Autobots? We are, for now at least

After NBS Nightly News and Experience The Enterprise comes… We Are Autobots:

It went live a few hours ago and we’ve been working flat out on it over the last few days, weeks even, so I’m just too damn tired to elaborate. Think I’ll go to sleep instead.

UPDATED 10:30am 17/06/09 – Mmm, sleep.  So, woke up, grabbed tea, and made straight for my PC to see how the site had been picked up.  Quickly found pieces on Slashfilm, I Watch Stuff, FirstShowing and Gizmodo, as well as the expected volley of coverage on the various Transformers fan sites we reached out to.  All in all people are calling it pretty much the way it is; clever tech, creative marketing, a few minutes of free-for-all fun.

Looking a bit further and wider, it was interesting to see a contact at one of the studios commenting on Facebook that augmented reality (AR) is the ‘dancing hamster’ of Summer ’09.  I know what he means, given that AR is wildly overhyped in marketing circles at the moment, and every agency in town is now looking at pumping out this kind of experience, some of which (i.e. ours, of course) are better than others (i.e. other people’s).

That said, it’s important to acknowledge that AR has potential far exceeding the creation of fast-burn hi-tech marketing trinkets.  Search for ‘augmented reality’ on twitter today and We Are Autobots is a drop in the ocean compared to all the people heralding the unveiling of Layar; ‘the world’s first mobile augmented reality browser’:

Coming also on the day that iPhone 3.0 is released, bringing the promise of a broadly accessible mobile platform capable of delivering high quality AR, it’s important to remember that the webcam-based experience is just the clumsy beginnings of the consumer experience.

Mobile devices will transform AR into something FAR more user-friendly and intuitive, empowering us to access and interact with a layer of 3D content seamlessly superimposed onto the world around us.  And, rest assured, we marketers will be there, ’empowering’ audiences to point their phone at posters in order to bring movies, and music, and marmite and moccacinos to life before your very eyes.

But we can take it further still.  Having lunch with some guys from Xbox yesterday, the conversation turned to Natal – the ‘controllerless’ gaming experience they unveiled at E3 a couple of weeks ago, via the following thoroughly family-friendly video demo:

Fold this kind of tech into the mix, oh, and maybe throw in a pair of these

…and suddenly we’re in a really interesting place – a reality augmented by whatever digital enhancements we see fit, with which – and THROUGH which – we can freely interact, using just the movements of our bodies, and the expressions on our faces.

Twenty or so years ago people started talking about virtual reality. Give it another twenty, give us time to pull all these pieces together, and we’ll be doing more than talking.

UPDATED 3:10pm 17/06/09 – While we’re waiting for the future, Jason Theodor (who I connected with after he blogged about Experience the Enterprise) has put together a spontaneous list of ideas for how the face tracking tech could be put into practical application.  This has been put toegther using his 10 in 10 method, which I like, because I know that sometimes the best ideas perish the moment you give yourself time to talk yourself out of them.

Tags: ,