Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3D Projection Mapping

Every couple of weeks a new example of 3D projection mapping is filmed and amazes me. Known also as architectural projection mapping and event outdoor amongst other terms, it is developed by mapping a real-world object with 3D animation software and creating artistic projections within and around the constraints of the real-world object.

It's an awesome example of augmented reality and from the examples below you can see it can be used for advertising, story-telling, live music, outdoor events, gallery spaces... so many incarnations of this fascinating cross-over art.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can we have our 21st Century public infrastructure now?

Flagman standing behind his train to flag oncoming trains at a small siding between Laguna, N[ew] Mex[ico] and Gallup, N[ew] Mex[ico]. Sant Fe R.R., Santa Fe trip (LOC)

How refreshing to read an article about the NBN that links the roll-out of this infrastructure to broader economic and social policies.

Throughout the whole federal election campaign punters were subjected to red-herring analysis showing us how much it is going to cost us to get broadband in our home - $150 p/m!! $5000 per household!! We'll be broke!! All misleading, all missing the point.

When rail lines are built what unit of measure do we use? Is it cost per user? But what about the vital role rail plays in moving freight? Perish the thought the miners would be without rail line access to ports (well, that's a whole other infrastructure argument). When a (public) road is built do we measure it by how many mums take their kids to school on it? No, because these roads are also used by public transport, businesses, workers, and so many more people.

Fibre-optic broadband connectivity is the 21st Century's vital public infrastructure, it is not just another Foxtel or Bigpond. With even a casual look past this scaremongering it is pleasing to read commentary that actually identifies the following iniatives:
  • The linking of all schools to the network 
  • The Smart Grid/Smart City project in Newcastle 
  • Telstra and NEC have signed agreements with medical organisations to deliver e-health services to 17,000 GPs and 28,000 retirement villages (and through them to patients via broadband-based monitoring services) 
  • Medicare services will be provided to regional Australia, including video-based medical consultations.
Finally an article that shows that the economic benefits of the NBN will be spread throughout all industries, and more importantly throughout an individual's life (not just their home internet connection).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Contact you, but who?

E-Mail MeOK, I'm writing this post as if I'm writing about the last living dodo huddled in my hutch on a blustery deserted island, but I still feel it is important to write about. This near extinct creature that I write about today is your website's Contact Us email address.

Over the years I have been amused by some, delighted by the simplicity of others and shocked by the sheer randomness or internal focus of a few.

It might seem like a small point, but I think in the eyes of someone seeking the right information, the email address can say a lot.

If there is a specific purpose to the email address its great to somehow capture that purpose within the address, maybe something like Tumblr's support@ email address - it gets to the point. If there may not be a specific reason that you're contacting the business then something nice could be called for, I really like the welcoming nature of UBank's hello@ email address. Or if you'd like to reflect the nature of your business, maybe do something like creative agency, Breakfast, their email address is tiffany@ (get it?).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm optimistic about AR

credit: jntolva
Long time between drinks, I know, but I've now forced myself to get on with blogging about something that has been nagging at me for weeks.

Augmented Reality. There I said it. I've said it before too, and I'll say it again and again.

I want to keep saying it because I was very disheartened when watching this video by recruiter La Volta in which many of Australia's leading digital figures deride augmented reality (AR) as a gimmick or fad. Summed up, I think this is un-imaginative.

Sure, if you're trying to create a snappy campaign for the latest Hollywood blockbuster the ideas to hook an AR app into the campaign will run dry pretty quickly. But if that's all you're thinking about when discussing AR, then you've kinda missed the point altogether.

AR provides a very real tangible layer between the physical world, its objects and locations, and the meta-world with its information and vast possibilities. Taking these meta topics, let's look at AR again.

Objects, information and vast possibilities
Getting further information regarding real-world objects is now within the capacity of AR. An example being the Metaio museum app, without needed to create those odd black and white objects, AR apps can now recognise detailed images such as paintings and overlay or direct you to web-links with info on that painting. The uniqueness of objects in the real-world shows us that AR might even be an alternative to QR codes in non-logistical industries.

On the vast possibilities end of the spectrum you have bright sparks thinking up uses such as the US Postal Service virtual box simulator. For real-world objects it just goes to show that AR can have tangible and practical applications, you just need a real-world problem to solve and a bit of creativity.

Location, information and vast possibilities
Just like objects, places have info we need to know about too, so it comes as no surprise that two of Australia's largest banks have released AR property-finder apps. Both Commonwealth Bank and St.George Bank now let you see real-estate information in situ.

More practicable, are examples such as the one pointed to me by Pete Williams by Open Australia Foundation. Called PlanningAlerts.org.au, this AR layer takes local council planning permits (high-rise apartments, anyone?) and overlays the information in the real-world. Used in conjunction with one of the property-finder apps, I can see a really good case forming for AR in what is one of our biggest lifetime purchasing decisions.

Going down the vast possibilities path but sticking with the home, GE has created an AR app that let's you form the mood of your home using lighting but without needing to spend a cent on light-bulbs until you've got it just right. Using the GE Moodcam you can take a photo of a home location and modify the lighting quality until it's right, then the app will point you in the right direction as to which lights will get you in that mood.


Australian's are so good at creative problem-solving so I am sure that any cynicism towards AR will pass as soon as the right problem is found - much like the examples above. I'm really optimistic about AR, I hope that the Australian digital industry will jump on board too.