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Fall 2009...

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Page 27 of 91

28 Fall 2009 The basic idea is to take video and overlay it with virtual 3-D objects, text, or sound in realtime, either on a handheld screen (such as a mobile phone or Nintendo DS) or a head-mounted display. The educational, entertainment, artistic and business applications are nearly limitless. The technology allows a blurring between the real and virtual on a scale that's never been seen before. In one recent research project, Tobias Lang and Blair MacIntyre at Georgia Tech used a head-mounted display and a Second Life client to overlay objects and avatars from Second Life into the real world. The head-mounted display included a camera, to take video from the perspective of the user; a computer, to engage with Second Life and reprocess the video; a location sensor, to give the computer data about where the user is looking; and an internal projector, to project the finalized image onto the eyes. For now, most augmented reality "stages" are stationary. A small piece of patterned paper serves as the "fiduciary marker" to tell the head-mounted computer where to project the virtual scene. A very simple example of augmented reality would be the yellow "first down" line seen on broadcasts of football games. This helpful graphic serves as a sort of memory enhancer for viewers. Instead of having to imagine where the first down line is, they get to see it automatically, outsourcing the cognitive task to the computer. Watching football might not be the most intellectually challenging activity, but the basic principle of outsourcing cognitive tasks obviously has potential applications beyond sports broadcasts. To get an idea of how much augmented reality has started to explode just in the year 2009, chew on these stats: looking at Google Trends, searches for "augmented reality" exploded to four times the five-year average in 2009, starting from just the average level at the beginning of the year. Games Alfresco, a leading AR blog by Ori Inbar, founder of Pookatak Games, recently nominated 18 augmented reality games for its "Games Alfresco Hall of Fame Award." Thirteen of the games were made in the last half of 2008 or the first half of 2009, real virtuality augmented reality Blurs the line Between the real and virtual MICHAEL ANISSIMOV augmented reality (ar) is a technology that has made truly extraordinary steps moving from science fiction to reality in the last year alone, and seems poised to explode into a variety of new applications in the imminent future.

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