Aura Interactive launches SantaVision, an Augmented Reality Social Toy
While I usually reserve this spot to comment on the AR stuff other folks are working on, I thought I'd take this opportunity to comment on something we just released.
My colleague Maribeth Gandy and I create a small startup this year called Aura Interactive; while we are doing a variety of things with the company, ranging from consulting to product development, our main goal is to create some fun AR games and toys.
And so I'm happy to share that we've just had our first iPhone application (done in collaboration with our colleague Kim Spreen) go live in the iTunes App Store, a little toy we call SantaVision (click here to go directly to the app in the iTunes Store).
Like many people, we've struggled with the inability to "touch" the live video on the iPhone, and the corresponding inability to do accurate, fast 3D tracking, of the sort we leverage in our research prototypes (e.g., the Zombie shooter ARhrrrr!). At the same time, we've want to avoid creating yet-another shoot-the-xxxxx-around-you compass-based game, a couple more of which appeared today. We think we have come up with a fun middle ground, leveraging the accelerometer and compass to let people immerse themselves inside small AR Christmas scenes they create themselves, using the "stickers" (static and animated images), sound effects and music loaded into the application. And, using the GPS, you can share your geo-located scenes with the world.
If you try it, let me know what you think. It's not perfect, but we're having fun with it!