On the GDC show floor Sony showed several working examples of Magnet (working title), a new series of demos showing off augmented reality technology that does not require AR cards or any other type of special markers to function. Instead, cameras look to patterns in real world objects to create their own markers.
We saw this tech at work in a demo where a PS Vita camera was pointed at an intricate floor rug. We could see tiny little mapped marker points, plotted on the screen in real time as plus signs. After mapping, users could drop a rubber duck anywhere I wanted on the rug, and then move around it with the Vita to view it at all angles. In another demo we were able to use the front and rear touchscreens to freely warp the carpet, with the scanned object becoming a freely warp-able texture. Another demo called AR Hockey used objects on a table to instantly create a two-player air hockey table game.
The Magnet tech is just at the demonstration stage now, but these and other demos point to augmented reality usage that is a bit more powerful than the card-based options that Vita shipped with. Plus, not having to carry cards around would be nice.