Web + Images + Potential = Blown Mind

You may have already seen this, but in case you missed it…

If you’ve ever doubted that photo/imaging/video was going to integrate really nicely with the web, then think again, and take a peek at this:

No, no, no, not my dumb arse there off to the side…take a look at the image. It’s more than a stupid cartoon and my stupid face. What you’re looking at is my screen grab of a digital hologram.

I know this sounds like I’m pulling your digital leg, but I’m digital not: I went to a website, printed out a piece of paper – a sort of “key” -, turned on my MacBook Air web cam, held this piece of paper facing the webcam, clicked ‘go’, and it all began to animate. Digital 3D.

Everything you need to know is at this site here. Takes a couple of steps, but worth it in IMHO.

Just so happens that this site is a renewable energy site for GE, and just so happens that these little animated graphics are totally kooky, but what blows my mind is the potential for photographs to integrate with the web. Print a photo, show it to your webcam on some site and BAM, some dope-ass image dances in front of you. Print an image on a t-shirt, point your web cam at it and booyah! an alien pops out of your chest in 3D.

Ok, not to get childish, and dismiss the goofy graphics and the cheesy application, but consider the possibilities… Images in your possession are now able to interface with web enabled holograms. Holy crap. (Sizzling sound of my mind cooking…)

Any other ideas of how cool this could be, and some killer photo-centric applications for this little gem? Do share your thoughts.

[For those of you who don’t want to visit that site, don’t have a printer, lazy, or are on a mobile device, here’s a step by step walk thru after the jump…Click the ‘continue reading’ link below.]

Play by play:

1. I visited the GE.ecomagination “augmented reality” site

2. I was prompted to print out “the key”. This is what the key looked like:

3. I had to update to Flash 10 – was prompted via a link on the site.

4. I right clicked in the main display window and selected the bottom camera option in the list – “USB video class video”. Instructions say all Mac users should do this…

5. I clicked on the “Launch Solar Energy” button, and the image started to animate. Voila.

Here’s a vid that’s as kooky as the animation, but you’ll get the point if you’re on a mobile device that can watch it:

And yes, for those go-getters, the code is just waiting for you here.

Lastly, again, anybody got ideas of how this could be used in photography?

(Thanks Patrick – we’re keeping an eye on your Dogs in School site coming soon. And the alien popping out of the t-shirt idea is his, so don’t swipe it).

40 Responses to Web + Images + Potential = Blown Mind

  1. Shelby White March 10, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    That is totally awesome!

    I wan’t to see more of these things designed but on a bigger scale!

  2. IvanL March 10, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    The technology is definitely mind blowing. I wanna say it’ll only be used as a party trick, but I’m sure people will find other uses for it.

  3. Chase Jarvis March 10, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    @ ivan: seriously? I think further iterations of this could change web marketing substantially. imagine, recognition of visual cues by cameras initiating an entirely new set of outputs…in real time.

    ouch, just hurt my brain again.

    imagine the feedback loop

  4. Neilson Eney March 10, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Sweet! One idea, linked from a demo via the FLARToolKit project site is to put the key image on your forehead and use it to scan a panorama photo. The demo isn’t all that artistic but it’s one example of how to use with photography.

  5. Josef Moffett March 10, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    I imagine that, given the technology is almost(backspace,backspace,backspace,backspace,backspace,backspace) already available – the need for a key will soon vanish, and facial recognition will allow for virtual 3d experience via your web cam – 3d website design anyone.

    Walk along a library of shelves, select the image/document you want, put it back move somewhere else, just by your own (approximately) natural movements!


  6. Josef Moffett March 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    Of course, now we just need to get the computer to figure out how to bash our noses when we walk beyond the end of the isle ;-)

  7. Matthew Saville March 10, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Gosh I can’t wait to see what people will do with this! WOW! I’m sure I’ll think of something brilliant in the middle of the day tomorrow, too…


  8. ingalbraith March 10, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    You know, when I first listed to Johnny Lee talk about his research (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/johnny_lee_demos_wii_remote_hacks.html) I was thinking about how it could possibly integrate with photography. As far as this technology? Shit, I don’t know. Something rad, I’m sure. Some sick combination of the two? Where the viewer can experience a single photograph, or marketing campaign, in a virtual third dimension on screen? Who knows.

  9. EZ March 11, 2009 at 12:09 am #

    After seeing that, my mind is sufficiently blown. Very cool. I’m thinking about training holograms… Nikon could implement this. For everybody that buys a D3X, they get a key. Once they log into Nikon’s website, show their key, a hologram of the camera body appears and the tutorial begins. Check out the rotating display of all the buttons/functionality along with narration!

  10. anthony March 11, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    Chase this thing is amazing. Could be used to project dangerous subjects into compositions. I love it. too cool! :)

  11. Aaron March 11, 2009 at 1:00 am #

    Launch a video from a recognized photo. e.g. your portfolio photo of the people running up the sand dune with the SUV in hot pursuit could have them run past the camera with the SUV barreling up the hill.


  12. Rob March 11, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    How 'bout 3D baseball cards?

  13. Tomaž March 11, 2009 at 2:34 am #

    This realy is mind blowing. And I would definitely agree with Chase that it also has a lot of potential. Imagine passing by a clothing store where a camera recognizes your body and starts putting clothes on you on a large display.

  14. Karen March 11, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    totally unbelievable. I saw a video about that the other day, which proves that the graphics dont necessarily have to be terrible – this mini cooper looks great! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBser6_gToA&eurl;=http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2009/03/fun_with_augmen.html

  15. Ed Z March 11, 2009 at 5:20 am #

    That is very cool – I think it is definitely something that could be used in a creative website – for exapmle, give out business cards with your “key” that unlock something cool on your site. (also have to have it printable for easy access)

    I think there would be a delicate balancing act – on the one hand you could make some cool content unlockable with the key, but on the other hand, you never want to make it difficult for your viewers to access your content, right (what about those that don’t have webcams)? So where is the balance – on the one hand making it accessible enough for anyone to see, but on the other hand having the cool “key unlock” feature.

  16. Tyler, Chicago March 11, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    That’s the fun part about progress. Most of the best things start out as whimsical curiosities. Then something down the road will let it evolve into something we can’t live without.

  17. AlexMenendez March 11, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Can I get this to work on a MacBook Pro with the Ichat camera? If so, how?

    Thanks for the cool blog Chase. Keep it up.


  18. Will and Debbie March 11, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Check it out, thanks Chase


  19. Gregory March 11, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    This technology is pretty insane. Pretty much just expanding on what other people have said, it’d be pretty amazing to use in a direct mail campaign. Mailing clients screenshots from videos or slideshows on a postcard with instructions on the back. When they hold it in front of their webcam, BAM the video/slideshow that the screenshot was taken from starts playing. A new and creative way to get your portfolio quite literally in the faces of clients. Awesome stuff.

  20. Kim A March 11, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    I’ve been digging around for AR tools for the past few days, and remarkably, most of this tech is actually _years_ old. It would be very disappointing if it were only used for marketing/advertising, as the fine art potential is probably more mind-blowing than the tech itself. But, alas, even Apple dumped QTVR a while back. Oh well.

  21. Khayyam March 11, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    It has been in use for some time now. Read this article that I came across a few days ago. I think that what Topps had done is very creative and straight genius. It’s people like this that are carrying our generation into the next. Check it out :

  22. Justin Evidon March 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    The technology used to develop this is called Papervision, similar to what you see on this site: http://www.sonicjam.co.jp/. Apparently the process involved in creating this type of stuff is ridiculous, so major props to GE for jumping on this technology so quickly.

  23. Anonymous March 11, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Chase, I see my early comments didn’t go for vain. The revamp of the site really changed your image in my eyes, and probably more “early skeptics”. When you shed that “arty” behavior in the introductory video and refreshed the portfolio, I can only say: kudos!

  24. Shelby White March 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    You might want to see this. http://www.squidder.com/

    Driving a mini car by using FLAR.

  25. Gallardo March 12, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    Augmented Reality will be integrated in our daily life soon enough in all forms and functions. An example…

    on YouTube:

    and the Programmers site:

    @ Shelby White: They have em there on a bigger scale ;-)

  26. Raff March 12, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    Its amazing; like Jesus. Do you think the Roman’s will nail you to a cross for this?

  27. Jillis March 13, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    too bad it doesn’t seem to work on my MacBook and build in iSight cam :-(

  28. Derek March 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    Speaking of cool, new technology… check this out.

    “Touchless” technology. It’s a camera. It’s a projector. It makes decaf; okay it doesn’t make decaf.


  29. watzabatza March 14, 2009 at 3:41 am #

    Agood design… It’s a mind blowing indeed. Good Day…

  30. Kristi March 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    Alright – here’s your use for photo/video. Too bad you hadn’t thrown this out there prior to capturing the ninja footage. (smile) For video – capture all angles (with camera cleverly hidden) wrap these together within this gem and someone would be able to step inside the studio with you. (smile) On the photo side – my thoughts would be to take the round-robin shots of lighting setups. Put these together and people would be able to see a lighting setup in a more interactive way.

    There – two ideas. (smile) Now, who has the time to test them out and post?


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