Check out the video above or the YouTube version below to see some examples of our latest iPad and iPhone augmented reality work.
Beyond a gimmick...
We believe the iPad is a game-changer for AR applications in the professional exhibition, marketing and communications industries. It also has fantastic potential for engineering, medical visualisation and design.
Augmented reality should not be viewed as an ends in itself but as a whole new medium with its own unique potential and pitfalls. Designing experiences to fully exploit this medium is a different challenge to producing linear experiences for say video based productions. Part of our job at Inition is helping educate clients about how to exploit this new medium. When harnessed correctly, the hand-held form of AR can be extremely rewarding and very intuitive. When we hand out iPads running one of our AR applications, we find we don't have to explain anything to the user about how to interact, it just comes naturally.
Rich and intuitive interactions
The touch screen of these devices offers another layer of rich interaction allowing 3D augmented objects to be touched in order to bring up annotation data for example, or pop up existing web-based content in Safari. We can also trigger animations and sound using the viewer's proximity to an object. A simple example in the video above shows the ambient city noise getting louder the closer the viewer moves in to the virtual city.
We are currently exploring all sorts of innovative uses of AR to visualise architectural data, engineering and product design models and medical data. Architectural applications include bringing to life 3D printed models with annotations, usage graphics and crowd and lighting simulations. A product designer can view and share his design with a client and view the product, 1:1 scale, in situ with other existing products on the store shelf. Medical data can be brought to life and virtual slices cut through MRI scans, for example, to offer a intuitive and efficient way of exploring complex 3D dimensional datasets.
AR is not just about technical wizardry
AR should be treated with the same creative processes as any other production. The ability to track an AR marker, face or body is a great technical tool for AR, but the real value lies in producing great well thought out work that excites, engages and delights. The trend (and benefits) of using AR for its gimmick value alone have pretty much disappeared (thankfully). It's now all about developing high-production value applications that exploit the medium effectively and provide experiences that would not be possible in any other way.
Check out our sister company Holition. They specialise in utilising AR for visualising items on the body - a great example of how the AR market will become more specialised as it expands.
Andy Millns, Co-founder and Director, Inition.