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Augmented Reality (AR) brings Dibidogs alive in 3D


Aller Media Oy will use technology developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the end of March in its TV magazines. Readers who have a webcam and a PC, suitable for 3D game graphics, can bring the animated Dibidog alive and transform it to a 3D character. Created by Finnish and Chinese children, Dibidogs are animated puppies. Their adventures can be seen on channel MTV3 from 2 April onwards. VTT is developing a technology called Augmented Reality (AR) which superimposes digital information in the user’s view of the real world. Apart from printed media, other application areas of the technology include interior design, construction and virtual video meetings.


VTT has worked on developing the AR technology, which superimposes digital information in the user’s view of the real world, for several years now. Implementation usually utilises real-time video image to which 3D virtual objects are positioned with the help of markers.

In the case of Dibidogs, the user is viewing the magazine via a webcam and PC display. An animated Dibidog called Viki will appear on top of a marker on a page. The 3D character will act and react in different ways based on the movement of the webcam, e.g., by jumping, rolling and growling. The likeable puppy will always look at the camera which creates the impression that it knows that the user is there. A marker printed on a magazine can be copied and enlarged on a piece of paper which enables the user to play and interact with the Dibidog in a larger space.

To use the application, the user needs to have a Windows PC which is suitable for 3D games and has a webcam. The user downloads the application from the URL specified on the magazine and installs it with a few clicks of the mouse.

“International magazines have already used some AR elements previously, but they have typically been based on 2D video image. What makes Dibidogs unique is the use of animated 3D computer graphics and, in particular, the interaction between the user and the 3D character,” says Research Professor Charles Woodward from VTT.

VTT focuses on applying AR technologies to areas such as interior design, construction, industrial applications and virtual video meetings. 

AR can be viewed on various devices such as hand-held devices or data goggles. The next AR application developed by VTT will bring Dibidogs and other content to camera phones at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai in May.

“AR technology completely transforms the reading experience. We want to be the first Finnish magazine to provide our readers with the AR experience and provide unique experiences for our readers as well as to improve the interaction with our readers and partners. The reading experience gains a completely new dimension when the 3D puppy becomes alive with the use of a webcam and reacts whenever the user moves the magazine or the camera,” says Social District Officer Jarno Alastalo, Aller Media Oy. Aller Media plans to continue the use of AR and to experiment with different content, such as people walking on the pages of the magazine.

Publishing house Paasilinna will publish a Dibidogs storybook later this year, which also makes use of the AR technology developed by VTT.


VIDEO: Dibidogs augmented on a marker

Dibidogs application of Aller Media:

Dibidogs: Viki on a table

Dibidogs: Viki on a hand

Dibidogs animation characters

Dibidogs animation characters