Augment Our Reality: AR Dev Camp

Augmented reality has become quite the buzz word recently since mobile apps and print marketing are increasing the implementation of the technology to the mainstream. Well documented open source toolkits are allowing developers to create a swarm of AR applications that bring this way of accessing information to everything from your Android/iPhone to your Flash-based website.

As with any emerging tech, there comes the time that the community (developers, hobbyist, entrepreneurs, businesses, academia, governments) has to come together to address and solve the issues needed to further advance the technology. So on December 5, 2009 was the first ever Augmented Reality Developer Camp held at the HackerDojo in Mountain View, California.

"After nearly 20 years in the research labs, Augmented Reality is taking shape as one of the next major waves of Internet innovation, overlaying and infusing the physical world with digital media, information, and experiences. We believe AR must be fundamentally open, interoperable, extensible, and accessible to all, so that it can create the kinds of opportunities for expressiveness, communication, business and social good that we enjoy on the web and Internet today. As one step toward this goal of an Open AR web, we are organizing AR DevCamp 1.0, a full day of technical sessions and hacking opportunities in an open format, BarCamp style." - AR Dev Camp Wiki

The camp was an amazing day of discussion, examples, hacking, networking, and drew a crowd from AR novice to pro. The scheduled topics included a variety of interests from AR, 3D printing, and digital worlds. Being one of the event organizers kept me at a meta-level but I did jump into parts of informative sessions when I could. Earthmine had a great session and in addition to the many amazing things they are doing, they can create 3D building models from photo scans to centimeter accuracy.

There was a great 'Hello World' tutorial by Sid Gabriel for AR on Android and also a session for creating AR for Flash using the FLAR Toolkit. Metaio's CTO Peter Meier announced that Junaio, Metaio's AR social network platform, will open its API now for developers and starting Monday, developers can use the new interface to build their own applications that interact with the Junaio platform.

The lightning rounds led by Sid after lunch included applications that really wowed the crowd. Examples included Maribeth Back and her team showing impressive AR work they are developing at FXPAL, NASA showed an example of an Air Traffic Control system that tracked aircraft with overlayed data annotations, I shared an example of AR using X3D, and even a little AR ghost hunting on the iPhone (ARGH video). For all the great examples in the lightning round, check out the AR Dev Camp wiki.

I recommend all read Chris Arkenberg's great write up on the camp for a deeper insight and of course there are a variety of photos (these are Gene's) from the Mountain View event online. I thank all who attended, all the sponsors that contributed, and the core team for making it happen. This event would have been nothing but an idea without Mike Liebhold, Gene Becker, Chris Arkenberg, Anselm Hook, and those that organized the other camps. Yes, there were concurrent camps in New York, Manchester UK, Amsterdam, and more are scheduling all around. Props to those initial collaborators that made it the AR event held round the world. Let's see how this moves the future of AR closer to the now.

Thanks to AR NewsRoom for the video below and coverage of the event.


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