Esquire magazine uses an innovative approach to revive, make sexy again the media doomed by many – a paper magazine. Naturally, this is a specific situation, as Esquire target will not migrate completely to the Internet – not like in the case of traditional newspapers. Nevertheless they are paying effort to create some media buzz, so people will start talking again about something as familiar as a magazine. Video does explain most of the things, I also recommend checking Behind the Scenes of Augmented Esquire. AR is basically live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery – creating a mixed reality. So, by showing certain image to our camera, we are gaining access to some content. Here is an example how an image from a pizza box unlocked part of a website:
How does it work here? After installing the software, assuming we have a webcam, it is enough to launch the application and place the magazine cover in front of a camera. Software should recognize the code, in this case located below Robert Downey Jr., and the fun can begin. Interactive elements are located in the whole magazine (I wonder where is the legend to that, so the user will not miss a single thing), often celebrities are used in these interactions. Definitely funny and new for the potential client. Surely, this is a one-to-few times action. Not only because of the work preparation of such feature consume, but also if it would have become a standard part of the magazine, people would simply got used to it.
I do see some potential downsides, like how sophisticated that recognition is – will it work in case of the low-end webcams? Sign (code) is rather big, but still, who knows. If it will not work, some users may get annoyed. It is a step in the right direction, user has to be engaged, take part in something new and exciting. This also does harmonize with the upcoming Microsoft Natal, also a camera-movement recognition solution, where player will control video games using whole body as a controller. So, there is a future in such ideas.