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Augmented Reality Marries Magazine Cover, Webpage and Webcam for Hologram Experience

Augmented Reality is an new communications technology that enables users equipped with Webcams to interact with videos or 3-D images online in real-time.

The July 2009 issue of Popular Science features magical -- well almost magical -- windmills. Wind power that YOU power up.

The row of windmills on the online cover comes to life when you activate them with your Webcam. Hold the physical magazine up to the Webcam and activate a 3D image. Then ... Blow into your microphone to make the windpower turbine blades spin.

GE's Smart Grid technology inspired a partnership with Popular Science to create a hologram that was provided by Metaio, a software maker who has the "Unifeye Viewer" -- available for both PCs and Macs.

It's not cheap... but cutting edge breakthrough seldom are.

And once the technology is tested, ongoing ad potential is not far behind. A host of participants will be knocking on your doors in the near future offering you this taste of the future.

There's Popsci Media, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (San Francisco) and OMD.

To get a taste of this new "augmented reality" advertising and communications method, visit http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/popci/ --- GE's Ecomagination innovation launchpad.

As an interesting policy aside -- GE would not have its name on the cover of the Popular Science augmented reality edition because it was not responsible for its creation. Hence, no sponsorship or advertiser role. But since the PopSci Web page automatically turns into a GE URL, you might get the feeling that this is also a new form of "product placement" or advertorial relationhip.

The American Society of Magazine Editors have rules about those kind of things -- and this example of technological coziness calls into consideration the "letter of the law" of guidelines that control "visible use of the cover for non-editorial or consumer marketing purposes."


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