Someone remade that A-ha video for augmented reality

For a medium that’s often heralded as the next great technology innovation, augmented reality has so far been rather adept at recasting nostalgic memories of the 1980s. First came the Nintendo-fuelled acid trip of AR Super Mario Bros., and now we have an AR version of A-ha’s seminal piece of Norwegian synth-pop – Take On Me.

Made by Chicago-based AR/VR creators Trixi Studios, the proof-of-concept clip transforms the 1984 song’s music video into an augmented reality demo.

If you’ve lived this long without seeing the original, Take On Me’s video involves A-Ha’s lead singer getting pulled into a world of pencil-sketched figures. Thought up by British director Steve Barron, it remains a genuinely impressive blend of animation and live-action. Trixi Studios’ version mimics this with the help of Apple’s ARKit and a strategically placed drawing filter.

“We are giant fans of the original video by Aha and director Steve Barron, and especially the legendary animators Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger who came up with the beautiful technique and style we were trying to emulate,” the studio writes on its YouTube page.

“This work was made very quickly and just for fun, there is a lot of room for improvement. We inspired by the intersection of emerging mass technology like ARKit and visual effects that traditionally have been difficult to recreate. Everything is live in camera and works as shown.”

Launched at WWDC 2017, Apple’s ARKit platform aims to give developers a comprehensive set of tools for making augmented reality apps with the help of devices’ in-built camera and motion sensors. While it’s early days, the scale of Apple’s reach via its App Store has the potential to turn AR into a mainstream medium. Apple has announced plans, for example, to collaborate with IKEA in bringing virtual furniture into real homes.  

If you’re hoping to download Trixi Studios’ version of Take On Me yourself, you’ll be disappointed. The studio say the demo is not an app, and there are no current plans for distributing it. Looks like you’re stuck with your boring old A-ha-less living room for now.

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