KDDI Releases New AR Brand SATCH, Comes With SDK For Free

KDDI released new AR brand SATCH yesterday, in order to expand AR (Augmented Reality) Market.

SATCH is a new brand to expand AR market with KDDI’s new AR technology.

SATCH sounds ‘sacchi’ in Japanese, which means ‘detect’, or cover cell phone quickly over the item and check it out.

KDDI also made a partnership with Total Immersion in September and expected to put extra investment.

Along with this press release, KDDI provides free SDK for developer based on D’fusion technology from Total Immersion on 15th of December.

via Keitai Watch [J]

KDDI Buys 15% Stake In French AR Company Total Immersion

Japan’s second biggest telecommunications firm KDDI announced [JP] it has acquired an equity stake in French based Total Immersion S.A., an augmented reality (AR) software maker. Business daily The Nikkei says it has learned KDDI paid 100 million yen (US$1.3 million) for a 15% interest in the company.

Total Immersion has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia (their Japan office is located in Tokyo). The company was founded in 1999 and received US$5.5 million in funding from Intel and others back in March this year.

(So according to The Nikkei, Total Immersion’s valuation can be estimated to be somewhere around US$8.7 million, while TechCrunch reports that (before the money from Japan), the company collected US$11 million from investors over the years.)

In any case, KDDI says they are especially interested in using Total Immersion’s core technology, the so-called D’Fusion AR software platform, for smartphones. Subscribers can expect the first content based on D’Fusion to be rolled out in December (the picture below shows D’Fusion Mobile used as a marketing tool).

KDDI has also invested in Tokyo-based AR startup Tonchidot last year.

Salisbury Steak, A Voice Actress And AR

A restaurant chain-store Denny’s Japan [J] is running a campaign for Salisbury steak (“Hanba-gu” in Japanese, which came from Hamburger steak) using AR and a popular voice actress Aya Hirano [J].

Aya Hirano is a very popular voice actress(“seiyū”) and J-Pop singer. She is known for her role as Haruhi Suzumiya in “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya“. Denny’s Management company SEVEN & i Food Systems [J] released two AR applications on this campaign.

D Silver AR and GAME

D Gold AR and GAME

*There are not only the iPhone applications but also Android applications.

When you read a menu at the store, you will find an AR marker.

Then, let’s try “D Silver AR and GAME”.

The application’s top page,

Let’s start the camera!

CG animation of Aya Hirano appears when the AR marker showed on your smartphone camera.

Then, the screen changes into the menu introduction.

While I played and watched the AR contents, Salisbury steak dish I had ordered arrived. (I forgot to take the dish photo!)

When you pay, they will give you you an AR card.

Now I try the other app “D Gold AR and GAME”.

The different version of CG Aya Hirano animation appears. She moves and talks!

Then, the application changed to a serial code input screen.

You put a serial code from the AR card,

You can watch special movies of Aya Hirano. There are four patterns in all, but the AR card is given at random. So if you want to watch all movies, you need to repeat going over and over to Denny’s.

The AR cards will be available until January 23. Contents will be viewable until the end of January.

Virtual Dating Game Love Plus Is Introduced For iPhone

Konami Digital Entertainment released virtual dating simulation game Love Plus[J] for the iPhone/iPod touch on Monday.   There is a series of  three apps corresponding to three heroines starring in the game, which are Love Plus iM (Aika Takamine), Love Plus iR (Rinko Kobayakawa) and Love Plus iN (Nene Anegasaki).

Left: An composite picture demo using augmented reality of Love Plus.   Right: A Collage picture of Steve Jobs who presents the iPad on which Love Plus runs. (source: Yomige 4[J])

Beside playing the game, it allows you to get a shot of you and the heroine as a couple by the iPhone-embedded camera.   Now you can feel as if she were just next to you – but only in the picture unfortunately.

Some GPS-enabled virtual conversation features are expected to be added in the future app updates.

The following video is taken by iPodStyle[J] at Konami’s demonstration party held Monday at Sofmap Mac Collection Akiba[J].

Available only at Japanese AppStore.

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Hakuhodo And Koozyt Introduce iPhone App Adding Video Extension To Paper Ads

Japan’s second largest ad agency Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Sony CSL‘s spin-out specializing in developing location detection technology with WiFi signals Koozyt and the country’s second-ranked newspaper in its circulation the Asahi Shimbun jointly started a new ad service using the iPhone today.

The new service is named A-Clip, by installing the iPhone app and shooting an image of an paper-printed ad that you’re interested in, you can view videos and other extensive information associated with the ad.

The first ever ad enabling this service is placed on the Asahi’s morning edition of January 8th, and you don’t need to scan any 2-D barcode but just shoot an image of the ad itself. Koozyt’s image recognition technology built in the iPhone app will detect which ad you watch, it shows you a video associated with the ad on the iPhone screen.

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