Ever since the original titles hit the Game Boy back in the mid-'90s, Pokemon fans have been wishing for real-life Pocket Monsters. It's easy to see why, as Pokemon are basically sentient animal friends with abilities like flight and breathing fire ... who wouldn't want something like that as a pet?
Sadly, an actual living, breathing Pokemon will never happen — but one fan has been working on a project that may end up producing the next-best thing. KennyWdev, using a few basic camera tricks and some programming know-how, has single-handedly created augmented reality Pokemon holograms.
These aren't just static images, either: both of the Pokemon that Kenny has programmed are fully animated, complete with their own Pokeballs. On top of all that, Kenny's made the whole process seem easy: this isn't a build with ridiculously high-end hardware powering everything, or something that only someone with a degree in computer engineering could put together. With just a few pieces of Plexiglas, a webcam and the Unity engine, Kenny brought Pokemon to life like no other fan has.
To be fair, the Pokemon holograms aren't exactly the most complicated: while Charizard and Latios both look great, they don't actually move all that much. Then again, with a bit more programming, Kenny could conceivably create an entire battle system within the hologram setup — but something like that would take quite a bit more time to achieve.
Even with its relatively static subjects, Kenny's build is amazing — it's not every day that you get to see Pokemon floating around in 3D. As previously mentioned, the build itself isn't all that complicated: after making some custom augmented reality cards and a Plexiglas pyramid, Kenny attached a webcam to the top of his build and set the Pokemon models to track the AR cards in real-time.
While it probably took quite some time to learn how to make all of it work together, it likely didn't cost all that much to make: considering that the Unity engine is free, the most expensive thing in Kenny's Pokemon holodeck was probably the Plexiglas.
So, Nintendo — if you're going to skip out on the virtual reality craze, maybe something like this could be your next big thing ...
For more of Kenny's work and Pokemon holograms, check out his Imgur gallery.