1. Coke’s Interactive Mini Bottles for the 2014 World Cup
Coca-Cola will unveil 18 special edition mini-bottles in Brazil on Wednesday to commemorate the country’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in June.
The bottles feature designs inspired by the flags of previous host countries like Argentina and Japan, and future hosts including Brazil and Qatar. They come with an interactive element–each of them can communicate messages and avatars to another bottle in the range through Facebook smartphones. In addition, special markers on the bottles activate augmented reality animations on iPhones and Android devices. The collectible bottles can be attached to bags or phones as bright accessories.
The campaign was created by JWT Brazil creative agency and will include print and broadcast as well. The idea of the campaign is to share friendship among football friends around the world. All avatars created will be connected to bottles and be visible to another users, therefore teens in Brazil can respond and start a Facebook friendship with people whose avatars they like.
2. VVT and Rolls-Royce Imagine Ships of the Future
VTT and Rolls-Royce have joined forces to imagine what the ship of a bridge will look like in the year 2025. As depicted, there was a heavy emphasis on augmented reality displays and personalizations. Each design came from studies of crew operations and ideas from current crews.
The key points of their vision are that the stations are capable of detecting and adjusting for each user, captain’s station is highly computerized. Also the windows form an adjustable heads-up display with visual augmentation that enhances situational awareness. With this, the captain can “see through” the deck, so a crewman is visible on the augmented display even if the deck or equipment is in the way.
The screen can also show the route of one’s own ship and others, obstacles hidden by fog and other weather conditions, thermal night vision, sea ice conditions along the planned route, share points of view with deckhands and enhance them with augmented markers, and share information in real time between two vessels.
3. Rescape Plans to Turn the World Around You into a First-Person Shooter
Swedish computer vision company 13th Lab has decided to focus on gaming technology, launching a crowdfunding drive for a new “reality gaming” platform called Rescape. Rescape is made up of an hardware game controller and Reality Gaming software engine that maps the real-world in 3D and in real time. It can recognize objects, furniture and other human beings through the iPhone’s camera – enhanced with a fish eye lens – and can then allow developed FPS games to replace some of them with gaming equivalents.
To illustrate the controller and system’s potential, 13th Lab has created an Office Defender game, which turns the real world into a virtual Call of Duty, but the company is offering the SDK for free to other developers to build FPS experiences around.
The campaign aims to speed distribution of 13th Lab’s new computer vision-based Rescape Game Controller and software development kit (SDK) for the iOS platform to game developers and enthusiasts, but anyone can join the initiative on the Kickstarter page. It has so far been backed to the tune of around $10,000 (of its $150,000 goal) but there is plenty of time left. The SDK and Rescape Game Controller for Android are scheduled for release later this year.
The idea is not without its flaws. The big problem with augmented reality is that people don’t naturally walk around holding their phone out in front of them. The Rescape prototype attachment solves that, making the phone holder an integral part of the game, but it only really solves it for first-person shooters.
4. Headset from Sulon Technologies Combines VR and AR for a New Kind of Immersive Experience
Toronto-based Sulon Technologies is debuting their own take on virtual reality at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Their Cortex gaming platform is a fully immersive gaming experience, that turns any physical space into essentially a holodeck, using a spatial scanner, a processing unit, and a visor mount that plugs into any smartphone to turn its screen into a stereoscopic display. In showing off its demo, the company is trying to win over the hearts of game developers in what is becoming a fierce competitive battle to define the next generation of gaming.
A custom-made spatial scanner of the device is dedicated solely to tracking everything the system needs to work, and that info gets beamed to the phone on your face through Bluetooth. And, while the spatial scanner maps the room the Cortex is in, it locates your hands by working with Razer’s Hydra wireless nunchuck controller.Once Sulon’s software has interpreted all that info, it can overlay graphics onto your surroundings. Cortex augments reality is using a camera and overlaying graphics atop the video feed it captures. In fact, the system actually uses an Android smartphone as its display.
If you would like to be an early adopter, you can pre-order the dev kit version to follow this new prototype — the company claims this more polished hardware will be shipping out in Q4 of 2014. It’ll cost you $50
Royal Bank has updated its mobile banking app to make it easier to find the nearest ATM or bank branch. The AR function provides a live streetscape that uses icons to guide the customer to the nearest location, including the distance to get there. The key to this update is to make the location feature easier and more convenient for the customer to use.
Except navigation function the RBC mobile app lets users check balances, pay bills, transfer money and send money to Facebook friends. It has been downloaded 2 million times since its release. Android versions come with a digital wallet.
According to the head of the emerging payments division at RBC, Jeremy Bornstein, “Making continuous improvements to our mobile app to allow our customers a smooth user experience is a priority for us.” The tool that allows customers to locate branches and ATMs is among the most commonly used in the existing mobile app from the bank, he added.