Friday, 15 May 2009

Augmented Reality - 5 examples of this 3D virtual experience being used for advertising

Around a year ago I wrote about how a new augmented reality technology (called Magic Symbol) was offering the chance to fuse the real world and virtual world to create interesting / engaging experiences.

Augmented reality is based around holding a 2D image up to a webcam and then seeing a 3D image on screen. This augmented reality technology is now being adopted by advertisers and there have been some interesting uses of augmented reality recently.

Here are 5 examples of advertisers using augmented reality to bring their products to life:

1) Join Starfleet Academy - Star Trek Augmented Reality

Nokia and Verizon have partnered around the new Star Trek film and have created a series of interesting experiences for online users at One of the most engaging is the chance to use augmented reality to get a 'message from Starfleet' - users print off a pdf, hold it up to their webcam and get an exclusive message that they can then share through social sites.

Join Starfleet Star Trek augmented realityStar Trek 'Join the Starfleet Academy' augmented reality
(click for larger image)

2) GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality

GE have been using augmented reality to allow users to see 'a digital hologram of Smart Grid technology come to life in your hands.' Under the slogan ecomagination, the augmented reality piece really brings the concept to life.

GE Smart Grid augmented realityGE Smart Grid augmented reality (click for larger image)

3) Create an augmented reality BMW Z4

BMW are offering internet users the chance to recreate the experience of the Z4 paint commercial for themselves. 'If you have a webcam you'll be able to get behind the wheel of your own BMW Z4 and use it to express yourself.'

BMW Z4 augmented realityBMW Z4 augmented reality (click for larger image)

4) WWF mobile augmented reality

The WWF (wildlife fund, not the wrestlers) are using augmented reality on mobile phones to show how displaced wildlife struggles to cope with new environments as a result of deforestation. In this context augmented reality is very powerful, the YouTube video below shows how it works (hat tip Digitology):

WWF augmented reality on mobile

5) Create an augmented reality Mini Cabrio

In Germany Mini used augmented reality to launch the Mini Cabrio (NB: have to use Internet Explorer to open.) Prominent full page ads in German motoring magazines acted as a base for the Mini Cabrio augmented reality experience. If readers held the ad up to a web cam, they then got to play with a 3D Mini on screen.

Mini Cabrio augmented realityMini Cabrio augmented reality (click for larger image)

Whilst augmented reality has a novelty factor around it at the moment, it does demonstrate how offline and online media can work together to create an experience. Changing a static 2D image into a virtual 3D image is a really interesting way of re-interpreting print and as functionality evolves it could be a powerful opportunity (particularly for publishers) to really integrate print and digital.

Kris Abel has some other great examples of augmented reality here and I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this!

Related posts
Magic Symbol augmented reality - how the technology works

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1 comment:

Sandrine Plasseraud said...

Interesting to see how many car manufacturers had a go at this augmented reality technology actually.

In addition to the Z4 and BMW Mini you mention, Toyota also worked on a 3D app for the iQ:

And Ford launched a 3D mobile phone app for its new Ford KA:

One of my favourites 3D app so far is the Fanta one: