2010 World Cup launches in South Africa but the first use of cutting-edge promotional technology is already making an appearance. Sports have been where a lot of technology in the new Augmented Reality category first went mainstream - from Sportvision's down-line TV overlays to IBM's Wimbeldon Seer.There's still 142 days, 18 hours and a few minutes until the
Augmented Reality (AR) is technology that places data on top of our view of the world around us. The first World Cup 2010 AR made an appearance at a small event in London last week.
This screenshot is of a prototype of a system that will be found in public spaces around the world in the months leading up to this year's tournament. Passers-by will see video reflections of their own faces but with the flags of randomly selected World Cup competing countries overlayed on top of their faces. When they see that image, the country's national anthem will play.
It's not terribly interactive, but it is a fascinating experiment in trying to build international camaraderie by making fans imagine themselves as if they were fans of another country's team. How would they feel if they had that other country's flag painted on their faces and heard its national anthem? Were they from that country, they would probably feel proud. How does the AR make them feel? Perhaps like a more worldly, sympathetic person. That sounds like a positive World Cup experience.
We're told that the system was built by long-time Augmented Reality market leader Total Immersion, in partnership with CrossPlatform.tv. The face being augmented is Simon Grice, founder of MashupEvent. The screenshot was sent to us by "an anonymous source, who was very impressed."
Who's World Cup AR will we see next and what will it do? We look forward to seeing the world's most popular sport become an experience all the richer.