AR scratching from vanderlin on Vimeo.

“Augmented Reality” is a fancy term for describing ways of using computer vision to overlay digital intelligence on images. In other words, you can, for instance, scratch a vinyl record using a camera – plus a tag for identifying the object’s position in 3D space.

Cambridge-based designer Todd Vanderlin put together an elegant demonstration of the possibilities here, and his video has accordingly been making the rounds. (See: Synthtopia – and I actually heard about it this morning from a high school friend. The power of the Internet.)

Todd has more details on his site, which includes all kind of wonderful projects, like laser sound fountains and, always favorite around here, creepy circuit-bent baby dolls.

AR Scratching [Todd Vanderlin]

There’s actually some work to this: you need to figure out how the album is spinning. And of course, because this is augmented reality and not reality, there’s real potential here to imagine a new kind of vinyl DJing in which normal physics don’t apply.

From the video description:

I was playing around with some AR markers the other day and came up with this idea. taking just a plain old vinyl record and attaching an AR marker to the label you can track the record in 3D space. The next question was, can you scratch the record?

So by figuring out the velocity of the records rotation and applying it to the payback of the audio you can scratch. There is some digital noise that needs to bee worked out, but sounds pretty good. Its still really hard to scratch, it takes some practice but is super fun. The next step is to figure out some nice triggers for different modes. I like the idea of not needing a turntable but the actual spinning of the record helps with the scratching and playback. I made a couple modes, one where the record is paused and you can just scratch through the song. The other looks for zero velocity for x time and then continues on with the song. If there is velocity you then are scratching and the audio is affected. I think that this project has some legs can’t wait to play more.

I Want My Augmented Reality TV

So, this has sufficiently inspired you and you want more augmented reality? We’ve got more for you.

Digital artist and magician Marco Tempest has just demonstrated what happens when you do card tricks with augmented reality – and he shares some details of his rig:

Virtual Magic: Augmented Reality Card Tricks with Marco, OpenFrameWorks [Create Digital Motion]

We’ve even seen augmented reality climbing walls.

If you’re ready to do this yourself, we have a number of resources:

CDMotion has Andy Best’s tutorial on OpenCV with Processing (not an AR-specific library, but relevant): Getting Started, Popping Bubbles

We’ve also got an in-progress library for use with mapping projections in space for “spatial augmented reality”

A New Year’s video with a library for Flash, Java

A tutorial on getting started with augmented reality using Flash

openFrameworks, a library for C++ coding (which in turn supports multitouch, augmented reality – you’ll see some projects on that page)

Bryan Chung is working on a library for Processing