Mobile Monday: Qualcomm makes Augmented Reality a reality

Mobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented Reality

Much like most people, when I think of Qualcomm, I think of those little chips that go inside devices that we use. And that is pretty much where it ends.

Boy was I wrong !

Mobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented Reality

Qualcomm was the sponsor for Mobile Monday in Johannesburg, South Africa and they blew me away with their technology.

The evening started as with every Mobile Monday event. The crowds gathered in masses (over 400 people !), business cards were being exchanged and everywhere were groups of people discussing some bit of technology whilst nursing cold beers. This is a clearly a winning formula.

Mobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented Reality

Jon and Richard herded the crowd and directed everyone’s attention to the Big Screen where Dominique Friedl, Qualcomm Business Development Director began his presentation.

Dominique FriedlMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented Reality

Qualcomm are “the processor chip” people. What does that mean ? if you look inside your mobile phone device there is a pretty good chance that it runs on the Qualcomm processor. This is what makes your device fly! The Snapdragon S4 processors by Qualcomm is built in such a way that your mobile device (phone and tablet) can do more on even less battery power, and can preform various entertainment types of functionality whilst on the go. From console-quality gaming and shooting 3D pics and watching videos  – the reason this is do-able is due to the Snapdragon processor.

In the famous word of Infomercials: But wait – there is more…

This is the part that is usually untold when it comes Qualcomm. Qualcomm has a huge developer program that empowers developer to build the next evolution of mobile apps & tools – Augmented Reality is a reality !

In short, Augmented Reality (or AR as the cool kids know it) marries up the “real world” and the software that is on your phone. When you open up the software and point it as the Augmented Reality item, the software reacts to it.

“A picture paints a 1000 words” and so here are two AR examples.

The first is BAIND-AID Magic Vision. When your kids get a sore, you put a plaster on (band-aid) and if you point your phone at that plaster, the Muppets come to life and your kids instantly forget about the booboo:

 

Mobile Monday - Qualcomm - Sea MonsterMobile Monday - Qualcomm - Sea Monster

The second example is from a local South African company called Sea Monster. Amongst other things, they developed Augmented Reality applications.

The Shuttleworth Foundation gave Sea Monster a Flash Grant to develop an education-based augmented reality (AR) app. They took built a an amazing AR app to teach kids maths and Pengy the Penguin was hatched ! Penguin asks a maths question and the kids have to show him an answer – if it is correct, he eats a fish. Remember, this is all happening on top of a piece of paper on a desk. The software “understands” how to interact with that paper and the kids love it !

 

Mobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented RealityMobile Monday - Qualcomm Augmented Reality

So after the short presentation, the Mobile Monday crowd descended onto the Demo Room to see/touch and feel what AR is all about. Animation comes to life right in your hands!

So in summary:

Its the biggest platform that is yet undiscovered and developers were clearly impressed by the technology and the applications that this can bring to their companies and to the South African market.

New Zealand has niched itself as the home of 3D animation films, there is no reason why South Africa can’t be the home of Augmented Reality.

So when opportunity knocks do you open the door or complain about the noise ?

I am pretty sure I know how the Mobile Monday crowd will answer that question !

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