Augmented reality with Auras: Matt Mills and Tamara Roukaerts at TEDGlobal 2012

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Matt Mills and Tamara Roukaerts

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if our phones could see the world the way we do?” That’s the basic question that Matt Mills asks to introduce a demo of extraordinary technology from the new company Aurasma.

He holds up a painting of Robert Burns, and his colleague Tamara Roukaerts points a phone at it. On the phone screen (shown on the big screen to the audience), Robert Burns begins to move, to talk and to take a drink. Amazingly, all of the processing for this augmented reality is done on the device itself.

As another example, he takes the morning’s newspaper. Again, Roukaerts points the phone at it, and it immediately begins to play a video of updated news — in this case the results of Maria Sharapova’s results from Wimbledon. They call these connections “auras.”

This isn’t just a faster way to get information, it’s a new way to communicate and teach. He holds up a wireless router, and the phone shows him how to connect its many ports by animating the different-colored wires right on the phone screen. The audience murmurs in appreciation. Auras can also place cinema-quality animations into real life. (Roukaerts demonstrates by setting Mills up to be attacked by a lifelike dinosaur.)

Auras work by triggering off any object in the physical world, rather than a special code or marker. And the tools are free, open and available to anyone. They show an example of a teacher who tagged up parts of his classroom. They demonstrate how easy it is to create them by making a video of the audience, and tagging it to Mills’ own gift bag. Within minutes, it’s ready to go.

An example can be seen here >>

Photo: Ryan Lash