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Augmented Reality Entertaining: Magic Show

Technology pioneering magician Marco Tempest recently wowed YouTube visitors with a demonstration of his idea of the future of magical card tricks. Using a variant of magic symbol VR, Marco programmed his machine vision system to recognise ordinary playing cards as magic symbols, transforming each of the 54 cards in the deck into 53 different symbols (two jokers produce the same symbol), which he then programmed a library of graphic effects to respond to.

As he stated when presenting the display, it was 100% real-time, with no post-processing. What he did not state of course, was that the effects and cards had been tied together beforehand, and that the system had also been programmed to recognize his gestures in spatial relationship to the cards, to serve as a gesture controlled activation interface. Still, everything else was real-time.

Still, once the library is assembled like this, it is a trivial matter to swap out animations and procedures with new ones. The genius is in using the cards themselves as the control patterns, rather than using traditional magic symbol cards.

In places the tracking alignment is a bit juddery - the sequence with the joker for example - but also shows how advanced the 2009 level of AR is getting.

The whole thing was recorded via an AR headset rig, again, being streamed to the audience at the same time as the magician was seeing it, something which could definitely be used more as this use for the tech develops.

Magic can become more magical, by combining physical, and virtual effects - especially when it moves beyond cards.


Tempest Online

Augmented Reality Basics: Magic Symbol

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