Tech will show 3D Super Bowl play-of-the-game

February 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The morning after the Super Bowl, you'll be able watch the game's play-of-the-day -- in 3D, on your smart phone, without glasses.

Richard Hart demonstrates the first augmented reality sports section and art show in this Drive to Discover report.

Imagine, you are standing on the 50-yard line of Cowboys Stadium, home of the Super Bowl, through a phone. Point it yourself in any direction. This virtual tour is "augmented reality." Square markers, similar to barcode, are beginning to appear just about everywhere on walls and other objects. If you point your phone's camera at one, it instantly overlays a new reality on top of what you're seeing through the camera's field of view.

"It's mashing up virtual and reality," Rob Rothfarb explained. He is an Exhibit Developer at San Francisco's Exploratorium. "What I'm showing here tonight are some examples of locative artworks. They're virtual artworks that exist in space, but they're completely invisible to the naked eye."

The scene was "After Dark," a science and art event for adults only, held on the first Thursday of every month at the Exploratorium. For the one on February 4, Rob Rothfarb used augmented reality to build tributes to three surrealist artists. In one, you were stalked by one of Salvador Dali's giant ants. In another, Man Ray augmented colors and animates the weather. And another one placed you behind Magritte's famous face apple.

Jeremy Brautman, from Oakland, snapped a virtual shot of one in front of Greta Billinger.

"Yeah, it was a little hard to line up," Greta said. "But you see them around town, these reality checkpoints, so we wondered what would happen here tonight. We're members of the Exploratorium. We come to these [After Dark events] every month."

The next step is using the reality technology to zoom around the Super Bowl play-of-the-day. The trigger is a photograph in USA Today. Just like a similar photo from one of the playoff games, when a phone is pointed at the photo, it renders a 360-degree view of action on the field that you control by rotating the newspaper or the phone.

Augments require a download, which is free, of software called Junaio. They can be sponsored. And, this thing with the screen and lens and batteries? We need to find a better name than "phone." It's a whole lot more than that.

That issue of USA Today, with the augmented reality Super Bowl play, will be coming out Monday morning.

How to use your phone to see the 3D Superbowl play-of-the-game.

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