Business cards finally useful again with augmented reality?

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Like the human appendix, business cards have outlasted their actual usefulness, but they’re somehow still around, piling up and killing trees. Perhaps they have a little more life in them with the help of augmented reality, a fast-growing area that superimposes animation or information on real-life objects in a camera’s viewfinder.

Jonas Jager tried to reinvigorate the business card by adding presentations that include video or 3-D animations. Those presentations are uploaded the web; then the web address is converted into a QR code, a two-dimensional barcode that’s readable by mobile phones. He combined that with an augmented reality marker, which tells the phone where to place the animation, on the printed business card to create a hologram and tag with information about him. Resembling the holograms in Star Wars, Jager’s project straddles the very delicate line between really cool and a little cheesy.

For now, Jager has posted instructions on how to create your own augmented reality business card, but you need to know how to use the FLARtoolkit and other AR-related software and application programming interfaces. Jager says he’s looking at adding other features and finding ways to make this useful for average businesspeople.

I’ve posted Jager’s video demo below, followed by an older example of an augmented reality business card from U.K. interaction designer James Alliban is below:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5651466&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Augmented Business Card from jonas on Vimeo.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4979525&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

AR Business Card from James Alliban on Vimeo.


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