Quick Pitch: Ball Invasion for iPad 2 uses simultaneous localization and mapping technology to build real-time 3D maps of the environment as you move the iPad’s camera around.
Genius Idea: A 3D shooter game, set in the real world.
Adding the three-dimensional realm of what’s in front to you to a first-person shooter game could make for some pretty entertaining game play. Ball Invasion, an application [iTunes link] for iPad 2, promises just that.
Hold your device’s camera up to a flat surface with plenty of detail — a bookshelf or magazine for instance — and Ball Invasion will map out your surroundings and generate a playing field. You’re then tasked to shoot “malicious and cunning balls hiding in the real world,” with the challenge becoming more difficult with each progressive level.
Ball Invasion is the first product from Stockholm-based computer vision startup 13th Lab.
“It lets you very accurately position your iPad 2 in 3D space and overlay stuff on reality without any known or printed visual markers, as is required in other solutions,” 13th Lab founder Petter Ivmark explains.
In layman’s terms, the technology turns your real world surroundings into the backdrop for interactive, 3D game play.
That said, 13th Lab has greater ambitions than being known as a cool app maker. The startup aims to create a platform for 3D game development and will make its technology accessible to other developers.
“Hopefully, this will spur a lot more innovation in computer vision,” Ivmark says. “We strongly believe that as computer vision and artificial intelligence evolve the camera will take over from GPS as the device’s most important sensor to understand, interpret and navigate the world.”
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