Felt Lab: Software

The Aurasma App allows you to view a 2D recognition marker with your mobile device camera and watch as it is replaced with a digital media asset.

Aurasma is a software app that works with mobile devices (currently iOS and Android) that have a camera. When you run the app and point your device camera at a 2D image that has been set up as a recognition “trigger image”, the app will retrieve a digital media image, video or 3D animation over the trigger image.

As you move the camera, the digital media object stays anchored to the recognition marker. This means that you are able to move the camera relative to the marker image and see the experience from different angles. For the 3D animation media, this means that you can see different perspectives and look “into” the space like you’re literally looking through a window or “Looking Glass” into a magical imaginary world.

Of course, this allows for innovative and thrilling marketing experiences that turn print and images into vibrant enhanced experiences.

The best part of Aurasma though is that you are able to make your own auras with the app. Through their simple interface, you can upload your own digital media asset, or select from a collection of prepared aura digital media assets provided by Aurasma. You then use your camera to focus on a marker (perhaps your business card or brochure?) and define the boundaries of the marker.

Once you save your marker and your digital media asset selection, your device is able to show off your aura. You can make your aura public so anyone can access it–to do so you will need to direct people to “follow” you on Aurasma.

Examples of auras people have created are sending a video message on a greeting card, bringing personal photos to life, leaving hidden clues in a treasure hunt, adding instructions to a machine and augmenting textbooks and project work in education.

Technology Specifications

Mobile Platforms iOS 4.3 or later
Android 2.2 and up


Derivative.ca has created a powerful procedural graphics generation software packaged called TouchDesigner.

Float4 RealMotion

Float4 RealMotion allows you to interact with digital content using a wide variety of interactivity devices:

  • Mouse interaction
  • Polar Coordinates 2D touch coordinates
  • ShadowSense shadow coordinates
  • Infrared 3D camera (Kinect Technology) gesture and coordinates
  • can also be integrated with Christie Digital Interactivity Kit if needed

RealMotion was developed by Float4 based on a foundation of Game Engine technology and practices. It is used to build interactive display installations for high-end experiences for Digital Out Of Home signage (DOOH). The purpose of interactive DOOH displays is to capture the attention of the transient audience and draw them in to spend time with the digital display.

Once the people are interacting with the display, it provides an opportunity to use digital media or content to communicate with them. What would catch your attention as you are walking by digital displays? What would make you glance at them?

The best way to understand what Float4 creates is to view some of their videos on their Vimeo page.

Float4 are not yet marketing their product for general sales.

This technology is a high end graphic processing system that has a wide range of options for customization. It is optimized to process video, sound and high definition graphics very efficiently and the responsiveness of the system is beautiful. It also has a lot of special effects for image manipulation.

You can use a wide variety of infrared technologies as input devices (including a mouse) and you are not limited to only one type of input!

As you interact with the digital media experience, your interaction triggers responses on the display and transforms the display.

The display can be presented almost anywhere. It can be projected (as large as a building projection or a theatrical stage projection) or displayed on any type of display device. It is also able to manipulate and change the sound experience and affect the sound output.


Layar is an exciting app that allows publishers and advertisers to add interactive augmented reality overlays to any print or 2d image. It merges the online and offline worlds by bringing new levels of engagement to a previously one way conversation.

Print publications are using Layar to engage their readers in new and interactive ways. It enables readers to click on the augmented reality overlays embedded in print media to play videos, sound files, view images or click on links such as tweets or URLs.


Some augmented reality applications create an imaginary world that surrounds you with digital media assets.

Through your device’s camera, you can view the world around you as expected. However, with apps such as LiveButterflies, the camera lens allows you to see a magical world that is invisible to the naked eye.

All around you, above, below, behind, in front and to your sides, you can locate and watch butterflies flutter. Touch the device display with your finger and a butterfly will land on your finger and flutter for you.

String Augmented Reality App

String is an augmented reality app that lets you display rich 3D graphics on top of the camera view as if they existed in the real the world. It uses framed images as markers and understands where they are in 3D space– this allows the graphic overlays to stay with the marker as the user moves around it.

With String you can incorporate 3D animation to make images come alive. It will even allows you to track up to 10 images simultaneously. String supports integration with Unity, which is the current state of the art in high-productivity mobile 3D engines– this offers exciting possibilities for creating mind blowing graphics and animation for you projects.

Spacecraft 3D

NASA has been putting phenomenal effort into its public outreach program using digital media for many forms of communication. This is a great approach since the information they have is so unique, deep and rich. By making it publicly accessible through their web site and apps, they are inviting people to explore and understand and engage in what they’re working on. It’s no longer shelved away in libraries or accumulating dust in vaults. It’s OUT there and we can play with it..

Of course, it’s clear that by communicating what they have, NASA is building their fan base and engaging the public. This is needed to maintain interest and funding in the program and build a business case that space research is important. It is about marketing, but also about awareness and education.

The Spacecraft 3D application is included in the Augmented Reality exhibit in the Felt Lab to demonstrate that Augmented Reality can be used to allow people to explore and experience huge complex equipment in 3D. The marker allows the viewer to select and view different types of spacecrafts (including the Mars Curiosity Rover) in 3D based on the actual blueprint models for the spacecrafts. You’re also able to interact with them, move parts on the spacecraft and personally move around the marker to virtually view the 3D spacecraft in 3D (zoom in, zoom out, look underneath).

Imagine how this would inspire young people to become more interested in science or robotics? It is an incredible tool to help people understand large complex physical objects in a virtual world.

If you’d like to incorporate a NASA 3D model into your augmented reality project, resources are provided by NASA.

Sun Life Augmented Reality App by Arsenal Media

IRIS, A Journey through the World of Cinema, Cirque du Soleil

Ultimate Dinosaurs

When the Royal Ontario Museum staged another dinosaur exhibit, they wanted to make the exhibit accessible and intriguing to bring a new dimension to understanding dinosaurs.

The whole exhibit integrated new technology and digital media communications to make it easier to understand and appreciate these dinosaurs. The ROM Ultimate Dinosaurs app was created by String Inc. to bring 3 of the dinosaurs to life through 3D animation.

The recognition markers were placed outside the ROM on the sidewalks and used in marketing promotions to invite people to download the app and explore the magic of bringing the marker to life. In the exhibit space, the markers were placed on the floor in front of the skeletons. By focusing your mobile device camera on the marker, the dinosaur comes to life in through a 3D animation that shows how the dinosaur moves. You can even take a picture of someone with the dinosaur and post it on Twitter or Facebook.

In general, the ROM Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit pushes the envelope on how you can communicate and teach people about concepts that are new to them. This augmented reality app helped to capture attention in a crowded marketing world and inject something new into an exhibit topic that is as old as the bones in the exhibit.

How can you thrill people? Capture their attention? Engage them and motivate them to share the news through social media channels? This is a great example of using digital media to communicate, inform and engage the public.


Wikitude provides similar location based augmented reality information to the Junaio app and will also add marker based recognition later in 2013.

It is the only Augmented Reality app that is available today on the BlackBerry devices.

Wikitude is a mobile augmented reality software which was developed by the Austrian developer company Wikitude GmbH (formerly Mobilizy GmbH) and published in October 2008 as freeware. It displays information about the users’ surroundings in a mobile camera view. Wikitude was the first publicly available application that used a location-based approach to Augmented Reality.

For location-based Augmented Reality the position of objects on the screen of the mobile device is calculated using the user’s position (by GPS or Wifi), the direction in which the user is facing (by using the compass) and accelerometer. In contrast, in marker-based Augmented Reality a marker (marker, e.g. QR code) is used for tracking.

The location-based Augmented Reality view provides a direct view of reality “enhanced” with additional, computer-generated content, as opposed to a conventional map, which provides an abstract view from above.

The central element in the Wikitude World Browser is the location. Compared to regular web pages, where the location of the user plays a minor role, Wikitude World Browser is optimized for mobile location-based usage.

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WordLens is a mobile app from Quest Visual that allows you to dynamically interact with any text and translate it into another language. The translated words are displayed in the original context on the original background. The translations are performed real-time. The app also allows you to use the built in dictionary to manually type in words that need to be translated.

The app has the additional ability to erase words and reverse words. The current supported languages are English, French, Italian, Spanish and German.