Augmented reality has arrived with a bang on the internet over the last year or so. Basically augmented reality can display computer generated graphics in real world environments on your computer screen. The latest developments have seen it implemented with the Papervision 3d library, which itself made a lot of Flash developers suitably excited when it first appeared. This means you can place 2d and 3d objects into a real enviroment captured via a webcam. Because of open source libraries, its webcam support and its mass use online Flash has become the easiest way to implement augmented reality apps.
But recently its started to be picked up some digital agencies and developed into some cool stuff for brands. Three of the best examples are the Baseball collectors cards that double up as 3d baseball characters, the Toyota iQ site with its rolling car and the mini catalogue that shows you a scaled 3d model of the car.
It is nice to see a new technology picked up by brands so quickly, and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of these at the moment. Topps for me is the best implementation so far, as its adding value to existing products. I hope one day that instead viewing all this on a computer screen it will be projected onto glasses so the user sees it all from their point of view as that would be very cool.
UPDATE: Someone has already done some augmented reality gaming with projection glasses. Check it out.