Think catching wild Pokémons hiding in the bushes is exciting? Think again! As demonstrated by an MIT project, Pokémon Go and other augmented reality based games could get even more immersive! How? By allowing the digital characters to interact with real world surroundings!
In Pokémon Go!, pokémons are just digital images superimposed over the image that your phone’s camera is capturing. A new technique enables the digital monsters to react to real world surroundings! Imagine finding Pikachu playing with your cat’s tail or Balbasaur stealing a sip from your coffee mug, the technique merges VR with real world seamlessly!
Two videos surfaced online, demonstrating what the future holds for the game. Check it out.
In the first video, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab illustrates how the technology (dubbed as interactive dynamic video) works in a series of sketches: a camera detects and analyzes vibrations generated when an object moves, using the data to predict how a certain item reacts in new situations. As seen on the video, the movement of a shrub’s leaves can be manipulated digitally, allowing developers to insert the characters in tune with the movements.
As seen on the second video, the technology can be applied to develop better augmented reality games, allowing players and digital monsters to interact with each other in a fun new way! Apart from developing better interactive games, the technology can be used for special effects in movies. In the clip, a digital monster is added to the moving shrub and making it appear like it is reacting to the plant’s leaves. In another example, Pikachu is seen happily plopping on top of a structure.
The videos were uploaded August 2 but it was only last week when a Reddit user came across the clips, sparking interest in the wildly popular game anew. The clips generated so much excitement that even lead researcher Abe Davis, joined the discussion on Reddit. Davis is a computer science Ph.D. candidate working in computer graphics.
However, some redditors wondered if the technology could be used for sinister purposes, such as, making it seem like someone committed a crime and using the video as evidence.
Davis assured that MIT is working on other technologies that could detect if a certain video is real or fake. On the thread, David said,
“Actually, all of this work on photo and video manipulation has given rise to another line of research: photo and video forensics. The idea is to come up with algorithms that can tell when an image or video is real, or fake. So even if we can’t tell the difference, there is hope that a clever algorithm will.”