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The Media Graphics News

Esquire Launches First Augmented Reality Magazine 82

An anonymous reader writes "We've seen augmented reality applications for years (and seen the GE windmill replicated in PopSci), but now Esquire Magazine seems to be trying to show off the undying value of print by launching its 'AR issue' — which, from the demo video, looks pretty cool. Applications include a 3D cover with Robert Downey Jr., a weather-changing fashion portfolio with The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner, a time-sensitive Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman with Community's Gillian Jacobs, plus a song, a photo slideshow, and a face-recognition ad from Lexus. From the behind-the-scenes geekery: 'Advancements to further involve the user were happening even as we produced this issue, and while motion-sensor recognition already exists, so-called "natural-feature tracking" technology could soon put you inside AR without any googly-looking [note: not in the Google sense] boxes at all.'" Enjoying Esquire's AR issue requires downloading software — Windows and Mac only.
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Esquire Launches First Augmented Reality Magazine

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  • Bah (Score:2, Insightful)

    Enjoying Esquire's AR issue requires downloading software — Windows and Mac only

    I use Linux, you insensitive clod!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You wouldn't use the software any; the cross section of Linux users and people who would care about this is non-existent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pmontra ( 738736 )

        I belong to that cross section. Either I'm non-existent or your post has to be modded as flamebait or troll.

        Whatever the case, Esquire made a mistake not using a technology that could be ported easily to any platform (Java?)

    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Funny)

      by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:35PM (#30041238)

      I use Linux

      You may not be in their target audience.

      • Re:Bah (Score:4, Interesting)

        by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .enimaf.copa.> on Monday November 09, 2009 @10:17PM (#30041522) Journal

        I'm a 30 year old, college educated male. I'm seriously not their target audience?
        I don't have a webcam. While I run linux, I have Windows and Mac available to me. But I'm still not going to download some random-ass application which requires a webcam to view whatever shit they are offering me.
        If you're offering something other than The Internet, you damn well better have a FANTASTIC bit of information about how it benefits me. Esquire doesn't have that.

        Download the software here to make Robert Downey Jr. pop to life on our cover and see other things in the magazine start talking and moving.

        Really? That's your fucking hook? It's about a blowjob short of what I'd need to go for it. We have something called Flash which already does that. Tell me why again I need to download software for that?

        • Actually, they're lying. Robert Downey Jr. doesn't come alive on their cover. You use their cover instead of the mouse. Orient it different ways and the image on your computer (not the dead-tree cover) moves.

          If this is "augmented reality", a Wii+balance board+wimote+nunchuck is SuperDuperAugmentedReality. As an added bonus, with a Wii I don't have to look at Robert Downey Jr.

          It's official, folks, Esquire has jumped the shark.

          • That, and popular science did this about half a year ago with there issue that had the wind turbines on the front.

            not so first there esquire.
          • Robert Downey Jr doesn't come alive in anything I've seen him in, so jiggling around a photo makes an exciting change of pace IMO.

        • "a blowjob short of what I'd need to go for it. We have something called Flash which already does that." Flash blow jobs? what version?
    • Enjoying Esquire's AR issue requires downloading software -- Windows and Mac only

      I use Linux, you insensitive clod!

      It's LAME. Basically, it's some software that uses your webcam to recognize which page of the magazine you're holding up to the camera, and how the page is oriented - you're using the magazine as a mouse or pointer.

      This is NOT "augmented reality" - it's print media going "OMFG I'M DYING" and FAILING!

      This is about as "smart" an idea as the cue cat. Or for us really old farts, remember those weird graphics strips in PC Mag that you were supposed to scan in?

      Why should I use a magazine as a controller? I'm going to look even stupider than the loon in the next cube with their light sabre.

      • it's print media going "OMFG I'M DYING" You actually made me LOL with that.

      • It's LAME. Basically, it's some software that uses your webcam to recognize which page of the magazine you're holding up to the camera, and how the page is oriented - you're using the magazine as a mouse or pointer.

        Precisely. I don't see anything about this that would appeal to anyone but a child, much less Esquire's audience.

        This is about as "smart" an idea as the cue cat.

        Since I've never heard of "the cue cat", it's probably safe to agree :)

        • Hey now, the cue cat was great. Not for it's *intended* uses, admittedly, but a PS/2 barcode scanner that was basically given out for free from Radio Shack had uses for certain. =)

      • Or for us really old farts, remember those weird graphics strips in PC Mag that you were supposed to scan in?

        Oh, you mean the ones with the babes sitting backwards chair so they weren't quite so naked? Yeah, I remember those. Scanning took forever...

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:57PM (#30040970) Journal Buzzword Compliance Magazine.

  • by NoSleepDemon ( 1521253 ) on Monday November 09, 2009 @08:58PM (#30040984)
    I fail to see what's so impressive about the magazine, they seem to have taken 'save PINs from bottle caps of Coke and enter them online to win!!' to a whole new silly level. Claiming that this is somehow augmented reality is ridiculous. Why would I want to buy a magazine and then hold it up to my PC? If I'm reading a magazine I don't have my PC handy, if I'm reading stuff on the web then I don't want to have my magazine handy. And I hear I have to download some spiffy software too? Why not just have the whole thing online? Ugh, this is almost as bad as when some tool decided to call Fear Factory's sound 'Terrorkore', almost, but not quite.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Augmented Reality part is likely due to the fact that how you hold the thing in reality affects things as is viewed in the computer. It is clunky and silly, but this is still the beginning.

      Baby steps, friend. Baby steps. The fact that media is slowly getting into this means we'll be getting a ton of funding. And the more funding, the faster it progresses.

      Perhaps, in the future, we'll all have tiny monitors in glasses and all billboards, etc, will be flat and featureless. Depending on what programs we've got

    • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:16PM (#30041104)

      There's nothing impressive.

      1: It's not augmented reality - it's a shitty flash site that scans a 2D barcode using your webcam and gives you some shitty ads and "content" deemed to shitty to go in the magazine proper.

      2: Even if there WAS an aspect of augmented reality - augmented reality is shit. The ONLY area where augmented reality can ever be not shit is applying an overlay over a recorded image (or sound, I guess). Though this is only ever useful if it can be made completely dynamic.

      Useful: A pair of glasses that tags the people in the board room with names and titles, since you can't be assed to remember their fucking names.

      Useful: A car HUD that projects 2D tags on stuff as you drive by. That highway sign could have tags that always face you head on, with a larger font, etc. That gas station? Nobody buys premium - replace the whole price sign with the fucking cheapo price, so you can actually see it from far enough away to get off in time. Color code it based on prices further along your route, if one is planned. Again, the tag would always be facing you head on.

      Useful: Headphones you lock onto your kids heads so you can swear all you want and have it get bleeped out. (Though I guess this would be more of a demented reality.)

      Fun: Some games where characters dynamically react to real-world environs.

      Shitty: Some games where characters simply appear with standard scripted animations as an overlay of a video of real-world environs (see that shitty PS3 card game).

      Super shitty: Delivering fucking scripted ads based on real-world environs.

      We're miles away from useful augmented reality, and we're going in the wrong direction. We're using it as a gate to shitty ad content, when it should be used to generate useful contextual content, or at least fun shit for games/porn.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly. Nothing to see here. It's the same stuff I saw done on CDs for music/artsy stuff back in the late 90's. It's just Web 2.0 now. Plus, using bar codes to go to a web site? Can you say CueCat?

        The only good thing is that Esquire is at least trying new things.

      • Still, the more money they pour into it trying to spam us with ads the more money goes into developing the tech and assuming it doesn't die out entirely (which I doubt, too many people concurrently trying to do useful things with it, too well known as one of the SciFi dreams of the future) eventually someone will grab it and run with it in the right direction. Probably all the way to the bank.

      • by xtracto ( 837672 )

        Hello, I think you should go slower on the caffeine.

        Other than that, you offer some interesting uses of augmented reality. I would like to offer another:

        A month ago or so I went to Rome for vacation. During my visit I was lucky enough to enter the Roman Forum. While I was visiting, I had a book guide on hand, which provided me (and my wife) with really interesting information.

        Although we did not get an audio guide (don't even remember if it was available to rent), I think this kind of places would *really*

        • Why use glasses? They already sell books there at the entrance of the Forum that have the clear cellophane overlays of existing pictures that fill in the gaps with what it used to look like. I have one. If you are thinking of a virtual tour with guide and interactive scenery, hollodeck like (except based on reality), we are a ways away from that becoming reality in terms of portable handheld devices that would provide a unique experience. Otherwise it's just an audio tour with a book with overlays just
          • One important difference from the book-based experience: you don't have to hold it up. Slashdotters seem to have a tendency of "if I wouldn't use it, nobody would", but not having to hold something up could be a fairly large selling point: No tired arms, no lost / damaged book (no lost investment means they can charge more!), less waste (which means the don't have to charge as much, plus they get in friendly with the green crowd), and if they manage to update the information (somehow), you can update it oa
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Rather than showing off the "undying value of print" it would seem to do the opposite - it emphasizes that the print version of the magazine can be much enhanced with a computer. The next thought is, why do I need the magazine?

    • by Thansal ( 999464 )

      Because it is cute, and amusing, and to people who read esquire magazine it is an interesting introduction to a technology that is gaining in popularity.

      Congratulations, you aren't the target audience. However I suspect that the target audience will have fun messing around with it.

      As for all of the "This isn't AR" comments. No shit. But it is what is currently being called AR, and in a sense it is AR. IT isn't very good AR, or very usable AR, but it is AR. Instead of the ideal overlay of images on real

      • NO this is nothing new, fancy or what-ever. But for the target audience, this is probably the first time they have heard of AR. And yes of course it's used for advertising - it's a magazine, that's where the money is. But it's a little more than "overlay of images over a live video". The angle and perspective changes as you tilt and rotate the barcode. It even zooms in and out. Try it yourself. Here are the barcodes used in the video . Print them, cut them apart and try it for yourself. -- Nothing to se
    • Equally as bad as the scent producing peripheral devices from 2007 []
  • by rev_sanchez ( 691443 ) on Monday November 09, 2009 @09:07PM (#30041048)
    a little periodical called High Times.
  • Stupidest thing I've ever seen... Honestly they think this is advanced tech or anything even remotely impressive?
  • Wired magazine and Radio Shack did something like this about ten years ago. CueCat [] anyone?
  • It says "XP or better". Surely, any recent distribution of Linux meets that, right?

    • It says "XP or better". Surely, any recent distribution of Linux meets that, right? Missing option: [_] I am Russian botmaster, you ignorant clod!

      Besides, the "requirements" for this Esquire thing include "readers with IQ less than last years' Thanksgiving turkey". Considering where THAT turkey ended up ...

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday November 09, 2009 @10:50PM (#30041734)

    Nothing. Period. Plain and simple.

    As I work a bit in that field, I think I could define it like this:

    If it's inside a computer, it's not reality. If it's happening in reality, it's not augmented. :)

    What I see there, is him holding up the magazine, against what appears to be a camera with special software that reads the fancy bar code, and shows a silly animation of what a 70 year old guy from the last century would think is "this fancy virtual reality".

    I wonder how that software got on there. And who turned on the camera and all that stuff? Veery "all by itself", those things...*cough*. ;)

    It's basically just a normal feature detection combined with one of those completely pointless supposed-to-be-artsy Flash websites. And an old man of a dying industry, who, in his desperation to gain some attention from the youth, got beautifully ripped off by some guys on drugs.

    I wouldn't hire those guys as augmented reality experts. I'd hire them as sales men, or perhaps con men. ^^

    • Actually, if you look at the site, you'll find that it is an application that you download, not a flash Web site. The app uses your Web cam and displays you and the magazine fullscreen, overlaying the display with various animations. movies etc.

      Rocket science? No. A bit of fun that's quite innovative, yes. Augmented reality? At a push.

  • If I want to go online to read my dead-tree edition magazine, I'ld just subscribe to the freaking digital edition.

  • I don't remember the exact timeframe, but I recall Wired (and possibly other mags) doing the exact same thing during the dotcom bubble. Hold up your print magazine to a webcam on a computer running the right software and it'd scan embedded codes and you'd get what you've always wanted - more advertising! This Esquire thing has been done before, and failed before, and hopefully it'll fail again. Next thing you know, they'll be shipping out little cat-shaped barcode readers to their circulation for those p
  • I'll wait for the Arrrr edition. That, I could at least pirate and get some enjoyment from.
  • First they announced a 3D TV [], now they come out with an aumengted reality magazine. Is the media industry trying to physically invade our homes ?!?
  • the issue of Wired (american edition (17.10?) bought in the uk, the one that's already available via the web) that i picked up yesterday claimed in the editor's preamble to do the same thing.

    personally i spend the first 5 minutes of reading any issue of wired ripping the adverts out. ads for cigarettes that they always print on stiffer card and which makes it impossible to leave the mag open on your desk are the first to go...

  • The markers they are using come from the open source ARToolKitPlus [] for those interested... The demo marker is actually the one with ID = 0 ...
  • Webcam and "magic" markers ? Have an eyepet:
  • It's a gimmick. Obviously. Meant to generate sales. And it will work for some people and not work for others. It's not meant to be new technology to people such as slashdotters who are generally on the cutting edge. Magazines using marketing gimmicks to boost sales isn't news. However, it is a use of technology that we haven't seen magazines do before. As e-ink becomes more affordable and viable, we'll see more magazines trying to stay in business with interactive gimmicks, perhaps even on the page itself.

    • Downside for Esquire is that with a web image of the front cover (or of Gillian Jacob's page, etc.) viewed on my iPhone, I could trigger the AR event in their Mac software and enjoy the content without buying Esquire.

      I'll still buy the magazine anyway since a) my iPhone's reflective glass screen is not optimum for recognition and b) I'd like to support their ingenuity and effort.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern