• Karen Abramyanc

Location Based AR for Entertainment

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

What happens when you combine Augmented Reality with GPS, location-based sensors and computer vision? You get location based AR!

What this means in practice is that digital content can be overlayed onto the real world based on your location.

This has applications for navigation, trade shows, cultural tourism, construction sites and much much more.

In this high-fidelity LBE example, an empty room is being transformed into a lush forest. The tablet provides a portal or window into a virtual world

In this post, however, I would like to focus specifically on location based AR for entertainment & marketing (LBE). Most of us by now are familiar with the Pokemon Go phenomenon. Pokemon Go uses AR and your device's location to provide a more immersive, personal and thus meaningful experience than is possible with traditional video games.

LBE is not only relevant for gaming, but can also be used to increase the level of engagement between brands and their customers by enabling novel, interactive marketing campaigns.

However, due to the limited processing power available to mobile devices, LBE apps can only integrate simple digital content with a user's surroundings. This might be ok for a cute, cartoonish game such as Pokemon Go, but it falls far short of providing compelling experiences that require photorealism for the suspension of disbelief. So, for example, a hypothetical Coca-Cola AR 'scavenger-hunt' app could encourage users to roam central park in search of their famous polar bear mascots using their mobile devices... Now that's what I call a FRESH marketing campaign!

The problem with this hypothetical LBE campaign for Coca-Cola is that polar bears have fur which, for 3D digital bears, can only be created using advanced visual effects software for film - an effect hopelessly out of reach for real-time graphics on mobile devices... That is, hopelessly out of reach until now.

Bottega's LightStream allows film-grade visual effects such as fur to be used for real-time applications such as LBE and other real-time apps.

The kitten on the left is a typical, low-quality 3d model used for mobile 3d apps. The kitten on the right is a high-quality 3d model used in film production which can now be used in real-time apps on mobile devices using LightStream
A regular 3d model (left) versus a LightStream 3D model (right). LightStream can depict realistic fur in real-time on mobile apps