Augmented Reality – New Wave of Commercial Advertising?!

I’m not sure if there is anything more annoying than an ad that completey covers a news story that you are reading or scrolls across the screen without warning. Somewhere on the ad (that is probably not even relevant to what you are reading) is a little hidden “X” that takes you 3 minutes to find and close. Well, you’re in luck… we won’t be discussing those ads here.

Last week, I stumbled upon some really cool ads that use something called augmented reality. According to Wikipedia, augmented reality is defined as a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. For the ads that wil be discussed in this post, it’s basically a digital hologram that appears with the use of a single sheet of paper and a webcam.

GE is the preferred example that I am going to showcase. They are promoting a green, alternative energy ad with their wind turbines and solar energy. See Delphic Sage’s augmented reality creation after the jump.

Here are some quick and easy steps to try it yourself:

  1. Print out the marker found here.
  2. Turn on your webcam.
  3. Launch either Wind Turbine or Solar Energy Augment Reality on GE’s site.
  4. Face marker at webcam and you’re off and running.
  5. Move, twist, and turn the marker to achieve desired results. (Optional –  With the wind turnbine, you can blow into your computer’s mic and change the speeds of the propellors.)

There are definitely some positive and negatives that come to my mind when working with this type of ad. I compiled a list below:

The Positive

The Negative

  • Forces you to print a piece of paper for a relatively “Green” ad
  • Can’t be displayed on older computers that do not have the appropriate software
  • Need a pretty quick/reliable computer
  • Took a long while to utilize a fairly old technology for commercial purposes

Who knows where this will take us in the future, but all I know is there is boundless entertainment for the current augmented reality.  I would love to see it on a much larger scale some day, probably somewhere on twitter.

Post was inspired by the following articles:
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/20/ge-uses-digital-hologram-to-advertize-windmills/
http://thefutureofads.com/2009/02/27/ge-plugs-into-the-smart-grid-with-augmented-reality/

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