Tonchidot Release Super Karate-Robo Zarborgar App

Tonchidot [J] has released the official Android application “Karate-Robo Zarborgar by Sekai Camera” of “Karate-Robo Zarborgar” [J] (aka Denjin Zarborgar), a movie opened to the public on October 15th.  Download is free.

“Karate-Robo Zarborgar by Sekai Camera” is an app that allows you to take a commemorative photo with Zarborgar as he appears into the real world when you hold up your front facing camera up to a poster or official site.  In addition the main character’s super helmet also pops out, so when you adjust the positioning and match it up tight with yourself, you can have a super disguise.  It’s also possible to hook it up with Twitter or Facebook to print a picture from the app.  Download here.  [J]

Karate-Robo Zarborgar DVD-BOX [J]
Translation authorized by VSMedia

Augmented Reality App Sekai Camera Now Available On The Web

Japan’s Augmented Reality poster company Tonchidot has brought its hit app Sekai Camera to the web. It’s now the fourth platform the app is available on, following versions for the iPhone, Android, and the iPad.

Dubbed Sekai Camera Web, the online version is pretty simplistic (which is not too surprising for an alpha version). It basically allows users to view “air tags” posted by Sekai Camera users around the world on a map in real time (Tonchidot calls this “Realtime Air Tag Stream”).

If you’re registered and logged in, you can view details of the tag in question or add a comment, directly through the web interface.

Sekai Camera Web also lets you connect to other social services, namely Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. It’s possible to “like” tags on Facebook or post them to Twitter. Sekai Camera Web also allows you to search for your friends on these three services, connect with and follow them.

Sekai Camera Web is currently available in English and Japanese.

KDDI To Acquire Stake In AR Start-up Tonchidot

The Nikkei, or Japan’s economic journal, reported today that Japan’s second largest telecom giant KDDI announced it would invest in Tonchidot, the Tokyo-based tech start-up who is well known for augmented-reality(AR) smartphone app Sekai Camera.   Tonchidot plans to allocate new shares to KDDI to raise approximately USD530,000 in order to develop social games using Sekai Camera-based technologies.   The two companies have not disclosed how much a stake KDDI will take in Tonchidot.

KDDI announced last March that it would be partnering with Tonchidot to launch a joint business based on AR-based technologies.   KDDI’s mobile service “Au (pronounced as ‘Ei-you’)” is seen to be running behind the other competitors such as NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile, in terms of the lack of well-considered future business plans and attractive services.   By partnering with Tonchidot, KDDI will be working on making their brand more characteristic and attractive for consumers.

Tonchidot says, they will develop more services based on the concept called SOLAR, which means those having functions of social media connectivity, location-based service and AR.   The following video makes you learn better how the service will be working when the app is installed on Au’s cellphone handsets.

January 2010 Japan-IT Links (part 2)

News on the latter half of January 2010 which we did not write as a dedicated article. Part 1 is here.

Referred pages are all in Japanese, unless otherwise stated.

Please let us know if you think we should write details on any news above.

Two AR iPhone Apps Come To Our Hands This Week

tonchidot's Logo Sekai Camera's Logo

Tokyo-based tech start-up led by Takahito Iguchi(@iguchi), a self-styled Willy Wonka who made an unique presentation at last year’s edition of TechCrunch 50, Tonchidot finally released an augmented reality (AR) iPhone app Sekai Camera on Thursday, it’s now available at AppStore for free of charge.

In time with the release of the app, Mr. Iguchi made a special presentation at Tokyo Game Show 2009 which is now being held, as well as giving his special contribution to TechCrunch Japan[J], and he talked about their long journey from concept making process to final the app.

As the first trial of business use of the app, which aims at finding a way to make money, Sekai Camera-installed iPhone devices are now provided at a flagship store of Spanish luxury brand LOEWE, in order to make it smarter to explain the details of the brand’s newly released items to store visitors.

The following video shows you a press briefing that has been jointly made by Tonchidot and LOEWE’s owner Louis Vuitton.   It was shot by Macintosh-related video news shooter LivenMac.

Presslite's LogoBionic Eye's Logo

Meanwhile, Paris-based iPhone app developer Presselite also just released the Tokyo edition of an AR app called Bionic Eye, which is also available at AppStore for USD1 or JPY115.   Compared to Sekai Camera on which tags associated with real-existing buildings and premises are expected to be added by the app users, Bionic Eye is more focusing on finding coffee shops and fast-food restaurants nearby by combination of Google Map and shop geo-location database containing over 100,000 POIs (point of interest) prepared by the app developer.

Sekai Camera is designed for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, and its compass feature does not work with iPhone 3G.    Bionic Eye is intended only for iPhone 3GS.

A day passed since the two epoch-making apps have been released.   We could witness not a few persons held their iPhone at the ready to shoot pictures around the city (probably for enjoying AR apps).    Some people warn that we should be so careful not to be misconsidered as we peep.   Otherwise, AR-ing in the town has some risks that you may be suspected as a candid shot shooter by passer-byes and be questioned by the police.