricochet off of a book placed in their path. Objects don’t even need to remain on screen, as demonstrated by an AR pop-up menu that remained viewable even after the object-marker that spawned it left the viewer’s field of vision. Sony seems to have built the groundwork of an augmented reality system that might actually be useful — pair this up with a set of swank AR glasses (or better yet, holographic AR glasses), and we’ll have a vision of the future we can really look forward to.
Feeling lonely? Got some Swedish kronor to burn? Now you can kill two birds with one stone thanks to Three’s Scandinavian arm. Hold up, we’re not talking about online dating here; but you could certainly start by buying a phone from 3LiveShop, which lets you interact virtually face to face with a human sales rep. Better yet, these folks are equipped with eccentric multitouch workstations (pictured after the break) to let them drag phones and spec sheets around your screen. We had a go on this service just now and apart from a couple of hiccups later on, our Hong Kong-to-Sweden call was surprisingly fluid and fun. Sadly, we didn’t get around to filming our intimate conversation with Adam here, but you can watch a promotion video by B-Reel — the folks behind the touchscreen’s Flash interface — after the break to see how it works.
Would you pay $100 to control the outcome of a movie with the power of your mind? That’s what NeuroSky and Triete Labs are banking on with MyndPlay. Simply put, it uses NeuroSky’s $99 Mindwave headset with a custom video player that monitors your mental activity during critical points in specially designed films, and offers multiple outcomes depending on your focus and relaxation levels. For instance, in Paranormal Mynd (above), you play an exorcist who must drive a evil spirit away — if you don’t focus intently, this woman will choke to death. Another gangster film has you dodging bullets and sports multiple endings; depending on how relaxed and concentrated you are, you could come away clean, take a bullet to the head, or dodge poorly and have the projectile strike your friend dead instead. MyndPlay plans to produce a raft of such short-form content for $0.49 to $1.99 per episode, and also let you shoot and share your own, scripting sequences with a tool to be released next month called MyndPlay Pro.
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