Virtual reality added to real world objects

Two Cambridge University researchers have developed a system that allows a user to upload virtual content to a mobile phone using a technique called Augmented Reality (AR).

Now, Simon Taylor and Connell Gauld have formed a company called Extra Reality to commercialise the technology that they have developed.

Their first product, Popcode, is a two-dimensional logo which, when scanned with the camera in a mobile phone, allows 3D models, animations, and interactive elements to be displayed on the phone.

Each small Popcode logo contains a unique ID which is associated with specific Augmented Reality content. When an application on the phone recognises the Popcode it downloads the related content from the internet and display it to the user.

A recent demonstration put together by the company showed how Popcode can help to make assembly instructions for flat-pack furniture more understandable by showing the exact steps required in 3D.

The Popcode website at shows some other possible uses of the platform. Some of the ideas include augmented business cards that can be updated over the internet and adding interactivity to static maps such as those displayed in cities.

Taylor said: ’Although we’ve put together a few pieces of content ourselves to give some ideas about what is possible, we’re really interested to see what uses other people will think of for the technology. A developer kit available at our web site contains examples and documentation so developers can get started working with Popcode, and we’ll be happy to help out with any problems people come across through our forums.’

The team are continuing to work on improving the performance and capabilities of Popcode, as well as making the application available on more mobile phones.