Tag: augmented reality tech

Coloring books get an augmented reality face lift from researchers

This traditional activity for children can now bring on a 3D experience through mobile devices.

There isn’t anything new about having a child sit down with a box of crayons to bring a color to a black and white image in a coloring book, but researchers have now added augmented reality to the experience that could allow kids to see a three dimensional version of their projects through the screens of smartphones or tablets.

With the right AR app, the drawing is monitored and a child can enjoy an enhanced experience from the activity.

For example, if a child were to fill in a coloring book image of an elephant, just as he or she usually would, the augmented reality would make it possible for the colors to be filled in on a tablet or smartphone screen in real-time and can bring an animated, 3D version of that elephant to life on the device screen. That animation is then integrated into the video that the child can watch.

The augmented reality app maintains its core focus on the typical coloring activity while enhancing what is viewed.

Augmented Reality - Image of Coloring PencilsOn top of the image the child is coloring, it creates an AR overlay on top of reality that enhances the engagement between the child and the image being colored. The preliminary user testing conducted by researchers was conducted with adults instead of children. What they determined was the majority of users said that their motivation for drawing within the coloring books was increased through the use of the app. In fact 80 percent of the participants in this study said that using the mobile app increased the connection that they felt with a character in the book.

The researchers were from ETH Zurich, the EPFL university in Switzerland, and from Disney. They made a presentation of this new AR technology based experience in Fukuoka, Japan, at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2015).

While the research is currently being shared primarily within scientific circles, it has already made its way through the tech transfer process, which has already brought to life the Disney Publishing Worldwide and Bendon partnership augmented reality product that was launched earlier in 2015, called “Disney Color and Play”.

Augmented reality headset may still be five years away for Microsoft

The HoloLens has made it into the headlines quite regularly but may not be available for half a decade.

There are a growing number of entrants making their way into the augmented reality headset realm, but despite the increasingly large number of devices, this category remains quite small, is far from mainstream, and most will admit that the devices themselves have not quite reached the point in which the average user will be using them.

Microsoft appears to be no exception to this trend as their HoloLens now looks to be half a decade away.

The augmented reality head mounted display (HMD) called the Microsoft HoloLens is “really a five-year journey,” said Satya Nadella, the CEO of the company when speaking at the Dreamforce customer conference from Salesforce, last week. Despite the fact that HoloLens is soon to be rolled out on a very slow and gradual basis within certain specific industries. This will be the first slow step that will occur well before consumers ever see it on their own market shelves. This will give the company the opportunity to test the headset before attempting to appeal to the average consumer.

These augmented reality glasses were also supposed to head to space, but were blown up in an explosion this summer.

Microsoft - Augmented RealityStill, the HoloLens is among the products that has generated the most excitement for the company over the last while, as the demos have been quite successful until now. The headset uses AR technology to superimpose digital images over top of the view of the real world. The wearer can interact with those digital images while still being able to see what is going on around him or her.

Despite the fact that this kind of AR technology requires a considerable amount of computing power, Microsoft is determined to make it possible for the HoloLens to function without having to be paired with a computer.

At the same time, packing all that computing power – in the form of sensors, processors, and other gadgets – into what is essentially a pair of glasses (that are attractive enough that a consumer will wear them) is the primary challenge being faced. Because of this, it will require more time before these augmented reality gadgets are finished.