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Augmented Planet on the BBC

Submitted by on Wednesday, 28 July 201011 Comments

On Monday I received a call from the BBC here in the UK, asking if I was interested in taking part in a program about augmented reality and mobile gaming. Yesterday I found myself at the BBC studios in London being plied with makeup and taking part in a short interview on what augmented reality is and what it means to game developers. After that it was a trip down to the Blue Peter Gardens to so some filming of demos.

I was asked to explain the history of augmented reality and the types of applications available on mobile devices, and how the technology can be used in mobile games. I manage to squeeze in some demos, since the news segment will be limited to only a minute or two, it will be interesting to see what they use.

I focused my demos on the various aspects of AR:

Image recognition

  • oMoby – object recognition
  • Snaptell – image recognition/shopping
  • Sudoku Solver – OCR and entertainment

Camera view / location

  • GetLondonReading – educational location application
  • Gigaputt – location based gaming
  • TagDis – location based gaming
  • Wikitude – classic AR browser

Natural feature recogntion

  • Junaio – Junaio Glue
  • Upsies – Football game

The program also features Tim Kring who is talking about Change For Good (the Nokia location based augmented reality game), and a demo of the Parrot AR Drone (the flying helicopter you control with your iPhone). We were there as independent augmented reality experts giving an overview. A special thanks to our friends over at the Guardian ( for nominating us for the opportunity.

The program goes out on Saturday and will be shown all day on BBC News 24 as well as part of the news on various BBC channels. It will also be available online. I have to admit, I’m both nervous and excited, I’m not sure I’ll be able to bring myself to watch it.

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  • Tweets that mention Augmented Planet BBC Inteview | Augmented Planet -- said:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Wyer and Augmented Planet, Lester Madden. Lester Madden said: Augmented Planet BBC Interview #augmentedreality #ar [...]

  • James Wilkinson said:

    Well done Lester! It’d be interesting to see what/how much of the material you showed them will be presented on the final program. What time does it air?

  • lester (author) said:

    Hi James,

    The show airs from 7:30 AM Saturday and then every few hours during the day on BBC News 24.


  • Stan Timek said:

    Lester, good for you getting on BBC. Definitely watch the segment as it’ll help you get better at being on-camera. I wanted to share with you another augmented reality application created by my company Atomic Greetings (

    Our augmented reality greeting cards allow people to send personal and private video messages right inside our cards. We use AR and other technologies in a patent-pending system called EVX. So far people love our cards and say that they find it much easier to simply say how they feel instead of writing it all down. Check us out if you get a chance!

    Stan Timek
    Atomic Greetings

  • Ade said:

    Well Done lester, Good to see that AR is getting some well deserved air time. Can only be good for the industry. Can I ask why you decided on using Wikitude as your ar browser and not say Layar?

    I have to say that I have been developing for layar for a while and as such find it to be my main browser of choice –>

    On another note, are there any demographics on browser usage out there..?

    Well done again on getting some exposure…now make sure you warn your isp that you maybe getting more web traffic than normal :)


  • Ade said:

    as an aside – the above cut some of my comments – shouldnt use javascript indents

    it should read

  • Ade said:


    lets try again

    ‘Note of bias – have to say that I have been developing for layar for a while and as such find it to be my main browser of choice’

    If this doesn’t work Im going to go boil my head…

  • lester said:


    Hi Ade, normally when talking about browsers I show both Layar and Wiktude. The reason I didn’t show Layar this time was because the interviewer had Layar on his phone and advised that they had been filming. I continued to show Wiktude as I had added a POI for the BBC studio. I expect my segment will get cut down to 1 minute with a demo of one of the games since that was what they were mainly interested in.

    For user demographics, I don’t believe any of that data is available. The only people who will have that is the company that published the application. Perhaps if you ask Layar with a spin on localization they might be willing to share some data.

    Incidentally, what is your main reason for preferring to develop with Layar? I have played around with creating Wikitude Worlds and it seems very straight forward, developer Layars appear to be a lot more involved.

  • remcovrOOm said:

    @lester I’m just curious: what do you mean by “…developer Layars appear to be a lot more involved?”

  • remcovrOOm said:

    @Ade also out of curiosity… what Layers have you developed on Layar?

  • ade said:

    Hi lister
    Cheers for the info.
    I have yet to play with wikitude although am I right in thinking that it allows users to design a distinct app using the browser rather than say layar whom insist or try to, that layers are linked from the main portal?

    @ remcovroom
    I currently putting some tours together for our local council.
    I’m looking at the new version of layars browser to play around with a chat/location idea I’m playing with. There is also a new browser out there that allows it to be used as a stand alone app which I’m looking at to develop a guide for one of our local moors. It will hold all points of interest using xml MO so that a mobile signal is not required.

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