Imaginality Unleashed Released as Beta Preview
(Note: This is a text-only press release. For a visual overview, go here)
'Mixed Reality', or 'Augmented Reality' has been in research labs for a few years now, but its finally reaching consumers in the form of Imaginality Unleashed. Mixed Reality is the concept of taking a view of the real world and overlaying virtual imagery - something like the hologram of Princess Leia from the original Star Wars, except it currently requires a layer of technology between the hologram and the viewer.
In the case of Imaginality Unleashed, that technology is a standard computer and webcam, but the result that is displayed on the computer screen is anything but standard - instead of just seeing the image from the webcam, you can see virtual 3D objects such as planets, dinosaurs or a beating heart anchored to real handheld paddles. These paddles can be easily moved in front of the camera in 3D, just like you would with real 3D models, but with many added benefits. Benefits include the ability to animate the objects over time, have them interact with each other, trigger narrative audio, and respond to the user (solving a puzzle etc.) not to mention the benefits of virtual objects: not dangerous, cheap to reproduce, easy to store and the ability to defy physics. You can also take a snap shot image or video of what you are doing to add it to your notebook.
Imaginality Unleashed, developed by the New Zealand company MindSpace Solutions is a free, easy to use, internet connected, Mixed Reality player. It is like an Internet browser for mixed reality content - providing access to ‘Modules’ of content that can be installed over the internet. In as few as two clicks, Imaginality Unleashed can be installed and automatically download the latest list of available Modules. You can then browse through the list, and when you decide to get a Module, it will automatically download and install - all without leaving the application. Some Modules are free, including a Christmas themed Module that lets you become Santa, a reindeer or a snowman, try eating a giant candy cane, use a selection of other props or put some mistletoe to good use. Some Modules will require payment, which will also be as easy as possible and completed without leaving the application.
Imaginality Unleashed also comes with a set of handheld paddles you can print off - the virtual 3D objects are 'anchored' onto these paddles whenever the camera catches a glimpse of them. And for those without a webcam, you can still use the modules in "Mouse-Only" mode, where you move virtual paddles around with your mouse instead of moving real paddles with your hands.
Imaginality Unleashed currently has a focus on educational, with modules that include “Build the Human Heart”, “Discover the Planets”, and “Earth and Moon Cycles”. “Build the Human Heart” uses four paddles to hold the chambers of the human heart. Users bring them together to explore their connections and build the heart. You can also see a beating heart, discover interesting facts about each part and change to ‘X-ray’ mode which shows blood flow. “Discover the Planets” shows the planets, sun and moon rotating at relative speeds on their appropriate tilt. In each corner of each paddle, relative mass, density, size and distance from the sun is visualised. You can also discover interesting facts about each planet and when you bring any planet close to another, both re-size to their relative scales. “Earth and Moon Cycles” lets users move around three separate paddles holding the Sun, Earth and Moon to explore how their reliative positions affect the cycles of the moon (full moon, half moon etc). Another paddle shows what the moon looks like to someone on the surface of the Earth - this image changes as the positions of the other paddles changes. Users from childhood to retirement commonly grasp this traditionally complex concept in only a couple of minutes.
In addittion to these educational modules, MindSpace Solutions is developing other content and is looking for third party developers, vendors, advertisers and publishers. Imaginality Unleashed is currently released as a Beta Preview, and as such, MindSpace Solutions is giving away all of their modules for free for a limited time.