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Hands On: Vuforia “Smart Terrain”

Uplinq attendees this week got to check out a cool new feature in the Qualcomm Vuforia  augmented reality SDK. Called “Smart Terrain,” it allows developers to create apps that can see real world objects, calculated their height/width/depth and then build visuals to interact with them. Here’s what it looks like:

The new feature requires a smartphone or tablet that can see in stereo (e.g., equipped with a 3D camera). The demo team wa using a Sony Xperia Tablet Z with a 3D camera mounted on the back (and connected via USB port.) The name of this 3D camera accessory is called the PrimeSense Capri 3D sensor.

On display was a coffee table with a few items you’d expect to find in an Ikea catalog—a fuzzy vase, a wicker tissue box and a few coffee table books. 

The app starts by asking you to select “choose your play space.” Tap the table, and it maps out a 3D grid around those physical objects.    

After the app identifies the objects and is confident in their dimensions (which in our test took less than 10 seconds), the game begins. Virtual terrain began to grow all over the objects, like the vine wrapping around the vase in this image.

In the prototype game, you play a character that has to defend a tower from the creatures that are attacking it. It’s pretty wild to see this battle taking place on the coffee table, with the couch and trade show going on in the background.

“Smart Terrain” will be available in the Qualcomm Vuforia SDK in April 2014. Watch the video below to see the demo app in action.

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