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.
augmented on a marker
Dibidogs application of Aller Media: http://www.telvis.fi/3d/
Dibidogs: Viki on a table
Dibidogs: Viki on a hand