Mobile Devices

January 16, 2013

TaylorMade & Gravity Jack Bring Out Augmented Reality Golf App

While a lot of people right now—especially those in the Northern Hemisphere—are spending a lot more time looking wistfully at their golf course of choice and counting the days until spring, there are still those who can golf, and those who can get ready for another golf season. TaylorMade and Gravity Jack have developed a new mobile app specifically for golfers revolving around two key points: the R1 driver and augmented reality.

The app in question, R1 Virtual, is geared toward the iPhone and iPad, and it's meant to allow users to essentially test drive an R1 driver from TaylorMade with an augmented reality system. First, users take a picture of an R1 driver, taking from either TaylorMade R1 advertisements or the February 2013 cover of Golf Digest Magazine. Users can adjust the various details of the club and the shot as a whole, like loft and face angle, and even the shape the shot will take as it comes off the club until its eventual landing, like a high arc, a flat arc or more of a line with a drop at the end. With all that information in place, the app can then show what a shot would look like after being hit with an R1.

The interface is surprisingly complex and yet still fairly easy to work with, with the full power of a touchscreen interface coming into play and loads of drag points as well. There's a lot to do with such an interface, and Gravity Jack is just getting started in terms of showing it off. In fact, at last report, Gravity Jack has worked with several different companies so far, who in turn offer Gravity Jack a lot of leeway in terms of what they can do with intellectual property and the like, waiving licensing fees, function limits, and the like in the production of their apps. Since Gravity Jack owns its own software, it makes the development simpler overall, and makes them a popular firm to work with in terms of producing augmented reality apps.

The use of augmented reality systems in apps is really catching on. Not only is it a great way to disseminate information—point a phone at a restaurant and get its menu is a terrific idea by any standard—it's also a way to introduce new possibilities in terms of entertainment as well. A golf driver app that can, for example, take an image of a golf course and even show where the shot might strike is a clever idea in its own right.

We're likely to see more augmented reality apps as time goes on, especially as more and more smartphones and tablets start making appearances in peoples' hands. Innovative forms of advertising—especially those that require the user to interact with the ad as this one is doing—will be progressively more prized as advertising in general gets reduced to background clutter by jaded consumers. Gravity Jack's program is a great example of how to beat that phenomenon, and one that will probably be adapted for use by other firms in the coming days.

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