DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

What Are Google Glasses?

Introducing the Next Big Thing: Google Glasses, high-tech eyewear for the Digital Age. The glasses, which are still in development, will overlay graphics onto reality – basically putting a heads-up display right in front of your eyes.


Google has not announced a price point or release date for the gadget, but insiders have hinted the glasses may be available to consumers by the end of the year. 

How They Work
Google Glasses could potentially be an iPhone killer. How? Well, like your iPhone, they would provide access to encyclopedias of information, but using something called augmented reality, the glasses would basically overlay information and graphics as you’re walking through the real world. Want to get directions to the coffee shop? The glasses would put “virtual signposts” (that only you can see) in your field of view, in order to navigate the way.


This view – from behind the glasses – provides an idea of what type of augmented-reality features might look like. Information about specific locations is available at a glance.

Got a dinner appointment with a friend? The glasses will display a notification right in front of your eyes. The possibilities (and ease of use) have the potential to make the smartphone – dare we say it – obsolete. Just imagine a digital landscape laid out in front of you that serves up restaurant reviews (while you’re standing in front of the restaurant), reservation times and a menu – all virtually.

A Day in the Life of “Project Glass”
Once put into use, Google Glasses will be wirelessly connected to the Internet and feature the functionality of a smartphone. The wearer would be able to control that functionality via voice commands, as well as camera functions for capturing still images and video clips.


The technology may still be a year or so off, but just to be discussing the potential instantly causes our minds think of sci-fi classics that predicted a heads-up displays, like “The Terminator.”

Google created a video based on “Project Glass” (Google’s name for the Google Glasses project) to show how the glasses would work during a typical day of errands in and around New York. In the video, we see the world in first-person view and what users would see. For example, while pouring a cup of coffee, the guy in the video happens to glance upward and the display shows a tiny clock, a notation about the temperature outside and a personal memo about visiting a friend, as scheduled for that night.

Take a look:

However, Google Glasses is an idea that may take some getting used to. Internet pranksters are already posting videos that mock the futuristic headgear, including a Google Glasses World of Warcraft parody.

Then again, there was another gizmo a few years back that once might have seemed like nothing more than the product of a slightly nerdy fantasy, and it caught on pretty well. It was called the smartphone.

As far as production of the actual glasses, it’s unknown if Google will license the technology to a hardware producer, but it’s possible they could also partner with a glasses manufacturer like Ray-Ban, Maui Jim or Oakley. The glasses are expected to be fashionable as well as practical.

Powered by Android
When Google Glasses eventually appear on the market, they will harness the processing power of Google’s Android. The Android OS is one of the most successful platforms today and the fastest growing mobile operating system in the world.


Google founder Sergey Brin was recently spotted in public wearing a stylish pair of Google Glasses. 

If you’re looking to get firsthand experience developing apps for Google Android, why not go to an Android App Development summer camp? You could learn to make games and apps that someday might even be playable on those cool Google Glasses.

What do you think of Google’s Glasses? Would you wear them?

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posted by Phill Powell in Featured,News Blog and have No Comments

The Future of Car Navigation

In-car navigation systems are now more affordable than ever. GPS directional systems make arriving at our destination more enjoyable, and more importantly, much easier. In the future, however,  navigation systems will be even more helpful, thanks to Augmented Reality.


Using a system called “True3D” technology, Making Virtual Solid (MVS-California) won this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition in Munich, Germany for its advanced navigation design. 

Augmented Reality is the process whereby virtual images are projected over a real environment. The technology creates a overlay of graphics.The technology has a variety of uses and could be incredibly useful for drivers.

Driving the Future
The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is an international innovation contest that awards a grand prize of 20,000 Euros ($27,000 US) for the best new application of satellite navigation technology. This year, 401 proposals from almost 50 companies were submitted and the winner was Making Virtual Solid (MVS-California), which entered its True 3D Head Up Display & Navigation System.

The system uses augmented reality to display navigational graphics on a car’s windshield. It’s designed to provide a quick and easy way to view your directions and points of interest without taking your eyes off the road.

Incredibly, the display (which is projected over the entire windshield) blends seamlessly with the real-world objects that drivers come into contact with (for example, a gas station or even a sharp turn). It’s almost like having a video game or heads-up display that creates virtual objects along your journey. Things like road signs, hazards or other warnings are also displayed. Even a hotel logo may pop up on the horizon indicating that your destination is just around the bend.

Virtual Cable Cars
In addition to the images that are displayed on the windshield, a red cable provides a guide. The cable and landmarks appear to be on the outside of the car and are refreshed in real time (60 frames a second) just like your in-dash GPS navigation. Plus, the technology works in bright sunlight, too. It’s both an impressive and inexpensive system, so don’t be surprised if you see the technology in cars in the next few years. What’s under the hood, so to speak? For an application like this programmers are most likely programming with C++ or unlocking the power of Java.

Self-driving cars? They’re actually not that far off if you consider that the True 3D Head Up Display & Navigation System could be connected to a car computer and then be set to get you to your destination…automatically.

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posted by Vince Matthews in News Blog and have No Comments

Augmented Reality- Kids Have a Blast at 3D Graphics Summer Camp!

Augmented Reality- Kids Have a Blast at 3D Summer Camp!

I’d like to share with you my experiences from Digital Media Academy summer camp for kids.  Last summer, I had the pleasure of teaching kids one of the game-oriented teen Maya courses (similar to this year’s Introduction to 3D Art, Modeling and Animation for Game Design).  We created our own environments and built our own characters, and then loaded them into the game engine.  We waited patiently to see if they would actually work.

When they did, there were squeals of delight as our custom characters showed up in our custom maps.  We enjoyed several rounds of networked gameplay, simultaneously battling and congratulating each other on this or that excellent feature of the current map.  The kids found it more thrilling than a normal game because they had made it.

As the summer camp instructor, I was really entertained and encouraged to see my students losing themselves in their own work.  But I also wanted the kids to understand that even though the summer camp class had ended, they had been equipped with some pretty useful skills, and not just for games.  In fact, I tried to get my students to forget about games.

Well, not all games, and not forever, but at least for the moment.  I pointed out how games are just a form of what are called “real-time” graphics.  In other words, these are not fixed images that have been burned to disc or rendered on film (like television or movies).  Rather, they are images that are created on-the-fly by a computer in response to some sort of interaction with a user.

The most commonly understood use of this technology is indeed games.  But there’s a whole world of uses for real-time 3D graphics, and my students in my DMA courses could use some of the same things they learned towards these ends.  For instance, my own experience with this technology has been in the creation of museum exhibits.  In particular, my most recently finished project involved creating animations for an exhibit on the human brain for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago;.

This particular use of real-time 3D graphics is called “Augmented Reality,” and it’s becoming a very popular form of interaction.  In its most basic form, it’s the virtual markers appearing on the field of a televised football game or on the olympic ski slopes.  But it can be used for much more sophisticated applications.  One very popular recent example is the “We Are Autobots” site that was launched in conjunction with the release of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.  As you can see from the following youtube video, it can be combined with facial tracking to create a pretty cool interactive experience.

Augmented Reality- Kids Have a Blast at 3D Summer Camp!

The 3D models and animation in this interactive were created with the same tools and and followed the same recipe as the characters and environments that kids in the Digital Media Academy summer camp classes learn.  When I said this, I think it surprised and encouraged my students (and their parents).  They could take what they learned about 3D modeling in the course at Digital Media Academy and apply it to something beyond the first-person shooter that we were playing.

While talking with them about their experience, many kids expressed a hope that they would be able to pursue this beyond summer camp –  professionally as adults.  Some kids wanted to create character animation for films.  Some kids were intrigued by the artistic possibilities of creating 3D worlds.  And some kids dreamt of making the next great game.  What was great about the course is that they really could go in any of those directions.  It really was just the tip of the iceberg.

What plans do your kids have for summer camp?  Check out all the great kids summer camp courses

You’ll enjoy reading more!

Teen Filmmaking Summer Camp

Learn How to Make a Movie at Summer Camp

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posted by Geoff Beatty in News Blog and have Comment (1)