Useful Augmented Reality

By any measure IKEA is an innovative brand and when they team up with Metaio, one of the leading Augmented Reality(AR) technology companies something interesting is bound to happen. The 2014 IKEA Catalogue app for Android and iOS will let you place, move and share over 100 pieces of furniture in 3D AR. IKEA’s internal research showed that 14% of their customers have in the past purchased furniture of the wrong size and 70% do not know the size of their own rooms. Hence the app was created to allow consumers to visualize the size, shape, colour and positioning in situ (video below). At its worst an AR app that allows customers to see how IKEA’s products would fit into their own homes should reduce the returns of ill-fitting furniture and at best it could provide a significant increase in online sales.

World’s First Augmented Reality Coin

Just over a year ago the Royal Dutch Mint produced the world’s first QR Coded coin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mint in Utrecht. Now they have produced the world’s first Augmented Reality coin, a silver Aruba 5 Florin called ‘Shoco’ (image below). Aruba is a small Dutch island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the ‘Shoco’ is a burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia arubensis) which is unique to the island and also their national symbol. The coin uses Layar’s augmented reality platform and you can find the app here for Android or iOS. Users reach a website with information on the coin and on the endangered Aruban burrowing owl.

The two sides of the augmented reality coin

QR Code News Digest

Five short items consolidated into one post for brevity:

  1. The smallest QR Code in the world
  2. Student video competition
  3. QR Code Nuts
  4. The future of Augmented Reality
  5. Oxfam Shelflife app

The smallest QR Code in the world

First up is the smallest QR Code in the world. Created by the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at Trinity College Dublin each module in this QR Code is 1 millionth of a metre wide! The QR Code was patterned with a Focused Ion Beam microscope which acts as an atomic power hose sputtering away material, like a sculptor working with a chisel. The QR Code was then imaged with electrons using the same device. The QR Code resolves to a PDF brochure for the 2012 exhibition program at the Dublin Science Gallery.

The smallest QR Code in the world

Student video competition

Recently QR Pal launched a viral video competition for university students across the UK. The competition challenged students to create a 30-90 second viral video to promote the launch of QR Pal for iPhone and showcase their creative talent. The cash prize for the winning video (below) went to Bill Davies, from the University of Chester.

QR Code Nuts

A QR Code made from Mariani almonds could join the historic list of edible QR Codes. Sightbox created the QR Code for publication in a trade magazine with a favorable reaction from both the client and the buyers. The code resolves to a nice looking mobilized landing page.

QR Code made from nuts

The future of Augmented Reality

If you want to get an idea of what direction Augmented Reality is heading then you need six minutes to watch the video below. The video was released by Metaio to coincide with the announcement that it is to add 3D Object Tracking and Visual Search to its free mobile Augmented Reality (AR) Software Development Kit (SDK), part of its Augmented City platform.

Oxfam Shelflife app

Oxfam is rolling out a new app called Shelflife for use in its charity stores. Donate an item and you receive a QR Code sticker to attach to it, then you scan the code and use the app to tell the story behind your item for its next owner to enjoy. Potential purchases of you item can scan the QR Code, view what you have written and add information if they wish (video below).


Augmented Reality, Image Recognition And QR Codes

I have posted on the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) as an eventual replacement for QR Codes previously, now it seems that Sony have taken us a step closer. Sony’s ‘SmartAR’ is an anchorless (no marker) AR technology that can recognize everyday objects including photographs and posters and display AR information without having to keep the object in view (video below at 1.58+). Apparently the object recognition technology was developed from Sony’s robot projects but there is no indication as yet when they will incorporate it into products.

Demonstration of Sony's anchorless augmented reality

Street Sign Augmented Reality

Leo Burnett Madrid have created a novel campaign around a smartphone app for Fiat’s supermini the Punto Evo (video below). The Fiat Street Evo app reads any traffic sign like a QR Code and then displays one of Punto Evo┬┤s features related to that sign. Stop signs for example show the car’s breaking braking capabilities. There are secret prizes hidden behind a few of the traffic signs and should you want to test drive the car the app will also show the location of the nearest Fiat dealer.