A growing application of augmented reality (AR) has to do with navigation, with American Airlines and Gatwick airport both using the technology to help visitors find their way around. Now, to celebrate the opening of its new US office in Los Angeles, Nexus Studios has released HotStepper a wayfinding app that aims to add a skip to your step.
Combining AR, geo-location and mapping technology, a phone’s compass and GPS coordinates, HotStepper will allow users to enter an address anywhere in the world and they’ll be guided to their destination via an eccentric dancing character.
“HotStepper is part of a series of research projects we’re doing into storytelling using real-world data,” explains Nexus Studios’ Head of Interactive Arts Luke Ritchie in a statement. “We’re super excited to be exploring this new frontier and with HotStepper we’ve combined multiple innovations to bring to life a playful dude creating a fun way to get somewhere. The HotStepper has a complex steering algorithm that uses different types of data to keep him on the path and walking in the right direction. It’s only as good as the GPS data though so absolutely use your common sense when perhaps it appears he hasn’t!”
To bring HotStepper to life Nexus Studios created several new tools, including VLO a virtual reality (VR) animation tool that the developer will be widely releasing soon. To make the character look like he belongs in the environment the app calculates whereabouts the sun is in relation to HotStepper, so that his shadow fits with a users current location and time.
Additionally, to showcase the fun storytelling side of the app, whenever you walk past or near a hairdressers, HotStepper’s haircut will transform into a variety of styles.
HotStepper is available now on the app store for iOS devices with an Android version also in the works. Check out the video below to see HotStepper in action.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Nexus Studios, reporting back with the latest updates.