February 18, 2011

Danger Copter to the Rescue

Interactive Media Students Take Third in Design Competition

Interactive media design took a big step forward earlier this month and five students from the USC Interactive Media Division were front and center. Danger Copter, a game utilizing both real and generated visuals, placed third in the 2010 Augmented Reality Developer Challenge. Qualcomm, a developer of 3G and next-generation mobile technologies, sponsored the event.

A smartphone camera uses AR technology to play Danger Copter

“Augmented Reality, especially AR gaming seems really poised to take off right now with so many smart phones in the market,” said Interactive Media student and Danger Copter designer Kedar Reddy. “We're all essentially carrying computers that are nearly as powerful as our laptops in our pockets, so it's time we really take advantage of their capabilities and catch the art up with the technology.”

Qualcomm’s new software development kit uses smart phone camera technology to generate the playing surface for games using real world objects. They are hoping to expand the technology into educational applications and interactive marketing concepts in the future.

Danger Copter was a blast to work on, because it was a project between close friends, said Interactive Media student and Danger Copter designer Jason Mathias. “We were going against companies built around making AR games, so we definitely felt like underdogs, and it was really rewarding to hear that we'd won third.”

In the game, the player assumes the role of a helicopter pilot who extinguishes fires with a water hose and rescues stranded people.

The Danger Copter team includes IMD students Reddy, Mathias, Alex Beachum, Jonghwa Kim and Evan Sforza.