Sony is going all-in with AR, introducing Wow Factory
Sony is currently showing off many new things at the SXSW, and the big thing it is emphasizing on is AR, augmented reality. Augmented Reality tries to blend things that are not there, into our worlds. So far till now, we have seen it with Microsoft’s HoloLens, where a user has to wear a giant headset, and through that, it is then able to see things such as virtual icons and menus. However, Sony is changing all of that by showing off a new project called Wow Factory.
Wow Factory uses projectors to display an image on a surface. With the help of multiple projectors, it can create a more complex scenery. Then people can go up to it and interact with it. Wow Factory uses sensors that track motion and measure depth and pressure to let you interact with virtual objects.
Unlike other companies, Sony has created an AR experience where the users do not need glasses or bulky headsets. All they have to do is go up to them and start playing with it. The entire system will then adapt accordingly.
One of the tech demos that was being shown off was AR air-hockey. Three people each had a physical paddle with them and one physical puck on the table. Then with the help of the overhead projectors, which can track objects at 1,000 frames per second, more virtual pucks were added to the game. Now the player has to worry about multiple pucks, one physical puck, and the rest virtual. The projectors can display the UI and the pucks, while the sensors can track your paddle to see if you hit any pucks.
Though the average person may not get this installed in their homes, as buying multiple projectors is quite an expensive ordeal, these things can be installed in places such as theme parks and arcades, where the general public can use them and play with it. The idea is neat, and it shows off the potential of AR if done right. The mix hardware with software can create some never-before-seen remarkable experiences. Whereas AR has been limited to mobile applications on our smartphones and smart glasses, Sony is expanding it and opening it up to everyone.