Alex's Hologram-a-Week #2: Augmented cars and potato heads


Fueled by the first augmentation experiments, I started looking into models more complex than a simple box. For digital augmentation to work, I need a 3D digital model that perfectly matches the physical object I’m augmenting. I started with common physical objects that had readily available digital models.

I started really liking the idea of using holograms to digitally change the aesthetics of physical stuff, making a digital overlay that always stays right on top of its real-world counterpart. Even though I was doing this for the first time, it felt like a familiar idea, somehow, like I’d heard it before…


I started looking for more pairings of pint-sized physical things that would both fit in our super pepper systems and benefit from some aesthetic customization. My first instinct was to look towards barbies and plush dolls, where the whole point of the toy is to customize the aesthetics and change the look of the doll. After several hours of this, I was kinda, uhhh, overwhelmed and done with that.

So I dug a little deeper and hit on die-cast cars as a neat demo – people care endlessly about the look of their cars, the model cars would fit perfectly into the super pepper systems, and also important – they came in all-black. Black is important for augmentation, because the super pepper systems, as I mentioned in my previous post, are additive – they can only make things brighter, not darker, so you want to start with the darkest system and brighten the colors from there.

Look at all them cars!

I made a little scene with two cars that I found corresponding digital models. Looks like this:

I pulled the digital models into Unity, spent a while aligning and adjusting the digital models to line up with the physical ones, and bada-bing!

I thought that aligning two physical models was a little dicey – if you look at the video, you’ll see that they’re not very well lined up. I thought it would simplify things to just use a single model, so I got a larger model of the Plymouth car and spent a little while longer tidying the model. Oliver added some of his trademark razzmatazz to the mix with that animation changing the car styles, and I think it came out pretty well.

Aaaand that’s it for this week!

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So very cool, Mr.Giant-