iHologram – iPhone application from David OReilly on Vimeo.

Speaking of iPhones, here’s some really brilliant work by David O’Reilly. You may have seen it already, as it looks like it’s made the rounds, but I love the technique. By doing anamorphic perspective warping of the 3D scene on the device, this app simulates a holographic 3D on the screen of the iPhone, courtesy the device’s motion sensors. Correction: Okay, it’s not actually possible to do this on the iPhone. So why not build your own hardware for the job? Rotation sensors should be possible with the proper gyro-sensor. That makes all of this even less about the iPhone, and more about what is possible with augmented reality and mobile devices. (It looks absolutely possible — and suggests still other ideas. Thanks, visceralX, for the correction.)

It’s a fairly simple gimmick here, but it suggests some of the possibility of making art not just for big screens, but small screens, too, turning a “weakness” into a strength. Way back when CD-ROMs were in vogue, I remember hearing composer Morton Subotnik talk about how multimedia for computers was a new kind of chamber music performance. He saw the shift to smaller screens not as damaging large-scale performance spectacle, but making the work more “intimate.” I wonder if motion graphics and even live visuals might be able to do the same.

One possibility: invite three or four of your closest friends to your next gig. Gather them round a little screen, uncork some wine, and enjoy real appreciation instead of a massive club full of people.

  • visceralX

    oops – looks like this was just a 'concept sketch' of a video? folks cried wolf when they noticed that iPhone can't track rotation on a single axis. its a pre-rendered animation apparently.

    that being said, the idea is sound, assuming some device had the proper hardware -accelerometers, perhaps? augmented reality is the FUTURE! = )

  • Whoops, sorry. Got overly excited. You're correct — and that demonstrates to me at least why the iPhone is the primitive, early tip of the iceberg as far as what's coming. (Furthermore, it illustrates why really *open* hardware and not closed boxes like Apple's could be the most interesting. Nothing against this iPod I picked up … but I look forward to watching open devices become more practical.)

  • Carl

    You said it. People are getting tired of lock in and openness and portability is starting to matter. The first truly open phones aren't half bad, either. Can Apple stay ahead of the open source world? It has a head start, but then, so had Microsoft with Internet Explorer.

  • Well, I should add, though, it does have a *substantial* head start. There are a lot of ingredients the competitors will need. For starters, open source or not, any *phone* vendor will have to contend with the mobile providers. (First steps Android is taking to the market, at least = good news.) Second, Apple really did do some incredible engineering and design work. Developers are willing to deal with all of these hurdles because of what they get in return. The open source community shouldn't copy the iPhone, necessarily, but they could stand to learn something from what the device has done right.

    That said, part of what the iPhone represents is this convergence of mobile processors and little screens. There are lots of platforms yet to come. We're really, really early in what's happening. And the availability of cheaper screens can only be a good trend for visualists, from little screens up to projectors.

    I just hope oil shortages don't take the whole process and reverse it. If they do, we'll just have to horde old screens and overhead projectors and such and do what we always have done … keep making visuals. 😉

  • I think that for that effect to really work, it would have to be calculating the placement of your head (e.g. that reverse-engineered Wii sensor head-tracking app). I suppose the iPhone could have a forward-facing video camera that could do face recognition and head tracking. But it would only work for one viewer at a time. Plus, do you really want a device connected to AT&T to be watching you?

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