While the technology might not be brand new (see GE’s ‘Plug Into the Smart Grid’ campaign from earlier this year) the December issue of Esquire magazine is bringing Augmented Reality to a much wider audience. All you have to do is look for Robert Downey Jr. sitting on top of a bar-code/crossword puzzle image and the rest you do from home, or take it into an Apple store and really impress/weird out people (like that one time I used the ‘remote’ App for my iPhone and started playing videos and songs as people walked by a computer. Sometimes you have to make your own fun while you wait for people).  

According to HuffPo  when you hold up the magazine to a webcam “an on-screen image of the magazine pops to life, letters flying off the cover. Shift and tilt the magazine, and the animation on the screen moves accordingly,” followed by a 3-D version of Robert Downey Jr. joking around about the technology and his involvement.
  If you want to learn more about the magazine industry and how this is a great step Esquire’s parent company, Hearst Corp., is taking then I suggest reading the HuffPo article. Since Andrew Vanacore has already written that article I’m not going to re-hash it.

I’m going to think about practical applications for the technology. Magazine covers are neat and will help sell some copies for sure, but that’s small time. Think bigger, think about how the 3-D image can add to a user experience, a gaming experience. Add a few interactive sensors to a remote, or a person. The Wii just took gaming to the next level, again. Imagine placing yourself into immersive 3-D world’s from the comfort of your living room. The possibilities seem endless for what this technology could do for gaming.

I know I’ll be looking forward to experimenting with it more once the Esquire hits newstands in early November. From last year’s E-ink cover, to the augmented reality edition, Esquire seems to be the only magazine around who is making an effort to make print media current and exciting again. While I can’t predict the future of periodicals I can say as long as innovation exists there will always be some cash in my wallet ready to jump on it.


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