For my object I decided to use a baseball. At first thought I was reticent to use this because at first glance it doesn’t seem to have too much personality. After all, the object is mass produced with the intent of being the same in every aspect. However, there’s something about a game-used baseball that does give it plenty of personality. If you’ve ever caught a foul ball for example, there are scuffs where the bat has made contact that gives it a distinct feel. Each scuff builds to the creation of a memory of the moment in which the ball was caught. This isn’t to mention the symbolic nature of a baseball itself. A fan of the game, upon seeing a baseball, instantly associates it with something much more than cork wrapped in yarn. Alex Zimmer and I wanted to use this as a jumping point.
Originally we had two ideas: imbue my object with a memory or augment a baseball scorecard. The latter was to be a backup option lest Vuforia’s object scanner fail to work properly.
Let me start by saying that it isn’t so much a pain in the ass to use Vuforia’s object scanning software, it’s more of a pain in the ass getting on an Android Phone. Vuforia only allows this to be loaded on to Galaxy Note 6’s and 7’s. Luckily, work has a Galaxy 7 that I was able to borrow. After spending like 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the SDK software onto the phone – I’m a lifelong Apple user – I went home to try to scan the baseball. After opening the software and wondering why it wasn’t working I checked the documentation only to see that apparently a piece of paper is meant to accompany the scanned object.
I went to school, printed the gray piece of paper and tried scanning with Alex. Our first scan was sort of successful as we gathered about 200+ points. We found we had some success once we tried to augment a cube onto the object but it was really inconsistent. Alex and I thought if perhaps we wrote something on the ball in permanent marker, this would give the object scanner more to work with. I got a brown sharpie and wrote “Home Run” on one side and “Dad and I” on the other. This scan revealed about 400+ markers and was a lot easier to pick up in Unity.
Now that we had the object scanned we knew we’d have success augmenting it the way we wanted.
At every baseball game a fan walks away with a ball as a souvenir. Sometimes the ball was a foul, sometimes it was a home run, sometimes a player tosses it to someone. Either way a fan usually ends up cherishing this ball be it for the remainder of the game or for the remainder of their lives. Alex and I wanted to take the means in which the fan received the ball and make it a memory of the ball itself by augmenting it.
Alex and I found the above clip – a very famous home run hit a few years ago – and made sure it was from a fan’s perspective (we couldn’t find one from the perspective of the fan who caught the ball) and augmented it on the ball. Having merely placed a plane with a video player on the ball wasn’t enough though. We wanted to give the impression that the ball that we were augmenting had the memory that caused the fan to receive it inside of it. Almost like an egg or a …pokeball. The final result is attached below.