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The Inception Effect



Application Name: Inception: Mobile Architect

Description: Duplicates the “landscape-bending” effect from the movie Inception on your Android unit.

Publisher’s website: Inception: Mobile Architect

Cost: Free

Version/date reviewed: v.1.0  /  12-20-10

Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2

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Android Market link (mobile app only)
Android Market link (browser)


In the recent movie Inception, there’s a prominent special effect where the landscape on the horizon bends up into the vertical position. The Inception: Mobile Architect app tries to duplicate this effect on your Android phone, with limited success.

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Figure 1: To set up the bending parameters, hold your phone in portrait mode, and tilt it until the horizontal white line lies between the two ticks at the left. When aligned properly, the background behind the spinning top will be green; incorrect, the background is red. Press the top when you’re ready. Why a top? See the movie to find out …

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Figure 2: You’ll get the bending music/sound effects from the movie, then an image from Google Maps (georeferenced using your GPS) will bend upwards from the horizon line, duplicating the movie effect.

Other issues: As you can see from the picture above, the app isn’t perfect. It tries to discriminated foreground objects from the background, and isn’t always successful. And for some reason, it uses the hybrid Google Maps view with streets/labels displayed, which ruins the effect somewhat. You’ll get better results with a view that has foreground objects clearly distinguishable from the background sky, and I’d guess the best result will come using urban landscapes rather than the natural landscape near my house.

Final thoughts: Use it with the right view, and it’s a cool show-off app for your phone. No useful functions, just a fun demo app.


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