Get Primed: Transform Yourself Into Optimus


For the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, DreamWorks has commissioned a promotional website where you can transform yourself into Optimus Prime. The facial recognition and tracking works surprisingly well, and is fun to play around with for a laugh. If you click on the spinning autobot icon, Bumblebee will fly onto your printed AR marker and show you a new trailer.

Nintendo DSi Facial Recognition and Tracking

This 3D modeling looks a lot better than the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 graphics (see above left). The lighting and detail create a ‘closer to reality’ feeling than a lot of other AR wraps. This is due to the bright lighting from the front, as though the robot is lit from your computer screen. The tracking works way better than on the Nintendo DSi (see above right), which has a very hard time finding and resizing in real time. Once I had the ActiveX plugin loaded, the Optimus mask stayed with me (and on me) and rarely lagged.

This use of AR+facial tracking works to create buzz before a movie premier, but let’s take a quick 10 in 10™ to imagine how this technology could be used for other purposes:

  1. Costume websites let you try on masks before going to the store to buy/rent them.
  2. Cosmetics companies let’s you ‘paint’ your face with blush, rouge, eye shadow.
  3. Frame manufacturers give you different styles of glasses to model.
  4. H&M let’s you try on hats.
  5. An online ad for domestic abuse could show you a live picture of yourself with a black eye and a disturbing caption (no time to write it now).
  6. A plastic surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty could let you test noses. But they’d have to be bigger than the original to fit over your real nose, so never mind.
  7. You could play a ‘stare down’ game to see how long you could stare at the screen without blinking
  8. In a similar vein, you could be challenged to a game of ‘serious’ where you’re not allowed to laugh. The computer would show you funny pictures and scenes, and read your expression. If you smile you lose the game.
  9. Bedtime stories: you could do skits of famous fairy-tales over a webcam. Imagine mom or dad is away on business and can freak out their kids by turning into the big bad wolf. Okay, scratch that one too.
  10. Trying on different hair styles and colours would also be cool: an AR salon.

And my ten minutes are up. Can you think of any more? Leave them in the comments.

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