Pasadena Company Unveils One-Of-A-Kind Augmented Reality Rose Parade Float

Published : Wednesday, December 27, 2017 | 3:41 PM

Float technology will reach a new height at this year’s Rose Parade with Pasadena-based company Singpoli American BD’s rolling piece of art that gives spectators a one-of-a-kind augmented reality experience.

The float, which tells the inspiring Chinese tale of overcoming adversity known as the carp and the Dragon Gate, is the first ever parade entry to incorporate the technology that allows the physical float to come to life and tell its story with the help of a smartphone application that will work for viewers anywhere in the world.

“Our float is a reminder that even though our journeys can be difficult and painful, we can rise above adversity,” said Kin Hui, CEO of Singpoli American BD. “We must rise above if we are going to make a meaningful difference in the world. Singpoli American BD hopes this entry will inspire others to always work toward their own dreams and aspirations,” Hui added.

Singpoli’s 2018 Tournament of Roses entry, “Rising Above”, is the first float of its kind, according to a press release.

The float’s AR feature was designed by another Pasadena-based company, Interactivism, which developed a downloadable app that will make the float come alive in real time with interactive animations superimposed along the route and around the float itself.

“Viewers of this gorgeous float will be able to experience the story in a totally new way, whether they are on the parade route or watching the parade on television anywhere in the world,” said Julian Scaff, Director of Design at Interactivism.

People will also have the ability to take selfie photos with the animated characters of the story that can be shared with family and friends via social media platforms.

The story of the Dragon Gate is one of cultural appeal, according to a press release. The fish that leap over the gate become powerful dragons. On the float, three animated fish leap out of a flowing river, hoping to jump over the dragon gate at the rear of the float.

Dragons arranged on the columns of the carved stone gate rise out of the water towards the sky and the roof features authentic Chinese ornaments that depict the transformation from fish to dragons.

The float also features eight separate waterfalls and costumed riders glide alongside in boats, dwarfed by gigantic lotus flowers, a variety of other water plants and glittering dragonflies.

“As I kept sketching and refining, we decided that focusing just on the fish was not going to be the best answer. The trick was, how were we going to finish the story? How were we going to get that transformation? And, the wonderful idea that Singpoli had was augmented reality,” explained award-winning float designer Charles Meier of Paradiso Floats.

When complete, “Rising Above” will use over 250,000 blooms including Tangelo, a new variety of carnation that lends a fiery orange red hue to the central fish on display.

Riding on the float will be Malaysian superstar pop singer Shila Amzah who will sing the “Rising Above” theme song which was specially written for the occasion by composer Nathan Wang and will be available for download online on Jan 1.

This will be Singpoli’s fifth entry in the annual Rose Parade. Each of its floats has won awards including the Extraordinaire Trophy in 2014, the Grand Marshal’s Trophy in 2015, the Sweepstakes Trophy in 2016 and the Fantasy Trophy in 2017.