I bought a copy of Mamma Mia! The Movie on Blu-ray. To celebrate Universal’s 100th anniversary, it’s releasing some of its films with ‘augmented reality’ (AR).
Which sounds cool.
As you can see in this photo, the front cover of the cardboard sleeve (why is a cardboard sleeve necessary?!) contains a sticker claiming “I COME ALIVE THROUGH YOUR SMARTPHONE”:
Which sounds exciting.
Imagine my joy when, whilst watching the movie, I could point my phone at the TV and get contextual information about the film (commentary, background information about the beautiful locations, song lyrics, etc).
Ah, no. That’s what happened in my head.
In reality, I followed the instructions on the back of the box. I downloaded the Universal 100 app, pointed my phone at the front cover of the DVD, and got this:
Basically a sort-of movie trailer for Mamma Mia! in response to recognising the image on the front of the box. The video is displayed inside an AR-style, 3D surround.
Kinda fun but disappointing and not really what I was expecting from the hype on the box that claimed the Universal 100 app would “reveal the magical 3D movie experience”.
The best use case I can think of for it is that people can point their phone at the box in a real-world shop to watch the ‘aura’ (the video) before buying it. Not that anyone buys DVDs/Blu-rays in shops any more.
Anyway, so I Googled “aurasma”, the technology inside the app and found a TED talk that explains what Aurasma is. I’m a bit more impressed now.
It’s probably actually what one of the Sony apps on my Xperia phone is based on. That app does cool things like recognise the label on a wine bottle, gives you information about the wine, and tells you the nearest place to buy it. Oh, and adds dinosaurs or fish when you point your phone at your friends.