The term “augmented reality” usually describes technology that lays virtual graphics on top of the real world. Pokémon Go, for example, uses augmented reality to display virtual Pokémon in the environment that your phone’s camera is pointed at. But what if you reversed that, and used augmented reality to display something virtual on top of yourself for others to see? That’s what Phillip Burgess has done using the new Adafruit MONSTER M4SK, and his guide will help you recreate the effect.
This reverse-augmented reality technique relies on an illusion called Pepper’s ghost that was popular in the 19th century. The illusion, which was made famous by John Henry Pepper, is created by a transparent — but reflective — piece of glass or plastic placed between the viewer and the target area. The glass is angled so that it will reflect anything in an area hidden from view, but only when that area is illuminated. By slowly lighting up that area, an “apparition” would appear in front of the viewer. It’s a simple trick, but it was successful in various attractions. Burgess is using the same idea to make animated swirling eyes appear over his own.
To make this yourself, you just need an AdafruitMONSTER M4SK board, a tempered glass screen protector, and a hat of your choice. The MONSTER M4SK should be mounted on the bottom of the hat’s brim and facing downwards. The screen protector can then be mounted at a 45 degree angle to that. When graphics are displayed on the MONSTER M4SK’s screens, they will appear to float over your eyes. The board’s screens are specifically spaced to match most people’s eyes, so alignment is just a matter of adjusting the position of the screen protector.
Burgess also provides the necessary code and an explanation of how to setup your own graphics to match the Halloween costume you choose.