Thomas Paine is a retired police officer, fitness buff, playing card collector, juggler and amateur (but passionate) magician. He is 75 years old and lives in Woodland Park, Colorado, a mountain community just outside Colorado Springs.
Can you give us a rundown of your most recent magic session and what drew your interest in using GumGum's magic kits?
The cards are attractive to magicians, who are always looking for new and clever routines. In this case, the AI characteristic of the GumGum decks is a novelty none of us has ever seen.
How did you use the cards in your routine? How were they received by the audience?
First I introduce the deck and cards as unique, thanks to the elaborate electronic circuitry embedded in the backs. I hand the cards to spectators to examine, noting that even with the circuitry, they handle just like regular playing cards. I ask a spectator to select a card while I'm not looking. I tell him to remember it, keeping its face away from me. Next, I ask permission to take a photo—using my phone’s camera—of him holding the card by its face, with its back to me. Then I show him his photo.
At this point I call attention to the button on the card’s back. I explain that it's a transmitter mechanism. I ask his permission to take a second photo—now using the Zapper app—of him holding the card with its back to me. This time I instruct him to press and hold the transmitter button. I explain that pressing this button transmits the card’s identity, which of course he won't believe. So, then I show a second spectator the Zapper photo, which exposes the card’s face. I ask that spectator to reveal the identity of the first spectator's card. Ta-da!
My magic club was impressed, and they were quite happy to get the GumGum decks that Ben provided. The effect is equally entertaining with a lay audience.
In your opinion, what is the future of AR and magic? Can they coexist? What other elements would you like to see created in this field?
AR itself is magical. Whoever came up the idea to make an AR deck of cards, with the "circuitry" design and button on the back, is a genius. I'm not familiar (or clever) enough with AR and its applications to come up with other magic-related ideas. I assume that Zap codes can be linked to websites, videos, 3D pictures and so on. So I suspect its commercial applications go far beyond magic.
GumGum Augmented Reality Deck
The GumGum deck which has Zap Codes on the backs. These can be read with a smart phone using the Zapper application. Have two apps open—Camera and Zapper, but in background. Mute phone.
A deck is shuffled and one card is selected by spectator. He is asked to let me document his selection by holding the card (face to himself) with the back of the card to me while I take his picture (using regular camera on phone). He is then asked to press the button on the back of the card while a second photo (with Zapper app) is taken which will reveal the card.
Tonight, exclusively for S.A.M. Local Assembly 170, we are going to have the premier of the world’s first truly electronic deck of cards. Remove the cards, and display them, fronts and backs. The faces are somewhat stylized, but recognizable as values and suits as any deck of 52 cards. You’ll notice the intricate electronic circuitry on the backs.
Select a member to help me demonstrate the deck.
Hand the deck to the spectator and ask him to examine the cards. You will note that the cards, in spite of the electronic circuitry embedded on the backs, handle like regular cards. Please, mix up the cards, and then, without anyone seeing your selection, remove one card. I’ll take the deck back. Look at the face of your card, and do not let anyone see it.
Now, given the special nature of this demonstration, I’d like to document you and your selection from the world’s first electronic deck. May I take a quick photo of you holding the card? This will most certainly make the local S.A,M. website!
Matching actions to words, Hold the card near your face with its back to me.
Take a picture using the regular camera on phone and show it to spectator.
To spectator, showing him the deck in my hands. I don’t know if you noticed, but there is a transmitter button on the bottom of the card backs. Show an example from deck, and have him examine his card. So, now I’m going to take another picture of you with the card, but this time I’d like you to press and hold that button on the back of your card.
This second picture will be done using the Zapper application. It will look like the first photo, except the face of the card will now be exposed.
Explain that, By your having pressed the button on the card, its value and suit should have transmitted with your image in the second photograph.
Are you believing any of this? (Like it’s a joke!)
To spectator holding card, At no time did you show the face of your card to anyone, right?
Hand the phone with the Zapper image (card face) displayed to a second spectator. Ask this second spectator with my phone if in fact the transmitter button worked; that is, did it reveal the card? Have him name the selection!