Pokémon Go has opened up the consumer world to augmented reality and some agencies have said this could be a good sign for future advertising opportunities.
A developer has now added artificial intelligence to the mix, using IBM’s Watson to find Pokémon for users.
The Pokémon Go Smart Stop was created by San Francisco developer Michael Hsu and just won the Best Use of Watson challenge at the AT&T Shape Tech Expo Hackathon.
“Ever since Pokémon Go came out last week, I’ve been playing it nonstop,” Hsu said at the event.
“The Hackathon just happened to be this weekend and I looked at the available sponsor APIs and saw the new Watson Visual Recognition API. I thought, what if I can get Watson to play Pokémon Go for me.”
Hsu created a system that takes intermittent screenshots of the Pokémon Go app, which are then analyzed by IBM Watson’s image recognition technology to determine if Pokémon are in the images.
The system can then aggregate that information and notify Pokémon Go users where exactly Pokémon are located and specifically which Pokémon they are, effectively taking the guesswork out of the gameplay.
Watson, the super-computer system originally known for winning Jeopardy, is now being opened up to developers by IBM and can be a new tool to use in apps, according to Stefania Kaczmarczyk, developer evangelist at IBM Digital Group.
“So you’ve combined IBM’s years and years of research and engineering and then taken that to make it a service that somebody can just say ‘hey, I have a photo, what is this?’ and they can suddenly build an app within 24 hours,” said Kaczmarczyk.
“That’s something that normally you would have to have an entire development team figure out just how to do the recognition itself.”
Opening the Watson IoT platform to developers can yield creative results, but also could open doors to valuable innovations. In this case, the ultimate goal would be to create revenue streams for third parties from the use of Pokémon Go.
Greg Gorman, who directs developer outreach and cognitive analytics at IBM Watson IoT, sees potential value and use-cases for Hsu’s hack.
“They were describing how they wanted to be able to set up a little beacon and have Watson go find Pokémon for you and then broadcast to the players,” Gorman said.
“And the idea behind it being then they can monetize that,” he said. “They could either push advertising to those people that subscribe to it or perhaps you could attach it to your food truck and that would drive people to it or maybe to your ice cream shop or whatever you were trying to do, but it might be a way to actually monetize the game in a really unique way.”