What is SLAM?

For an Augmented Reality (AR) campaign to be truly immersive, it has to be grounded in our physical reality. One technology that enables this is Simultaneous Localization And Mapping, or SLAM.

SLAM does two key things: It localizes a device within a space, and then it maps out that space. This is done simultaneously via the device’s rear camera, with algorithms constantly analysing the visual data to seamlessly merge physical and digital realities. For the user, this means visuals won’t appear floating in mid-air or be interrupted by ‘clipping’ into real-life objects - instead they are ‘anchored’ naturally within their environment. 

While SLAM has been widely implemented, enabling the technology to run on mobile devices has taken over 40 years of research. The earliest SLAM techniques were researched in the 1980s, and were originally developed leveraging computer vision (a field of Artificial Intelligence) to increase spacecraft and robot autonomy to further space exploration. Combining the flexibility of WebAR creation with the increased immersion that SLAM can bring could make an AR creation toolkit very powerful.

What is SLAM?

Proving its worth

SLAM is already changing WebAR experiences. Last year, Kellogg’s partnered with Blippar to create a campaign for its Coco Pops brand in the Middle East. When users scanned the QR code on their box of Coco Pops they were transported to an immersive virtual jungle, where children were challenged to collect golden Coco Pops by completing educational games. Through SLAM, the experience seamlessly merged physical and digital realities – for example, in the experience users could travel through portals to other worlds.  

Working with Blippar, technology company Oneplus became the first company to launch a product using AR. The launch saw the CEO giving a keynote presentation to 620,000 concurrent 3D viewers, with SLAM enabling the AR technology to track motion to ensure the CEO was “anchored” to the user’s actual surroundings. The AR experience transformed the traditional convention centre smartphone launch model into an impressive multi-media event, with speakers live-streamed onto a futuristic AR stage and users seeing and interacting with the new smartphone.

By enabling developers to create richer, more engaging experiences, SLAM is crucial to the future of AR. It is also an integral stepping stone into the levels of immersion that will be needed to create the Metaverse - something that has the potential to blend physical and AR like never before. 

If you’re interested in learning more about AR and how it can help you connect with your audiences we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us here: https://www.blippar.com/contact-us 

Watch out for our next blog next week, where we will be sharing some very exciting Blippar news with you.