Monday, 23 April 2012

Change of Name

The profile name originally attached to this blog was Lucius Nesterov; which was my Second Life account name. If you're unfamiliar with Second Life, then I should say that originally you had to select a surname from a predefined list, so it's not as random as it seems.

Since the blog has become more general, I'm switching to my real name of Matthew Leach.

Probably like a lot of people, I've built up a legacy of weirdly named accounts across different online services. Over the past couple of weeks people have, understandably, refered to me as Lucius Nesterov, and it seemed weird.

I'm still keeping a "brand name" of Thoughtfulmonkey though - website, gmail and twitter (@thought_monkey).


Saturday, 21 April 2012

onvert Competition Entry #2

** Update: Corrected the codes on the image above. **

This example would be a poster or page in a magazine, which aims to increase awareness of endangered species.

It tries hook people through their curiosity - presenting a question, but not the answer. Basically, which are more numerous: actual Tigers, or people that support teams named after Tigers. Unless you're completely oblivious to the plight of endangered species, then the answer is probably obvious; but it still aims to shock through the scale of difference.

It uses the standard educational principle that if you just give someone an answer, then they can easily forget it, but if the are actively involved in finding an answer, then they are more likely to remember.

I originally wanted to compare the number of Black Rhinos to Chiuauas, but stats were hard to come by, and I didn't want to compare random things, like Rhinos Vs nuclear weapons.

PDF of the poster:
Web-view of "Animals": of "Fans":

The Numbers
To be honest the figures are probably miles off. For example, there is an American baseball team called the Detroit Tigers. Their contribution was a guess based on attendance at their games - I went with 10,000. Where-as if you follow information on Wikipedia - that the majority of baseball fans in Southern Ontario support them - combined with the population of Southern Ontario, and surveys on what percentage of the US population are considered baseball fans, then you end up with just over 5,000,000 (not even including Detroit itself). But it was getting complicated, so it's more of a concept really.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

onvert Competition Entry #1

onvert seems to be a fairly new entry into the smart-phone Augmented Reality market, and they're running a competition to start things off: I'm still kicking myself for not submitting to the Layar one, so I couldn't let this one slip by.

onvert use quite a nice system where you scan a QR code to launch the augmentation - removing any chance of confusion between different people's creations. The best part though is its simplicity. You can just upload 2 images to the website (a target image and the augmentation), and you've got yourself some AR. This obviously means that you're limited in what you can do with it, but it covers a lot of what people will want to do.

Topic of Submission

I've got a few ideas, but the first one that I went with is based on toy packaging. It seemed best if the augmentation provided half of the content; not just a little bit extra. The concept was to use a transforming toy, where the AR revealed what it looked like in its transformed state.

However, I didn't want to get disqualified at some point for using copyrighted imagery. So...

Creating a Transforming Robot
Time for a lengthy diversion. I decided to create a papercraft robot for "simplicity". The basic process was:
  1. Create a rough prototype in polystyrene.
  2. Create a 3D model in Google Sketchup
  3. Convert it to a paper model using PePaKuRa Designer
  4. Add some chopped up photos and graphics

Shown below are the prototypes (the one on the right was to check face orientation before adding graphics):

And the finished result (click for larger image):

Not bad as a first attempt at papercraft, but definitely more work than I was expecting.


The diversion continues, as now it was time to create the packaging. The most important features are the onvert QR code and reference image on the back. You could pick up the box, scan it, and then see what the transformed version would be like.

Finally the OnVert

Eventually it was time for the main event. Using photographs and graphics from the previous steps it was fairly quick to put together. I went with 3 layers in the AR - a shading layer, an intermediate step, and then the final transformation - arranged in a kind of upward spiral. The images, including reference are:

With the composite image:

Experience it yourself using the tag and reference image below:

(Click for larger image)