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Qualcomm IQ 2011: Augmented reality movie preview app demoed

During the keynote speech at IQ2011, Qualcomm’s Dr. Paul Jacobs showed off a couple of interesting looking apps that utilise augmented reality and gestures. The augmented reality app is the same Qualcomm app we’ve seen before, which was featured in this cute Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots video.

This new app is an AR movie preview/trailer player. It’s triggered by pointing a phone’s camera at DVD cases. The app recognises the cover art and then quickly loads up a preview of the film in the camera viewfinder.

A nice display of AR technology in action which we could see being useful in high street situations. You could pick up a DVD or Blu-Ray off the shelf, scan it, watch the preview and if it takes your fancy, proceed to the counter and buy it with your NFC-enabled device.

‘Digital 6th Sense’

Also shown off was a gesture-driven photo reel app. This worked by using the ultrasound sensors in ualcomm’s development handset to recognise the presence of your hand, allowing you to swish through pictures on the phone’s gallery Minority Report style. Could be good when showing off pictures when your phone’s HDMI’d to your big TV, but we’d just as soon swipe through our pictures the old-fashioned way.

The SDK for the AR app is available for developers to download now at

Cristiano Amon, Senior Vice President for product management and QCT at Qualcomm said that the SDK for the gesture-based app would be coming to second half of 2012.

Jacobs pointed a Qualcomm development handset at three DVD cases; Shrek Forever After and a couple of others that we couldn’t make out from where we were sat.

After recognising the films, the app started loading trailers almost straight away.

The titles of the movies were displayed above the red border (which you can just about make out here) which is useful. If you’ve forgotten the name of the DVD you’ve just scanned in…

Obviously, the videos looked good on a huge conference room-sized display. But on phones with smaller, sub 3.5-inch screens, this could look a little cramped. An option to fullscreen a preview once loaded would be good.

Here’s the gesture-driven photo gallery app in action. Jacobs said that the app works using ultrasound to detect the presence of hand-swipes. We can’t see that many phones coming with ultrasound sensors built in. But then again the Motorola Xoom surprised us with its built in barometer. So many there’ll be one or two devices that can support stuff like this.

Jacobs, using the force to swipe through and select an image. While impressive from a technological level, we can’t see the benefit of this above just swiping on the screen with your finger and tapping.

Waving left and right with your hand cycles through the pictures while a direct forwards push selects and zooms in on an image.