This was definitely the fun session of the day. I had seen previous demonstrations of AR as part of pitches of the Flash Platform, but this was the first presentation I have seen explictely on this technology. The impact of the technology is undeniable tremendous. I think we all crave interaction, and the ability to interface with the computer using a web cam is novel enough to still wow crowds. Keep in mind that augmented reality is not exactly a new concept. Even in the Flash world, you have very talented programmers that have been exploring the boundaries of user interface for quite awhile. Grant Skinner immediately comes to mind and if you want to be inspired about Flash and UI, you need to check out his galleryincomplet. To really drive it home, keep in mind that he hasn't updated it in nearly 3 years.
Anyway, Sean Carey and HD Interactive did a great job of demonstrating that AR is not just about 3D - though they whetted the appetite with some very cool 3d examples. Their own 2D projects really brought home that accomplishing very practical and impressive projects utilizing augmented reality are immediately achievable (at least you don't have to invest in 3D modeling skills).
The only let down for me was discovering, upon returning home, that the mentioned Augmented Reality symposium coming to Orlando in October 2009 is rather expensive for casual interest; $995 for the 3-Day Conference. Probably a great value if you have active or forth-coming projects, but a lot of cheddar if it is still just on the list of interesting topics.
Quick update. Here is a link to the FLARToolkit (Flart? Really? ... oh well), an actionscript 3 augmented reality toolkit.