We partnered with Tool Of North America to create an augmented reality experience for their client Hotels.com. VirtualVacation, an augmented reality experience, in ten cities across the United States. Our team, the development branch of this project, created an entertaining and informative real-world environment whose elements are fused with computer-generated imagery along with other interactive features.

The online augmented reality tour begins with Smart, the main animated spokesperson for Hotels.com, conversing with the user. Once the user chooses a city they want to travel to, a virtual depiction of that city appears, with its iconic landmarks, allowing the user to interact with the animation by holding the city right in the palm of their hand. Within each city, Smart informs the user about unique attractions and weather reports. Users also have the ability to scope out what’s around town, send personalized postcards to friends, and engage in various interactive mini-games for each city.


The process of this project began with research in regards to studying the texture and visual appearance of clay, inspired by Smart. The cities displayed on the webcam needed to capture the essence of claymation. With a combined team of coders and designers, the augmented reality concept came to life.

Our team was responsible for the following roles:

  • Research involved in creating the 10 city landscapes and their landmarks
  • Incorporate 3D models with claymation feature for each city
  • Animate Smart, the main character
  • Develop Augmented reality to display the cities and the animation within them
  • Generate each interaction in Adobe Flash
  • Produce weather widget to broadcast the weather through a live feed
  • Develop events widget to show current events within each city
  • Implement meta-tags for tracking information
  • Assemble the full site in Adobe Flash
  • Incorporate a mini-game for each city that utilizes different technologies


Microphone interactivity

  • In Chicago, the user can blow into a microphone to animate leaves lifting of the ground.
  • In Seattle, the user can also blow into a microphone to experience a plane lifting off from water without crashing
  • In San Francisco, the user can clap to animate the fireworks in the sky during a New Year’s Eve celebration

Webcam utilization

  • In New Orleans, the user can experience wearing a masquerade mask as an interactive face filter.
  • In New York City, the user can place their face on many billboards in Times Square
  • In Washington DC the user can become George Washington himself by placing their face within a painting of his portrait.
  • In San Diego, the user can experience their body being buried in the sand with their head out.

Text feature

  • In Vegas, the user can type their name onto a fake wedding certificate
  • In Los Angeles, the user can rename the Hollywood sign

Computer vision technology

  • In Denver, the user can control the animated movement of the bull riding feature by using computer vision through their webcam