Halloween Mask
Augmented reality is making virtual masks a possibility. Mark Skwarek/Polytechnic Institute of New York University

In a future that is dominated by users wearing Google Glass or other visual devices from competitors, Halloween may become virtual and costumes will be much more than just paint. Mark Skwarek, a researcher from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, has set up an augmented reality, AR program that lets users create virtual masks, via an app, but there are hopes that this experience becomes more interactive.

The AR program is easy to use and application is as easy as slipping on a mask. According to Skwarek, users print out small cubes that serve as “markers” that the program can scan. The app adjusts the image based on the position and viewers can see a virtual mask on their smartphone. Users can choose from a variety of masks, ranging from scary to cute, and the project is just the latest that is attempting to utilize AR as a way to easily create an interactive virtual experience set in the real world.

Skwarek launched the virtual Halloween mask idea as part of his Play AR Kickstarter. According to the project’s description, “Play AR takes video games out of the TV and turns them into a physical experience! Play AR was designed to let people with no programming experience play and create highly interactive augmented reality [AR] video games with just a few clicks.” Users can get the virtual mask program by donating $5 to Skwarek’s Kickstarter.

For now, virtual masks are limited as users are constrained to their smartphone or tablet but that could change with the popularity of wearable tech. If Google Glass, and other similar devices, catches on AR could let users create virtual worlds, transforming a park or a house into an interactive game. A video of the virtual masks can be viewed below.