Augmented reality gaming grabs attention at E3 2012

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Gamers and developers begin to take notice of interactive technology

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) showed that the world of gaming is changing at a rapid pace. Mobile technology is beginning to play a bigger role in the lives of consumers and mobile platforms, such as the iPad and various Android devices, have become a favorite for a new generation of gamers. E3 showed that many game developers are beginning to take augmented reality more seriously, with some incorporating the technology into their operations. The event may have signaled the advent of augmented reality gaming.

Sphero brings a new twist to augmented reality gaming

Orbotix, a technology company specializing in augmented reality, showed off its Sphero device during this year’s E3 event. Sphero is a small, white sphere with a stylized blue logo. The sphere emits a soft, blue light when it is activated. Using a remote controller, the sphere can roll around on the ground and can remain active beyond 30-feet away. The interesting thing about Sphero is that it is a self-contained augmented reality system. The system can interface with iOS and Android mobile devices to create engaging augmented reality gaming experiences.

Device acts as a mobile AR marker

These mobile devices can be used to control the sphere, directing its path along a surface or through an obstacle course. The sphere sends information to the device and helps construct an augmented reality image for the user. In this way, Sphero acts as a mobile marker that initiates augmented reality experiences. Augmented reality has long relied on static markers for such experiences to be activated, but static materials do not lend themselves well to the world of gaming. Thus, Obortix opted for a mobile system that could function in the same way without making augmented reality gaming cumbersome to the consumer.

Augmented reality expected to continue gaining attention in the coming years

Augmented reality gaming is expected to gain momentum in the coming year as more game developers and technology companies begin focusing on interactive technology. Sony and Microsoft have also revealed plans to make use of augmented reality, though their endeavors are mostly confined to the digital world and limited or no representation in the physical world. Orbotix believes that its Sphero system could help gamers experience augmented reality in a new way and provide them with hours of entertainment.

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