Hidden Characters is a cute technical prototype for an augmented reality (AR) experience which would allow you to use a tablet or a phone to turn any furniture item into a character. The prototype was designed with kids in mind, but it’s so fun and simple that it can appeal to and engage the imagination of grown-ups too – inviting them to see the creative potential, and fun, lurking around every corner at home.
Curious about the idea of 'play' in the living space, Random Studio wondered: What if every piece of furniture in the house could come alive and tell us something? How could they use the AR capabilities on phones and tablets to allow users to scan objects and act as a magical lens to reveal characters? This experiment allows you to keep discovering new faces by scanning more and more objects, eventually creating a whole world of friendly creatures. They’ll even respond to your gestures as well as interact with each other. Imagine a sofa and a lamp singing a song together, or a chair that tells a fairy tale.
Hidden Characters would use both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) scanning to interpret the physical properties of an object. These properties would be used as parameters for an algorithm that could generate a set of eyes, a nose, a mouth, or even hair or a pair of glasses. Random Studio based the rules for the character algorithms on research into character design. For instance: large and wide objects, such as a sofa, became slower, sleepier characters.
'We designed and developed a system that maps data to a face made of different available versions of eyebrows, eyes, noses and mouths. Implementing the whole process and experiment in 2D led to interesting and surprising results.'
The experiment aims to stimulate imagination and creativity within the home and can be experienced and enjoyed by any family member of any age.
'We believe that the experience of magically transforming your furniture in your home allows you to make a more emotional connection with your space. We hope to stimulate people’s creativity to keep being inspired by their surroundings.'