Ball Invasion – AR Gaming Using SLAM Technology
The trouble with mobile augmented reality games that use the camera feed for the background is the camera usage is entirely superficial. If you’re fighting aliens, watching them appear from the TV or in front of the cat doesn’t really add any value to the game. Until now that is. 13th Lab from Stockholm, Sweden are the first company to release an augmented reality game that uses the NASA created SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology used by robotic explorers.
What is SLAM technology and what does it add to the gaming experience? SLAM lets you very accurately position a mobile device (in this case the iPad 2) in a 3D space and overlay computer data without the need for any printed visual markers. In other words, if you are playing an augmented reality game the application is aware of its surroundings enabling advanced game play such as enemy’s taking cover behind objects (your sofa) or bullets bouncing off walls.
To demo the concept, 13th Lab have released an iPad 2 game titled Ball Invasion. The game is an additive shooter with the simple concept of shooting the balls but it demonstrates the awareness of your surroundings as bullets will bounce off objects in the real world.
The game is iPad 2 only as its requires the additional CPU power. Currently the game is on 50% discount ($1.99) so grab it from here if you are looking for an app to show off your iPad.
If you want to develop your own apps and try out SLAM/AR for yourself you can register for the SDK at: http://13thlab.com/developer/ It will certainly be interesting to see what developers build using this technology in the future.