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charlesarthur : augmentedreality   59

Lenovo Mirage AR headset with Marvel games goes on sale for $250 • Variety
Janko Roettgers:
<p>called the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, the device once again relies on a consumer’s phone, and an app that can be downloaded for free, to super-impose pictures over their view of the real world. “You are still grounded in your world,” said Lenovo senior product marketing manager Wahid Razali. “You are bringing the heroes into your space.”

And while the first iteration of the headset shipped with lightsaber controllers, this new version comes with a pair of more generic grip controllers that can be used to power a variety of games.

When Lenovo came out with the first iteration of the headset, the two companies tried a variety of games, including their own take on holochess. Turns out that players care a lot more about fighting Stormtroopers than playing chess in AR, which is why the two companies refocused on life-sized battles for their new collaboration.

In the case of “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges,” the game allows players to turn into Doctor Strange, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Star-Lord, and face off against adversaries like Loki and the Winter Soldier. “You’ll be playing as iconic heroes fighting iconic villains,” said Razali.

In addition to a story mode that allows those one-on-one face-offs, the game also supports a survival mode that tasks players with fighting back waves of enemies, and a co-op mode that lets multiple players team up, and compete for the highest score. The latter naturally requires multiple headsets, which won’t come cheap: At launch, the new Lenovo Mirage AR headset retails for $249.99.</p>

Weird how so many companies think the first game people will want to play on a new medium is chess. Not only do computers thrash us at it, but fewer people can play it with any competence. Give us mindless sword games with unlimited lives any day.
13 days ago by charlesarthur
iOS 13 code suggests Apple testing AR headset with 'Starboard' mode, 'garta' codename, and more • MacRumors
Joe Rossignol:
<p>documentation seen by MacRumors in an internal build of iOS 13 suggests development of a head-mounted augmented reality display has continued.

Namely, internal builds of iOS 13 include a "STARTester" app that can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, presumably to replicate the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes. There are two head-mounted states for testing, including "worn" and "held."

There is also an internal README file in iOS 13 that describes a "StarBoard" system shell for stereo AR-enabled apps, which implies a headset of some kind. The file also suggests Apple is developing an augmented reality device codenamed "Garta," possibly as one of several prototypes under the "T288" umbrella.

Digging further into the internal iOS 13 code, we uncovered numerous strings related to a so-called "StarBoard mode" and various "views" and "scenes." Many of the strings reference augmented reality, including "ARStarBoardViewController" and "ARStarBoardSceneManager."

Multiple sources have claimed that Apple plans to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020…</p>

Internal build, eh? That's quite a leak, since internal builds would also have details of forthcoming devices such as phones.
apple  augmentedreality  glasses 
16 days ago by charlesarthur
Snap, in augmented reality push, launches new Spectacles version • Reuters
Sheila Dang:
<p>Snap Inc said Tuesday it will launch a new version of its Spectacles sunglasses that will have the capability of capturing photos and videos and uploading them directly to its unit Snapchat.

Snap has struggled to make money from its Spectacles business, and wrote down $40 million in unsold glasses in 2017.

Production will be smaller for its new Spectacles 3 version, allowing Snap to continue experimenting with augmented reality, a key focus for the technology company.

Spectacles 3, which will begin shipping in the fall, will cost $380, almost twice the $200 cost of the previous version.

It will have dual cameras to add depth and dimension to photos and videos. After uploading the content to the messaging app Snapchat, users can add new lighting, landscapes and three-dimensional effects to the images, Snap said.</p>

First time, in September 2016: sold about 150,000 units, took $40m bath in November 2017. September 2018: tries again with Spectacles 2. First the first six months of this year it has said "revenue from the sales of Spectacles was not material."

Don't see why this situation will change, unless another well-known company introduces AR glasses and they become a huge category.
augmentedreality  snap  glasses 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Atlantic League introduces 'robot umpires' to baseball • The Washington Post
Jacob Bogage:
<p>The either long-dreaded or long-awaited arrival of digitally rendered ballpark justice has come to professional baseball. Robot umpires have arrived.

Except, they’re not really robots. They’re human umpires wearing a Bluetooth-connected earpiece, connected to an iPhone, connected to a software program in the press box. The software doesn’t make every call, just balls and strikes. And if it’s wrong, the human umpire can step in to overrule the program, and his decision, not the software’s, is final.

The Atlantic League, an independent circuit with seven teams on the East Coast and one in Texas, became the first American professional baseball league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

“It’s amazing how good these robots look. They look just like the actual umpires,” league president Rick White joked in a phone interview before the game. “Once people actually see this happening, they’re going to realize it’s not that big a deal.”

And during the game, it wasn’t. Home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere wore an Apple AirPod in his right ear, which connected to an iPhone in his back pocket. That communicated ball or strike calls from a computer in the press box.

Players shook their heads at a couple of pitches each inning and acknowledged the system’s general criticism — it awards higher and lower strikes that human umpires generally do not — but overall they didn’t have any major qualms with the electronically enabled strike zone.</p>

Next step, umpires wearing AR glasses showing the strike zone and the ball? So cricket, tennis, football, rugby, baseball all now have computer-aided review. Any major sports that need it which don't have it? (Side note: observe the assumption in the story that baseball umpires are always male.)
baseball  computer  augmentedreality  umpire  measurement 
9 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple’s iOS 13 update will make FaceTime eye contact way easier • TechCrunch
Darrell Etherington:
<p>Apple has added a feature called “FaceTime Attention Correction” to the latest iOS 13 Developer beta, and it looks like it could make a big difference when it comes to actually making FaceTime calls feel even more like talking to someone in person. The feature, spotted in the third beta of the new software update that went out this week, apparently does a terrific job of making it look like you’re looking directly into the camera even when you’re looking at the screen during a FaceTime call.

That’s actually a huge improvement, because when people FaceTime, most of the time they’re looking at the screen rather than the camera, since the whole point is to see the person or people you’re talking to, rather than the small black lens at the top of your device.

The catch so far seems to be that this FaceTime feature is only available on iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, which could mean it only works with the latest camera tech available on Apple hardware.</p>

Well, when it's introduced it will work with the latest *and* last year's phones, but anyway. It's optional (you choose whether your eyes are redirected) and works, it seems, by <a href="">making an augmented reality depth map of your face</a> and adjusting where it shows your eyes. Finally, a use for AR! Though I saw a discussion on Twitter of whether this would lead to strange effects because you'd seem to be gazing at the other person <em>all the time</em>, which we interpret differently depending on our gender.
apple  facetime  augmentedreality 
11 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Is online shopping AR’s killer app? • On my Om
Om Malik:
<p>This week, I came across the Nike Fit, which seems like such a smart use of a much-hyped technology: augmented reality. Nike Fit allows you to point your phone at your feet and get the most accurate measurement. The size data that is collected enables you to find the right match for your foot from Nike’s mind-boggling array of shoe choices.

This is a product and use of technology that makes perfect sense. It affirms my confidence in the long-term prospects for AR and the possibilities of visual sensors. According to Nike’s PR, for what it’s worth, about “60% of people at any given time are walking around in the wrong size shoe.” And in North America alone, “half a million people complain about purchasing the wrong shoe size a year.”

In the past, we would go to a store, where a clerk would measure our foot using the Brannock Device to determine the correct fit. It would take him a trip back or two to the storeroom to find the right shoe. But we don’t go to the stores all that much anymore. Instead, we increasingly shop online and get everything shipped to our homes. </p>

My initial reaction was that this is a "no", but then again we do adapt to unusual ways of doing things. It would be good to be able to be certain of getting the right size of anything like that. Of course there's the question of what that does to the high street. Nothing good, probably.
online  shopping  augmentedreality 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Google Glass still exists: meet Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 • Ars Technica
Ron Amadeo:
<p>Google Glass is not only a product that still exists inside Google, but today, Google is announcing a new version of Google Glass, called "Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2." It has a new design, new specs, and a $999 price tag. We can't believe it either.

Google has a blog post detailing the new product, and has been resurrected with all sorts of details on the new face computer. The new Google Glass has a thicker, bulkier design, which probably helps to fit a larger 820mAh battery compared to the original's 570mAh. Given that Glass is now an enterprise-focused product, it makes sense that Google is promoting a design with built-in safety glasses, although a more traditional frameless style is still available…

…Google VR/AR lead Clay Bavor has claimed ownership of Google Glass on Twitter, so now it seems the same group that brings you ARCore and Google Daydream VR goggles will be in charge of Google Glass.

As an enterprise product, Glass is not available to consumers and, last we checked, didn't come with general-purpose software. You'd need to have a company buy a large quantity of Glass devices and develop custom software that would work on them.</p>

Not sure there are many of those (though of course the volume might make up for it).
googleglass  augmentedreality 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
How an augmented reality game escalated into real-world spy warfare • VICE
Elizabeth Ballou:
<p>Meng was tired. The weekend before, she’d flown from Beijing to Seattle and back in less than forty-eight hours in order to meet one of her counterparts and obtain the key required to complete the connection from Jiangsu Province to Alaska. Then she’d spent the following days coordinating with the Nanjing group. Now she was getting ready to sleep in a tent on a backwater island. She only hoped that all her effort to marshal other teams into following her lead would pay off, because her plan hinged on whether they could take and hold that island long enough to complete their mission.

At first, Meng hadn’t wanted to get involved in the Resistance. But she made an ideal agent, which is why they recruited her. She traveled a lot for work, and made enough money that she could travel extensively outside of it. Those two factors would make her a powerful player within the intensely competitive community around Ingress, an augmented reality mobile game. It uses the same geolocation functions as an app like Foursquare, but places them in the context of a sci-fi story about factional intrigue: to seize territory, players go to different physical locations in the world. Which is where Meng came in. In 2016, some friends convinced her to start doing them small favors on her travels, little side-trips that wouldn’t take her too far out of her way. Within a year, 25-year-old Meng was planning and executing some of the group’s most ambitious operations while working another job full-time.</p>

This is quite surreal - and it would only require another layer, in which the people behind the game are actively trying to carry out some sort of espionage, for it to be really mindbending.
augmentedreality  ingress 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Magic Leap heads to AT+T stores, along with AR Game of Thrones experience • CNet
Scott Stein:
<p>AT+T was originally supposed to be a retail partner for Magic Leap at launch last fall, but that never ended up happening. This retail launch of the $2,295 AR headset will be pretty limited: It will arrive April 1 in Boston at one store (Boylston), April 3 in Chicago (on Michigan Avenue) and April 6 in San Francisco (at 1 Powell).

The hardware will be exactly the same as what's already been available previously. The self-contained AR hardware runs off an Nvidia Tegra X2 processor and creates 3D effects meshed into reality through its tethered goggles. But it doesn't have cellular onboard yet. Instead, it requires Wi-Fi.

AT+T is planning to make a move to 5G and bring Magic Leap along, but for now those developments will be limited to deploying 5G at Magic Leap's Florida headquarters later this year for 5G AR testing.

As for these retail Magic Leap Game of Thrones experiences, it could be worth a drop-in. The "Dead Must Die" encounter, according to AT+T's press release: "...challenges the bravest of fans to confront a White Walker and lead the fight for the living. Curious visitors will be fitted with a Magic Leap One and step into a physical representation of King's Landing, which instantly transforms into an ominous, icy scene that begs investigation…</p>

Nope. I just don't see this making it. I think Magic Leap's investors can kiss their money goodbye.
magicleap  augmentedreality 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Canadian startup North made Alexa smart glasses that actually look like glasses • WIRED
Lauren Goode:
<p>Focals run on the company’s custom software, built on top of Android. The software interface is simple, almost primitive, in its early stages. Download the Focals app and pair it with your glasses to see the weather, receive and respond to text messages, view your calendar appointments, and call an Uber. Another feature, called Go, relies on databases from Mapbox and Foursquare to either guide you to a specific location, or create a walking experience based on nearby points of interest. You navigate all of this by nudging and pressing on the tiny joystick on the ring.

You can also use Alexa. Long-pressing on the joystick summons Alexa, which hears your voice commands and responds to you through the glasses. The speaker and microphone are built into the right arm of the Focals, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. You can ask Alexa on Focals to do nearly anything that the virtual assistant can do on another Alexa-equipped devices, except it won’t play long strings of audio, and it won’t show you videos.

My second experience trying on Focals was dramatically different from the first. The glasses still weren’t custom-fit to my face, so I sometimes felt cross-eyed while I tried to focus on the floating interface. And as much as North refers to the light reflection as a hologram, there isn't any volume or depth to the image being projected into your eye. It's a flat image, one that lands somewhere between the chin and the shoulder of a person you might be talking to.

But I started to get a better sense of what North hopes to accomplish with these anti-smart-glasses glasses.</p>

Iterate, iterate, iterate. Some year soon it's going to be right.
smartglasses  augmentedreality  ar 
january 2019 by charlesarthur
Blippar on the brink • Sunday Times
Oliver Shah says that the London-based augmented reality company is out of funding:
<p>Blippar’s failure would put 75 jobs at risk just before Christmas. It would be the latest blow for the British tech industry, following the high-profile unravellings of Powa Technologies and Ve Interactive.

Blippar once claimed to have turned down a $1.5bn takeover bid, putting it in the elite breed of start-ups valued at more than $1bn.

The development comes despite an ongoing rush of money into European tech start-ups, which attracted a total of $23bn (£18bn) this year, according to the investment firm Atomico. In 2013, the figure was $5bn.

Blippar was devised in a pub eight years ago, when Ambarish Mitra joked to co-founder Omar Tayeb that it would be “cool” if the picture on a banknote could come to life. They developed an app allowing users to scan physical objects such as supermarket promotions to produce responses on their smartphones.

Mitra, dubbed the real-life Slumdog Millionaire for his colourful — and sometimes exaggerated — backstory, has raised almost $150m from investors. Candy owns 49%, the hedge fund Lansdowne Partners holds 14%, Khazanah 12% and US tech giant Qualcomm 12%.

Blippar has burnt through money and been forced to close offices around the world to cut costs. The latest accounts, for the 12 months to March last year, showed pre-tax losses of £34.5m on sales of £5.7m.</p>

AR: still a zero-billion-dollar industry.
Augmentedreality  ar  blippar  tech 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Bose Frames audio sunglasses arrive in January, cost $199 • CNET
David Carnoy:
<p>When it announced its new augmented reality platform with a set of prototype AR glasses back in March, Bose said that a commercial version of the product was coming. Now it's here: Bose Frames, a set of sunglasses with built-in microspeakers and microphones, will be available in the US in January for $199. Preorders start today at, and Bose AR apps are coming next year. (It will launch in select global markets in spring 2019; $199 converts to about £155 or AU$270.)

Weighing about the same as your typical sunglasses at 1.6 ounces (45 grams), Frames will come in two styles. Bose says they can stream music and information, take and make calls, and access virtual assistants "while keeping playlists, entertainment and conversations private."

I had a chance to try a pair of the prototypes earlier this year and was generally impressed with the sound quality. They seem to be about on par with the Apple AirPods' sound, which also feature an open, non noise-isolating design.</p>

They look… tolerable? Battery life not great though, at less than four hours; two hours to recharge. Notable how more and more people are trying this: Google, Snap, now Bose.
bose  augmentedreality  googleglass 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
How The Weather Channel made that insane storm animation • Wired
Brian Barrett:
<p>If you haven’t seen the graphic yet, take a moment to watch the segment below. It starts normally enough, with a top-side view of the Eastern seaboard, showing the “reasonable worst-case scenario” of water levels. (The data comes from the National Hurricane Center.) But about 45 seconds in, a shift occurs. Meteorologist Erika Navarro stands not in a studio, but on a neighborhood street corner. And then the waters around her start to rise.

On one level, yes, the visualization literally just shows what three, six, and nine feet of water looks like. But it’s showing that in a context most people have never experienced. It fills in the gaps of your imagination, and hopefully underscores for anyone in a flood zone all the reasons they should not be.

A year ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. In fact, this specific demonstration wouldn’t have been possible a month ago. The Weather Channel only finished the new “green screen immersive studio” at its Atlanta headquarters this week. With peak hurricane season coming, it wanted to be prepared. “It was all hands on deck,” says Michael Potts, TWC’s vice president of design.

Fortunately, they’ve already had some practice with this sort of thing. About 18 months ago, Potts says, the broadcast industry at large started getting serious about the quality of graphics it could offer, thanks in part to the rising popularity of esports. Seeing potential for weather coverage, TWC invested in the use of Unreal Engine, the same suite of tools that powers countless video games (yes, including Fortnite.</p>

The <a href="">video is indeed amazing</a>. This is "augmented reality" being used to its best capacity.
weather  augmentedreality 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple buys startup focused on lenses for AR glasses | Reuters
<p>Apple has acquired a startup focused on making lenses for augmented reality glasses, the company confirmed on Wednesday, a signal Apple has ambitions to make a wearable device that would superimpose digital information on the real world.

Apple confirmed it acquired Longmont, Colorado-based Akonia Holographics. “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans,” the iPhone maker said in a statement.

Akonia could not immediately be reached for comment. The company was founded in 2012 by a group of holography scientists and had originally focused on holographic data storage before shifting its efforts to creating displays for augmented reality glasses, according to its website…

…Akonia said its display technology allows for “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images.” The firm has a portfolio of more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials, according to its website.

Akonia also said it raised $11.6m in seed funding in 2012 and was seeking additional funding. It was unclear whether that funding ever materialized or who the firm’s investors were.</p>

Ah yes, augmented reality. We now go over to report on progress with the latest AR headset, from Magic Leap. Over to Geoff Fowler. Geoff?
apple  augmentedreality 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Inside Magic Leap’s quest to remake itself as an ordinary company (with a real product) • Wired
Jessi Hempel has been to visit Magic Leap (which has been given $2.3bn in venture funding) multiple times. Now it's selling $2,295 AR headsets to developers:
<p>The Icelandic band Sigur Rós worked with Magic Leap to build an <a href="ós-magic-leap/10156068730479124/">electrifyingly beautiful visual sound experience</a>. But Magic Leap has also provided a way for developers to input a tiny snippet of code into their existing projects and refer to 3-D models to render web pages in 3-D in Magic Leap’s Helio browser. So, you can open a demo of The New York Times in Magic Leap’s Helio browser, just as you might on your desktop. But by adding a small snippet of code that renders a 3-D model, The New York Times can also show you a news photo rendered in 3-D so you can more closely explore it.

In seeding developers, Magic Leap is attempting to steer the design direction of its technology. Sure, 40% of the developers who received the goggles early are focused on gaming and entertainment, use cases that have been the company’s mainstay. But Magic Leap has also developed tools for corporate communication (Imagine Zoom, but if your entire conference party were avatars sitting around a digital conference table.) Roughly 10% of the company’s existing developers come from healthcare and medical imaging, which isn’t surprising given Abovitz’s background.</p>

I suspect the gaming thing will go nowhere: who's going to spend $2,295 on AR glasses for gaming? Even if the price halves, that's still $1,000. The market would be tiny.

I predict that in 18 months' time or so Magic Leap will pivot to industrial and commercial applications: there, you aren't asking consumers to spend huge sums of money. You get the company to pay.
magicleap  augmentedreality 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Augmented reality and virtual reality are on the VRge of growth • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets were down 30.5% year over year, totaling 1.2m units in the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker. Much of the decline occurred due to the unbundling of screenless VR headsets during the quarter. For much of 2017, vendors bundled these headsets free with the purchase of a high-end smartphone, but that practice largely came to an end by the start of 2018. Despite a poor start to 2018, IDC anticipates the overall market will return to growth over the remainder of the year as more vendors target the commercial AR and VR markets and low-cost standalone VR headsets such as the Oculus Go make their way into stores. IDC forecasts the overall AR and VR headset market to grow to 8.9 million units in 2018, up 6% from the prior year. That growth will continue throughout the forecast period, reaching 65.9 million units by 2022.

<img src="" width="100%" />

"On the VR front, devices such as the Oculus Go seem promising not because Facebook has solved all the issues surrounding VR, but rather because they are helping to set customer expectations for VR headsets in the future," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “Looking ahead, consumers can expect easier-to-use devices at lower price points. Combine that with a growing lineup of content from game makers, Hollywood studios, and even vocational training institutions, and we see a brighter future for the adoption of virtual reality."

When it comes to augmented reality headsets, many consumers have already had a taste of the technology through screenless viewers such as the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges product from Lenovo. IDC anticipates these types of headsets will lead the market in shipment volumes in the near term.</p>

So they're saying the fall is really down to a different way of counting. I'm not so sure. VR either needs more computing power than people are willing to put into it, or better applications.
Virtualreality  augmentedreality  idc  research 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Dreamworld launches $399 augmented reality glasses that connect to your smartphone • Silicon Angle
Kyt Dotson:
<p>With the DreamGlass, DreamWorld hopes to make AR more accessible to developers and consumers with a price tag of only $399. Although this list price is quite affordable, it is an early-bird discount and may go up in the future.

“There is so much potential in augmented reality,” said DreamWorld founder and Chief Executive Kevin Zhong, “but the hardware limitations and steep price points of headsets available today have not made it easy for developers to fully contribute to the ecosystem.”

Using AR, developers can augment what users see and hear by overlaying 3-D objects onto human vision. This is done with mobile devices that act as “windows” or “filters” by using their cameras or glasses such as the HoloLens from Microsoft Corp.

The DreamGlass supports a 90-degree FOV, which broadly covers most of what people can see directly in front of them – compared with 35-degrees currently available for a HoloLens, although Microsoft is working on a 70-degree version. The device is also capable of driving 2.5K high-definition graphics with a 60-hertz refresh rate to make certain overlaid graphics is as high fidelity as possible.

Key features of the DreamGlass include three-degree head tracking, hand gesture recognition and the ability to tether to a PC or mobile device via a Universal Serial Bus type-C connector. When tethered, the DreamGlass is able to be used as a secondary display for compatible smartphones, which will allow the use of a smartphone as a touchscreen for interface control.</p>

The first of many, for sure; and it isn't pretending to be "just normal glasses". This really looks like a lightweight headset. Still unsure whether the big opportunity is in the consumer space or professional work like medicine and mechanical work.
Augmentedreality  ar 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Google Maps is getting the coolest new feature since turn-by-turn directions • BGR
Chris Mills:
<p>Google is adding some massive new features to Google Maps, the biggest being the addition of augmented reality directions to help with walking directions. If you’re trying to follow a set of directions, you can now hold your phone up, and Google Maps will match the view from your camera to the saved Street View imagery of the world. Street View can label things in the real world using your camera, and show you an overlay to let you know which way to go.

<img src="" width="100%" />

The company didn’t say when the augmented reality features will come to the Google Maps app, but it did hint that it might even include a cute robotic fox to act as your virtual guide.</p>

I've lost count of the number of times I've emerged from an underground station (US readers: subway station) and tried to work out which direction I'm facing, compared to where the map is directing me.

Betting on Apple having something like this in the works for WWDC?
google  maps  augmentedreality 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Intel plans to shut down smart glasses group • The Information
Aaron Tilley:
<p>The division, formed in 2013, made fitness trackers and smart glasses. Despite an investment of several hundred million dollars by Intel, including through acquisitions of other companies, the group never made much of an impact in the wearables market.

The closure is likely to lead to some layoffs. The department reportedly had 200 people earlier this year, down from as many as 800 in 2016, although the current size isn’t known. Employees who can’t find a position in other divisions of Intel will be laid off, the people said.

In February, Bloomberg reported that Intel was looking for outside investment for the smart glasses project. Intel valued the smart glasses division at $350m with around 200 employees, according to Bloomberg. The closure suggests Intel wasn’t able to raise any fresh investment. That same month, The Verge reported on the smart glass project, known internally as Vaunt.

In a statement, Intel said it is “continuously working on new technologies and experiences. Not all of these develop into a product we choose to take to market.” It added that Intel will continue to take a “disciplined approach as we keep inventing and exploring new technologies, which will sometimes require tough choices when market dynamics don’t support further investment.”

The unit’s closure is the latest sign of how Intel has failed to diversify beyond its core chip business. Intel has tried various other steps, including buying security firm McAfee and internet of services business Wind River, without success. Last year it sold a majority stake in McAfee and recently sold Wind River.</p>

Wearables are tricky - look at Nokia giving up on Withings - but it's hard not to feel that Intel is getting out of this at the wrong time. Unless it has discovered things about AR and similar which tell it that this is an utter dead end.
Augmentedreality  ar  intel  smartglass 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Demand for augmented reality/virtual reality headsets expected to rebound in 2018 • IDC
<p>Worldwide shipments for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets will grow to 68.9m units in 2022 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52.5%, according to the latest forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker. Despite the weakness the market experienced in 2017, IDC anticipates a return to growth in 2018 with total combined AR/VR volumes reaching 12.4m units, marking a year-over-year increase of 48.5% as new vendors, new use cases, and new business models emerge.

The worldwide AR/VR headset market retreated in 2017 primarily due to a decline in shipments of screenless VR viewers. Previous champions of this form factor stopped bundling these headsets with smartphones and consumers have shown little interest in purchasing such headsets separately. While the screenless VR category is waning, Lenovo's successful fourth quarter launch of the Jedi Challenges Mirage headset—a screenless viewer for AR—showed the form factor may still have legs if paired with the right content. Other new product launches during the quarter included the first Windows Mixed Reality VR tethered headsets with entries from Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung.

"There has been a maturation of content and delivery as top-tier content providers enter the AR and VR space," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Meanwhile, on the hardware side, numerous vendors are experimenting with new financing options and different revenue models to make the headsets, along with the accompanying hardware and software, more accessible to consumers and enterprises alike."</p>

Not mentioned anywhere in this release: what the actual uses, demand and markets are that will drive this growth. I just don't see it.
idc  augmentedreality  virtualreality 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Google Tango augmented reality project is shutting down • Business Insider
Matt Weiberger:
<p>Google has announced that it will be "turning down" Tango, its ambitious augmented-reality project for redefining what a smartphone camera can do, in March 2018.

First launched in 2014, Tango (formerly Project Tango) was a design for a camera that could actually detect depth and motion, opening up all kinds of new applications. The problem, and Tango's biggest obstacle to success, was that you needed a special, high-tech, Tango-compatible camera to take advantage — a normal camera just wouldn't do.</p>

A formality - Google has shifted to doing this on any (capable) smartphone with ARCore. The losers are Lenovo and Asus, which put time and (perhaps?) money into building Project Tango hardware which absolutely nobody bought. Unless Google subsidised it, which I would have thought the OEMs might have asked for.
google  tango  augmentedreality 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple acquired augmented reality headset startup Vrvana for $30M • TechCrunch
Lucas Matney:
<p>As Apple reportedly ramps up work to ship an augmented reality headset in 2020, it has acquired a startup from Montreal, Canada that could help it get there. TechCrunch has learned that Apple has acquired Vrvana, maker of the Totem headset — which had rave reviews but never shipped. The deal was for around $30 million, two sources tell TechCrunch.

We contacted Apple, and the company declined to comment, but also did not deny the story. Vrvana did not reply to our request for comment. Sources close to the deal have confirmed the acquisition to us.

The deal is significant because while we have seen reports and rumors about Apple’s interest in AR hardware, the company has been very tight-lipped and generally is very secretive about completely new, future products. This acquisition is perhaps the clearest indicator yet of what the company is hoping to develop.

A number of the startup’s employees have joined Apple in California. The Vrvana site is currently still up, but it stopped updating social accounts and news in August of this year.

It’s not clear what of Vrvana’s existing products, product roadmap or current business — it worked with Valve, Tesla, Audi and others under NDA — will be making its way to Apple.</p>

Give it a few years.
apple  augmentedreality  vrvana 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple is ramping up work on AR headset to succeed iPhone • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman:
<p>Apple, seeking a breakthrough product to succeed the iPhone, aims to have technology ready for an augmented-reality headset in 2019 and could ship a product as early as 2020.

Unlike the current generation of virtual reality headsets that use a smartphone as the engine and screen, Apple’s device will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system, according to people familiar with the situation. The development timeline is very aggressive and could still change, said the people, who requested anonymity to speak freely about a private matter.

While virtual reality immerses the user in a digital world, augmented reality overlays images and data on the real one. The applications for AR are endless, from a basketball fan getting stats while watching a game to a mechanic streaming instructions on how to fix a specific piece of equipment. Apple isn’t the only company working on the technology. Google, which drew derision for $1,500 smart glasses a few years ago, is developing a business-oriented variant. Startup Meta has developed a headset with a focus on education and medical uses.</p>

2020? Why the hurry?
apple  ar  augmentedreality 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
Graphmented • Product Hunt
<p>Graphmented transforms your whole desk into a spreadsheets workstation. Drop sheets and charts on your desk as if they are real objects and make use of your whole desk space
Plot 3D and 2D scattered and grouped bars Charts, Record stunning videos of 3D charts exploration, import CSV and Excel files from iCloud Drive and Dropbox, and Google Sheets.

<iframe width="676" height="380" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

(This is <a href="">the video link</a> if that doesn't work.)</p>

The video does make it clear at the start that it isn't OCR'ing stuff on your desktop (how awesome that would be). Certainly this gives a glimpse of how AR could be useful in a work setting: view this through glasses connected to the phone, and your workstyle changes. How though do you then show workmates what you've done, compared to swinging a monitor at them? AR raises lots of questions about collaboration.
october 2017 by charlesarthur
How Apple can push augmented reality and Siri together with iOS 12 • Medium
Albert Choi wants it to be next September already; he's imagining a "Lens" app from Apple which would activate AR innately:
<p>Once you’re in the app, the camera will enable and a menu bar will appear. There will be three buttons: Explore, Siri, and Apps.

• Explore will show you top apps for Lens and also suggestion of preview apps. Download and quickly preview and demo an app.

• Siri works the same way as always. Use your voice to navigate and command through Lens.

•My Apps will show you all the apps that you’ve loaded onto Lens. If an app that you already have on your iPhone, it will migrate automatically to be compatible with Lens.

So when you activate Siri and ask it a question like “where is some places to eat?’’, in this case Lens will use Maps to help you look for a location. Using augmented reality, restaurant icons are shown at the location. If you prefer the Maps app, it can be accessed clicking the icon on the top right of your screen.

When clicking on any of the restaurant icons, you’ll see the information about the restaurant. With Lens, you’ll be able to receive AR based directions when driving (for passenger) or when walking. Maps will be able to provide you compatible indoor routes.</p>

The maps example isn't a huge advance on what we already have, to be honest. We're still waiting for the first proper wave of AR apps to hit. (Perhaps Apple should create a category in the app store?)
apple  app  augmentedreality 
october 2017 by charlesarthur
ARise is an AR puzzle-platformer for ARKit • UploadVR
Jamie Feltham:
<p>Unlike VR, AR’s rise in relevance hasn’t largely been fuelled by gaming (save for the enormous success of Pokemon Go). That’s why we’re so interested to see the first games for Apple’s new ARKit. Arise is one of those games.

This is the latest project from Climax Studios, the developer of VR games like Lola and the Giant, Balloon Chair Death Match and even some Google Tango apps. It looks like a clever evolution of puzzle-platformer games like Echochrome using the new positional tracking featured in ARKit. You help clear a path for a tiny knight that journeys through virtual levels that appear in the real world through your phone. Check out the <a href="">first trailer</a> below.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>

As a side note, I think that UploadVR will find itself writing many more AR stories in the near future.
augmentedreality  ios 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Augmented Reality: iOS Human Interface Guidelines • Apple Developer
<p><strong>Use the entire display to engage people.</strong> Devote as much of the screen as possible to viewing and exploring the physical world and your app's virtual objects. Avoid cluttering the screen with controls and information that diminish the immersive experience.

<strong>Create convincing illusions when placing realistic objects.</strong> Not all AR experiences require realistic virtual objects. Those that do, however, should include objects that appear to inhabit the physical environment in which they're placed. For best results, design detailed 3D assets with lifelike textures and use the information ARKit provides to position objects on detected real-world surfaces, scale objects properly, reflect environmental lighting conditions on virtual objects, cast virtual object shadows on real-world surfaces, and update visuals as the camera's position changes.

<strong>Consider physical constraints.</strong> Bear in mind that people may attempt to use your app in an environment that's not conducive to an optimal AR experience. For example, they may open your app in a location where there isn't much room to move around or there aren't large, flat surface areas. Try to anticipate scenarios that might present challenges, and clearly communicate requirements or expectations to people up front. Consider offering varying sets of features for use in different environments.

<strong>Be mindful of the user's comfort.</strong> Holding a device at a certain distance or angle for a prolonged period of time can be fatiguing.</p>

There are a couple more - safety, gradual introduction of motion, audio and haptic feedback - and then much more. One of the key ones is going to be "handling problems". Not long to go now.
design  augmentedreality  ux  arkit 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Google launches ARCore SDK in preview: AR on Android phones, no extra hardware required • VentureBeat
Emil Protalinski:
<p>Google today launched a preview of ARCore, an Android software development kit (SDK) that brings augmented reality to existing and future Android phones without requiring additional sensors or hardware. Developers can <a href="">download the SDK now</a> and start creating new AR experiences on Android.

The ARCore preview currently supports the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8+. Android 7.0 Nougat or above is required. Google is hoping to have ARCore on 100 million devices by the end of the preview (no final release date was provided). Google is working with manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, LG, ASUS, and others to make that happen “with a consistent bar for quality and high performance.”

Today’s launch is the next big step in Google’s plan to bring AR capabilities to more devices. ARCore is built on the work already done with Tango, the company’s augmented reality platform. Tango was first released in June 2014 and since then has only made it to a handful of devices, including just two commercial phones: Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro in August 2016 and Asus’ Zenfone AR this month.</p>

In brief: Google has thrown Lenovo and Asus under the bus, realising that Apple's moves in AR with ARKit (announced in June) were far more effective than Project Tango was ever going to be. This is a rush job, but Android has such scale that hitting 100m is entirely feasible. (Apple should be on about 500m by then, and might always be ahead in pure numbers until at least five years from now.)

If you don't think this was a rush job by Google: why didn't it announce it at Google I/O? Instead there was <a href="">more about Project Tango</a>, on which it seemed to be all-in.

There's going to be some furious gnashing of teeth in the Lenovo and Asus boardrooms: committing to making those specialist phones will have been expensive investments, but Google has decided (sensibly) to go with the broader base - another example, as with Android after the iPhone launch, of successfully changing course at top speed to match Apple.
google  ar  augmentedreality  arcore 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
BlackBerry makes its first wearable play with AR smartglasses • Wareable
<p>As we await AR to hit the big time, it's finding its feet nicely in enterprise. Vuzix is one of the biggest names in this space right now, and it's just found an ally... in BlackBerry.

The once-heavyweight of the smartphone world is in a new era where it's licensing its software rather than developing in-house, and smartglasses are next on the agenda.

Vuzix, which has a lot of pedigree in the smart glasses space will be providing the hardware - the Vuzix M300 - while BlackBerry will be providing its UEM software to keep all the data secure.

Unless you're in an industry where you might be donning one of these bad boys, this probably won't matter to you. But it's interesting to see BlackBerry finally edging into the wearable space.</p>

BlackBerry spent a billion dollars on BB10, and probably half that much on its abortive entry into the tablet market, for almost zero return. One has to hope for its sake that it's not staking too much on this.
blackberry  augmentedreality 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
The Apple ARKit proves the future of augmented reality will be on your phone • WIRED
Jason Tanz:
<p>much of the stuff built with ARKit seems downright banal. One app lets you see how a new throw pillow would look on your couch. A menu app shows the proferred food as it might appear on your table. Sure, some developers are filling rooms with virtual water or building portals into alternate dimensions, but it’s the close-to-the-ground stuff that’s generating the most enthusiastic response. One video, which garnered 12,000 likes on the popular @MadeWithARKit Twitter feed, <a href="">merely shows a digital tape measure unspooling</a>.

That modesty of vision isn’t a handicap. It’s precisely why ARKit apps are more likely to catch on where other, more ambitious approaches have failed. It’s easy to forget, amid all the overheated rhetoric and consciousness-expanding possibilities, but most people don’t want technology to usher them into an entirely new plane of existence. They just want it to solve problems and make their lives easier.
Call it the Inductive Theory of Platform Development—successful consumer technologies don’t start with grand ideas that trickle down into products. They begin as small solutions that expand to become grand ideas. </p>

This is absolutely correct, but I don't think AR will begin and end on the phone. Glasses are such an obvious next move.
augmentedreality  apple  arkit 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Tim Cook: augmented reality will make iPhone 'even more essential' • CNBC
Josh Lipton and Todd Haselton:
<p>Speaking with CNBC after Apple's earnings report on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that augmented reality is going to make smartphones even more important to users.

"The smart phone is becoming even more important to people because it's going across so much of your life and you can tell by some of the things we did at WWDC that that will only continue," Cook told CNBC's Josh Lipton. "And with things like AR… I think it becomes even more essential than it currently is. I know it's hard to believe, but I think that's the case."

Apple introduced ARKit during WWDC in June, which allows developers to create augmented reality apps. Millions iPhones already on the market will be able to take advantage of the new apps, which will allow users to peer through their iPhones into a world overlaid with new information and objects.

Imagine, for example, seeing a restaurant's menu while standing outside on the street, or overlaying dinosaurs in the living room for your kids to interact with.</p>

That's insufficiently imaginative. Imagine measuring a room by pointing your phone at its corners; seeing exactly what a piece of furniture from a catalogue will look like in that exact room; <a href="">seeing the ratings for wines on the shelf</a>; <a href="">hearing an extract from a CD based on its cover</a>; <a href="">price comparison in public spaces</a>; <a href="">figuring out tips</a>. (Take a look at the tweets of <a href="">Luke Wroblewski</a> for more.)

Basically, journalists are both too imaginative and insufficiently imaginative about the potential here.
apple  augmentedreality 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple Glasses Are Inevitable • Above Avalon
Neil Cybart:
<p>Augmented reality glasses check off all of the boxes for a product in Apple's wheelhouse and are deserving of a rare green light to market. 

• Hardware and software integration. There is room for Apple to create value by controlling both the hardware and software comprising AR glasses. The sum will be greater than its parts.<br />• Wearables manufacturing. Apple is learning quite a bit about manufacturing techniques and materials from Apple Watch and AirPods. These lessons can be transferred over to glasses, an item that will need to include a plethora of technology yet remain light.<br />• AR technology. Apple's big bet on AR will represent the catalyst for turning glasses and sunglasses into something more. An engaged base of iOS developers experimenting with ARKit will give Apple Glasses a hospitable app environment.<br />• Personal technology evolution. AR glasses represent the evolution of Apple's decades-long quest to make technology more personal - allowing people to get more out of technology without having it take over their lives.<br />• Fashion and luxury themes. Apple Watch has taught Apple much about how to get people to wear personal technology.<br />• Health/Medical. The ability to improve one's vision fits within Apple's expanding interest in health and medical.<br />• Retail demoes. Nearly 500 Apple Retail stores offer prime demo areas for customers to try on various glasses. </p>

I bet that a demo area for augmented reality glasses in an Apple Store would be crowded the whole day long. Glasses plus AirPods plus, perhaps, Watch.
augmentedreality  apple  glasses 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
A year after ‘Pokémon Go,’ where are the augmented-reality hits? • WSJ
Sarah E. Needleman and Cat Zakrzewski:
<p>There are thousands of augmented-reality games among the millions of apps in the Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. stores. None, though, has come close to the success of “Pokémon Go.” There are several reasons why, industry observers say.

One is that the allure of “Pokémon Go” wasn’t primarily its augmented reality.

While the game’s digital monsters materialize as if in the real world, they don’t interact with it. A Snorlax might appear next to a tree, but the catlike creature won’t peek from behind it. Many players who took up hunting the monsters ended up turning off the augmented-reality feature.

The real innovation of “Pokémon Go,” analysts say, was its use of location-based technology to get players walking outside and socializing with others. A recent update to the game doubled down on community building by letting players meet at specific locations to jointly defeat powerful monsters in “raids.”

“We have worked for many years to build a new kind of game based on real world exploration, physical movement and social gameplay,” Niantic Inc., the game’s creator, said in an email. “Our definition of ’Augmented Reality’ is the entire concept of building a game that takes place in and augments the real world.”</p>

It's going to be really good game mechanics which wins this, not good mechanics.
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Jelmer Verhoog on Twitter
<p>@elonmusk Couldn't wait 4 my #Model3, so made this AR app, what do you think?

[tweet ]</p>

This is astonishing - see what your new car will look like in your drive. Shadows too (though they're not quite congruent with the sun's position). ARKit is already looking like the most significant thing to happen on iOS for a while - though perhaps it gives good demo. But you can see it for architecture, kitchen/house design, and so on.
july 2017 by charlesarthur
VRScout on Twitter: "This Apple ARKit demo puts a portal right in front of you #AR via @nedd"
<p>[tweet ]</p>

This is really remarkable. The idea is obvious enough when you see it, but it's getting there - and then doing it - which is special. By Christmas there are going to be millions of devices capable of doing this.

Glasses capable of displaying this stuff looks like a natural next step. Also: they wouldn't need exceptional battery life; these wouldn't be like a smartphone, intended to be used all day (or not at first). You'd initially use them to explore products like this. So a short battery life would be less important in such AR glasses than a good display and positional accuracy. No wires required, either.
augmentedreality  portal 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple acquires German eye tracking firm SensoMotoric Instruments • Mac Rumors
Joe Rossignol:
<p>Apple and SensoMotoric Instruments did not respond to multiple requests for comments. SensoMotoric's phone line was out of service.

SensoMotoric Instruments, founded in 1991, has developed a range of eye tracking hardware and software for several fields of use, including virtual and augmented reality, in-car systems, clinical research, cognitive training, linguistics, neuroscience, physical training and biomechanics, and psychology.

The company's Eye Tracking Glasses, for instance, are capable of recording a person's natural gaze behavior in real-time and in real world situations with a sampling rate up to 120Hz. One possible use case is for athletes looking to evaluate and improve their visual performance.

SensoMotoric has also developed eye-tracking technology for virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift, which can analyze the wearer's gaze and help to reduce motion sickness, a common side effect of VR. The solution can also allow for a person's gaze to control menus or aim in a game with their gaze.

SensoMotoric's other eye-tracking solutions include standalone devices, such as the RED250mobile, which allows saccade-based studies to be conducted at 250Hz for researchers who require both mobility and high sampling rate. </p>

Great scoop. And verrrry interesting.
augmentedreality  apple 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Measuring distances with ARKit... • Made With ARKit
"Made With ARKit" is a blog picking out stuff made using Apple's ARKit. Tape measures are going to be the obvious one to begin with.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple’s Tim Cook on Donald Trump, the HomePod, and the Legacy of Steve Jobs • Bloomberg
<p><strong>Megan Murphy:</strong> You’ve talked a lot about augmented reality at the heart of the company’s future. How do you see AR moving forward?

<strong>Tim Cook:</strong> I think it is profound. I am so excited about it, I just want to yell out and scream. The first step in making it a mainstream kind of experience is to put it in the operating system. We’re building it into iOS 11, opening it to ­developers—and unleashing the creativity of millions of people. Even we can’t predict what’s going to come out.

There’s some things that you can already get a vision of. We’ve talked to IKEA, and they have 3D images of their furniture line. You’re talking about changing the whole experience of how you shop for, in this case, furniture and other objects that you can place around the home. You can take that idea and begin to think this is something that stretches from enterprise to consumer. There’s not a lot of things that do that.</p>

He doesn't see eye-to-eye - at all - with Trump; clearly he's just going to work around him.
apple  cook  ar  augmentedreality 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple joins augmented reality fray with new app platform • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Apple has jumped into the growing battle for the camera in Silicon Valley, with a new “augmented reality” app platform for developers that will face off against Facebook, Snapchat and Google.

The new “ARkit” capabilities being introduced in the next version of iOS will give Apple “overnight the largest AR platform in the world”, Craig Federighi, its software chief, told app makers at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.

Demonstrations displayed at the event in San Jose showed an improved version of Pokémon Go, one of the biggest apps of last year. The ARkit toolset allows the game’s monsters to bounce around streets and parks in a more realistic fashion.

Apple framed its bid to bring digital images to the iPhone camera window’s view of the real world as a leap forward in user-interface design alongside the iPhone’s 10-year-old “multitouch” screen.

“With multitouch we’ve really changed the way that you interact with the world on the screen of your iPhone,” said Mr Federighi. “With the camera we’ve allowed you to capture the world around you. When you bring these together, the results can be profound.”</p>

Coming in iOS 11, of course; the fact it's a kit means it can be part of apps everywhere. And this will make iOS the world's biggest AR platform within about a month of iOS 11's release.
augmentedreality  apple  ios 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Gatwick Airport launches indoor navigation system to help passengers find their way • The Next Web
Matthew Hughes:
<p>Serving the London region, Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second busiest airport, after London Heathrow. As you’d expect, it’s a gargantuan place, and getting around its two massive terminals can be a nightmare.

To ameliorate this, Gatwick has taken the unusual step of installing 2,000 bluetooth-powered beacons that tell passengers where they are in the airport’s two terminals.

The beacons are the product of a collaboration with London startup Pointr, and are accurate to three meters — so pretty damn accurate.

The first incarnation of the system shows travelers where they are on a digital map, with their location visualized as a blue dot. Gatwick eventually intends to introduce an augmented reality system that guides users with turn-by-turn directions, using real-world visual data.

At first, Gatwick plans to integrate this network of beacons into its own app, and is in talks with airlines about sharing access to the data.

Conceivably, this could be used to tell passengers that they’re running late, or help the airline to figure out whether to offload luggage if a late passenger is far away.</p>

Your basic augmented reality (AR) implementation.
gatwick  ar  augmentedreality 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Zuck says copying Snapchat was just step 1 of Facebook’s AR platform • TechCrunch
Josh Constine:
<p>when asked for a response to critics who say Facebook had stopped innovating, Zuckerberg brushed them off, insisting this was actually just Facebook preparing all its products for the new unified cross-app Camera Effects Platform. While Facebook Stories just launched this month, he says the strategy has been in the works for a while:

“We started it about a year ago. The point was that we kind of felt like we’re going to need cameras because video and photos are becoming more central but the unique thing that we’re going to do is we’re not just going to build basic cameras, we’re going to build the first mainstream augmented reality platform.

"​But the thing is, you try to chunk up your releases into specific things along the way. And even though we’re going to talk about it at F8, we’re not going to release it all at once even though this is kind of the next chapter. And the first chapter that made sense was to release products that people were familiar with and to kind of stabilize the product before you try to build a platform on top of that, right? It’s really tough to build the product and the platform at the same time.

"So I think internally, we just understood where we were going. We’ll roll out the different pieces at different times, but that was partially why we’re rolling all the stuff out quickly as we build a bunch of infrastructure to be able to do all that.”

Essentially, adding to Facebook’s various apps an in-app camera with basic augmented reality effects was just the start of a larger platform play.</p>
facebook  augmentedreality 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Apple’s next big thing: augmented reality • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman: Hundreds of engineers are now devoted to the cause [of building augmented reality capability at Apple]
<p>, including some on the iPhone camera team who are working on AR-related features for the iPhone, according to one of the people. One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person's head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works. The iPhone camera features would probably rely on a technology known as depth sensing and use algorithms created by PrimeSense, an Israeli company acquired in 2013. Apple may choose to not roll out these features, but such additions are an up-and-coming trend in the phone business.

The AR-enhanced glasses are further down the road, the people say. Getting the product right will be key, of course. Wearables are hard. Apple's first stab at the category, the Watch, has failed to become a mainstream hit. And no one has forgotten Google Glass, the much-derided headset that bombed in 2014. Still, time and again, Apple has waited for others to go first and then gone on to dominate the market. "To be successful in AR, there is the hardware piece, but you have to do other stuff too: from maps to social to payments," [Loup Ventures founder and former starry-eyed 'Apple is making a TV' analyst Gene] Munster says. "Apple is one of the only companies that will be able to pull it off."</p>

The Watch might not <em>yet</em> be a mainstream hit, but it took the iPhone and iPod a few years on the market to break through. (Three years at least for both.)

Meanwhile, how is what Gurman describes about the changing depth in a picture an AR feature? I've seen it in a Huawei system, where it's just part of the dual-lens setup. (And rather neat.) Adding elements, a la Snapchat, isn't AR either to my understanding. As for the glasses idea, it's clear in the story that he has no idea whether Apple has even prototyped this. It's a thin story bolstered only by details about the targeted acquisitions Apple has made in the field. I'm sure it's doing something in AR, but I'd hope it's aiming higher than tweaking focus.
apple  augmentedreality 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Microsoft accelerates HoloLens V3 development, sidesteps V2 •
Paul Thurrott:
<p>By skipping what was version two on their roadmap, the company can accelerate version three which will be closer to a generational leap and help keep Microsoft ahead of the competition. My sources are telling me that this version of Hololens will not arrive until 2019.

Yes, 2019 is a considerable amount of time away but for Microsoft, if they would have built what was known as version two, the company would not be able to get version three delivered by 2019. In short, the company is making a bet that the advancements they are investing in today for the v3 version of Hololens are significant enough and add enough value to the product that it will make sure they continue to lead the segment by getting that device to the market earlier.

Of course, it’s always possible the device arrives before then but do not expect a new device this year and likely nor will one arrive next year, based on what I have been told. I did reach out to Microsoft for comment and they provided the following statement but it’s generic and doesn’t add any new context to the information already provided:

“Mixed reality is the future of computing, and Microsoft HoloLens is the future and present of mixed reality. Our commitment requires no roadmap”.</p>

So you're <em>accelerating</em> to leave a two-year gap? 🤔 But on the other hand, I don't think there will be huge demand for AR systems this year or next. If this is Microsoft's timeline, it sounds sensible.
augmentedreality  microsoft  hololens 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
The reality behind Magic Leap • The Information
Reed Albergotti:
<p>Magic Leap, former employees say, pushed the boundaries of marketing, releasing videos that purported to be Magic Leap technology that were actually created by special effects companies. For instance, in March of last year, it released a video online titled “Just Another Day in the Office at Magic Leap.” Shot from the perspective of one of its employees working at his desk, all appears normal until robots start falling from the ceiling and converging on the worker, who picks up a toy gun and starts blasting his enemies into tangled lumps of virtual metal.

The video, viewed 3.4 million times on YouTube, was meant to demonstrate a game people were playing with Magic Leap’s headset. It had been used for more than a year to recruit employees to South Florida. “This is a game we’re playing around the office right now,” Magic Leap wrote in the description of the video.

But no such game existed at the time, according to two former employees with direct knowledge. The video was not actually filmed using any Magic Leap technology. It was made by New Zealand-based special effects company Weta Workshop, which has worked on movies like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Hobbit,” the employees said. One of them called it an “aspirational conceptual” video. The employees said some at the company felt the video misled the public. Magic Leap has since begun working on an actual game similar to the one in the video.

More recently, Magic Leap has released videos shot through its prototype devices.

In the interview, [founder and CEO] Rony Abovitz said he had planned to keep the company secret, but that public interest was so great that he had no choice but to begin marketing its product publicly.</p>

Magic Leap comes out of this sounding like it has tried to bite off far more than it can chew. Abovitz has <a href="">suddenly taken up tweeting</a>, a bit defensively; <a href="">Albergotti did an AMA on Reddit</a>. Magic Leap needs to ship something.
magicleap  ar  augmentedreality 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Raptor AR smartglasses give cyclists essential stats while on the road • UploadVR
Jamie Feltham:
<p>While VR is letting cyclists explore the world from the comfort of their homes, this new set of AR glasses could provide huge benefits for those that still venture outside.

Israel-based Everysight today announced Raptor, a new set of glasses designed specifically for cyclists. It reminds us a little of Google’s Glass project, or the upcoming CastAR. While out on a ride, users will have stats like turn-by-turn navigation, time, distance, speed, heart rate, cadence and power displayed in front of them. These are all stats that you could get with a smartphone app, but Raptor allows riders to keep their eyes on the road at all times.

The display, which appears a little like the information on a car dashboard, can be controlled either by a device mounted to a bike’s handlebar, through voice commands, or using an on-board touchpad. Footage of rides is also captured with a camera that can be watched back and shared with others. It wouldn’t be a fitness wearable without a companion app to upload stats to, and Everyglass will release one of these for iOS and Android.</p>

Neat - cyclists (and motorcyclists) are probably the civilians who have the most use for head-up displays, since distraction can be so costly.
ar  augmentedreality 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Who will win the next big thing? • Naofumi Kagami
<p>from a historical standpoint, if AI or VR/AR succeeds in disrupting tech, it is actually very unlikely that Google, Microsoft of Facebook would win in the end. These companies are in the exact same positions regarding AI and VR/AR as were Blackberry and Palm prior to iPhone, or as were Yahoo, Lycos and others were prior to Google Search. They have invested heavily into research and also into developing the early market. However, they have not yet discovered the formula that would propel them into the mass market.

No matter how unlikely it may seem today, history is actually quite unequivocal on this. The large and established companies that pioneer an early market, do not reap the rewards when disruption happens and the market goes mainstream. The odds are against Google for winning in AI, and the odds are against Microsoft and Facebook for winning in AR/VR (assuming though that AI and AR/VR do end up being disruptive technologies and not simply sustaining).

Although it is almost impossible to predict what will happen, I will just end this post highlighting a couple scenarios under which the Google might find itself vulnerable for illustrative purposes only.</p>

The scenarios are interesting - you'll probably be able to think of more. The second he suggests is a low-end disruption. But Google was an orthogonal disruption to Microsoft (and Apple); it built on something they enabled, but then challenged them.

The point though that Annexers do less well than Late Natives is relevant.
disruption  augmentedreality 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
Secretive startup Magic Leap loses top marketing executive • Bloomberg
Mark Bergen:
<p>Magic Leap Inc., a secretive augmented reality startup with a massive funding warchest, lost its top marketing executive before the company has even brought its first product to market.

Brian Wallace, a veteran smartphone executive with previous stints at BlackBerry Ltd., Samsung Electronics Co. and Google, left Magic Leap in October, the company confirmed. The startup made waves when it brought Wallace on in April 2014, after closing a $50 million venture capital round.

Since then, Magic Leap has raised more than $1.3 billion in additional capital from tech giants such as Qualcomm Ventures, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The latest investment round, in February, valued the company at $4.5 billion.

"I did what I set out to do, which was help Rony and the team create one of the most hotly anticipated technology companies in years," Wallace said in an interview, referring to Chief Executive Officer Rony Abovitz. "At this stage though, it’s time for me to move on to other opportunities."</p>

Magic Leap is either going to be the most incredible thing ever, or quite blah compared to all the other stuff already out there. I lean towards the latter.
magicleap  augmentedreality 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
iPhone 7 and augmented reality • Above Avalon
Neil Cybart:
<p>The iPhone 7 Plus dual-system camera is able to extract more data than any other iPhone camera. When combined with software and other technologies, this data will become incredibly valuable for Apple's augmented reality efforts. In an effort to obtain those specialized technologies, Apple has been on a buying spree for augmented reality startups including Metaio, Emotient, Polar Rose, Faceshift, PrimeSense, Flyby Media, and Perceptio. The dual-camera system found in the iPhone 7 Plus is the first step in Apple turning the iPhone into a key component of an augmented reality platform relying on much of the technology acquired these past two years. 

While the Phone will become a key part of Apple's augmented reality platform, there will be a range of devices capable of enhancing reality through both visual and audible feedback. One reason why Apple <a href="">has no other choice but to get into transportation</a> is that automobiles will end up representing a superior use case for augmented reality. </p>
apple  augmentedreality 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Pokemon Go technology is not just for fun and games, survey says • Fortune
Barb Darrow:
<p>there are real business applications for similar augmented reality (AR) technology that have already proven themselves in the market. <a href="">New research from consulting firm Deloitte</a> bears this out.

Out of 500 mid-market companies surveyed, a whopping 89% said they already use augmented reality in their businesses. That may be surprising until you realize that companies like Hunter Douglas has offered an AR app for Apple devices for several years that lets you preview how a given window treatment will look in your own room before you buy it.

AR is different from virtual reality in that AR incorporates the real world into the view, while virtual reality, as enabled by products like Oculus Rift, builds an entirely new, all-immersive world.

Steve Keathley, deputy chief information officer for Deloitte said AR comes in handy for any application that requires a sneak preview of what a finished product will look like.</p>
pokemon  augmentedreality 
august 2016 by charlesarthur
AR helmet startup Skully goes down in flames •Techcrunch
Sarah Buhr:
<p>Last week TechCrunch came to you with the dramatic departure of AR helmet maker Skully’s CEO and co-founder Marcus Weller and now several sources from inside the company tell us the startup is no more.

Operations have ceased within the company, and we’re told the website will be turned off at some point today. Weller has also been asked to sign a confidentiality deal with investors.

Weller told TechCrunch today he will not sign and that he’s completely walked away from all dealings with the company as of 10 days ago.

“I’m shocked and deeply saddened that they would now shut this company down,” Weller said in a phone conversation today. “We were raising a Series B to continue raising capital but then we had a buyer…I’m almost dubious to this.”</p>

3,000 helmets ordered - goodbye refunds - and 50 people out of a job. Note:
<p>the hardware company now only adds to the heap of carnage starting to pile up in Silicon Valley. Shuddle, the Uber for kids, hit the brakes in April, Buffer and General Assembly both chopped a bunch of staff last week and Zenefits took a tumble earlier this year, letting go of roughly 250 staffers as part of a course correction after ousting Parker Conrad.

Much of the upheaval is likely due to overgrowth issues in an increasingly tight VC market.</p>
augmentedreality  skully 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Mediated/Augmented reality (un)course notes, part I • OUseful.Info, the blog...
<a href="">Tony Hirst</a>:
<p>Pokemon Go seems to have hit the news this week – though I’m sure for anyone off social media last week and back to it next week, the whole thing will have completely passed them by – demonstrating that augmented reality apps really haven’t moved on much at all over the last five years or so.

But notwithstanding that, I’ve been trying to make sense of a whole range of mediated reality technologies for myself as prep for a very short unit on technologies and techniques on that topic.

Here’s what I’ve done to date, over on the Digital Worlds uncourse blog. This stuff isn’t official OU course material, it’s just my own personal learning diary of related stuff (technical term!;-)</p>

There's then a set of links which anyone who has more than a passing interest in AR ought to follow. And you could bookmark and contribute. Hirst teaches a course at the Open University (it's everywhere!) so worth watching.
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Videos of the future • Benedict Evans
Evans (who is suddenly blogging a lot - is summer quiet in Silicon Valley?) on augmented and virtual reality:
<p>Where VR seems to me to be a branch off the main strand of computing, a little like games consoles were a branch off the PC, mostly, AR (augmented reality, sometimes called mixed reality) can be your main screen. It can be the next multitouch. Forecasting what that would look like is a bit like forecasting <a href="">this music video</a> [which is designed to be viewed on a smartphone and uses emoji and apps] in 2006, before the iPhone launched, but this concept video [below] has a go from a dystopian angle - this is what happens if you install too many toolbars in Internet Explorer, so to speak. 

What this really gets at, I think, is that after a decade in which phones swallowed physical objects, with cameras, radios, music players and so on turned into apps, AR might turn those apps back into physical objects - virtual ones, of course. On one hand cameras digitise everything, and on the other AR puts things back into the world. 

<iframe src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe></p>

Watch the video - it really is terrific (and scary).
july 2016 by charlesarthur
AR will be startup dominated, VR will not • Reaction Wheel
Jerry Neumann:
<p>In analyzing any new medium, it pays to figure out the various pieces of the delivery value chain and which ones will have the ability to take whatever share they desire of the overall margin available. These will be the one that become the valuable players in that market.

Virtual reality’s value chain is going to be dominated by content creation. Somewhat like the movies and more like computer gaming. The cost of creating VR content will be high so content creation will economically dominate distribution and discovery. The high cost of creating quality content will mean that less quality content is created, allowing discovery through typical marketing/PR and word of mouth (like how movies are discovered now.) Because recouping the cost of high-quality content will require large audiences, VR headsets will need to be cheap. They may at first be subsidized, but will eventually be required by the content makers to be high-volume, low-margin hardware. Expensive, and thus scarce, content will tend towards the lowest common denominator (like console computer games) so risk can be managed through a portfolio approach (like music and movies.) This suggests that VR content will eventually be dominated by a few very large companies, and probably mainly companies that enter from adjacent industries (my bet would be on EA.)

There may be other uses for VR other than the mass media/broadcast model I describe, such as in business. But because the largest piece of the market will drive revenue in the rest of the value chain down, any other value chain that avoids the chockpoint but uses the other pieces will have very low barriers to entry because its suppliers will have no bargaining power. For instance, the creation of training films for businesses avoided the content creation chokepoint in the consumer media business and benefited from the lower cost of movie-making equipment and talent. But because these had been made plentiful by the mainstream industry, there was no way to build a big business in corporate film-making. Something similar will happen in VR.

Augmented reality is completely different.</p>
virtualreality  augmentedreality 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Mercedes' F1 team challenges fans to create new VR/AR experience • UploadVR
Jamie Feltham:
<p>With the help of F1 star Lewis Hamilton the group is offering some $50,000 as a grand prize. The second stage of the competition is asking contestants to come up with a unique VR and AR experience, but not one that simply simulates driving one of the state of the art racing cars.

Instead, the experience must offer a solution to help the team working on the track-side at a race and those working remotely from the team’s UK-based factory. As it stands, engineers develop a race strategy, review component changes and fix issues with audio communications and video feeds between the track and factory. Contestants will be tasked with refining this process with the help of VR and AR during mid-season tests and more. The aim is to help the two teams involved operate much more efficiently together.</p>
virtualreality  augmentedreality  mercedes 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Pokémon Go will make you crave augmented reality • The New Yorker
Om Malik:
<p>Open the app and, pretty much wherever you are, you could be alerted that there is a Pokémon in the vicinity. The other day, I had some time to spare at the San Francisco airport, so I started looking. An animated version of Google Maps popped up on my screen, along with indications that there might be Pokémon around. The more you move around, the more creatures you find. I found only one, but I got a good workout. More important, the game made me happy; it had served a real function.

The technology to make this happen is something we haven’t seen applied before in gaming. Whereas a typical massively multiplayer online game is decentralized among different servers and players, Niantic wanted to create a single source for its game. This requires extraordinary computing power and a fundamental rethinking of how gaming software is written. If a system is fragmented, all users might not be getting new information at the exact same time. Financial-trading systems also run on a single source, because everyone needs to know the correct price of a stock at the same time. “Since everything is changing constantly, this is more like a real-time financial system,” Hanke said, pointing out that the usage on Niantic’s system was “a lot, even by Google standards.”

Hanke has long been interested in mapping and the interplay of our physical and digital worlds. He was the founder of Keyhole, a startup that was acquired by Google and renamed Google Earth. During our conversation, he pointed out that Google Earth was made possible by a convergence of digital photography, broadband networks, mapping, and the small near-Earth satellites that emerged around that time. Augmented reality, he said, is on a similar track—powerful smartphones, faster and more robust networks, a new generation of computer infrastructure, and data collection are all converging.</p>

It's the last point that's most important: we're hitting a new inflection point because of the confluence of all these things becoming available. Pokemon Go (indifferent though I am to the game itself) looks like an iPhone moment for AR: many have done it before, but none in a way that grabs such huge attention as to make everything before look poorly worked out.
augmentedreality  pokemon 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Magic Leap: a new morning » YouTube
<p>Welcome to a new way to start your day. Shot directly through Magic Leap technology on April 8, 2016 without use of special effects or compositing.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>

I watched this, and immediately I thought "yup, I've seen that thing where notifications you'd rather deal with on your phone are shown to you floating in mid-air. What was it? Oh, I know..."
magicleap  augmentedreality  mixedreality 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
HoloLens: still magical, but with the ugly taint of reality » Ars Technica
Peter Bright:
The picture quality and 3D effects remain stunning. The imagery (we still don't really know if it's true holograms, and I still assume it's just stereoscopic imagery instead) is bright, the resolution seems sufficient, and the opacity of the image meant that it could substantially occlude things behind it.

Everything about the HoloLens experience is nailed. Except for one thing. The field of view was narrow. Very narrow. In both the horizontal and the vertical directions. You have this glorious 3D augmented reality experience... but only with your eyes looking straight ahead.

And it's not just me; I talked to other journalists who'd been at the January preview, and they had the same experience. The January prototypes didn't fill your entire field of view. The edges of the "screen" were visible. But they weren't this tight. I could look around a bit and still see the holograms. This time around, I couldn't.

I don't know why. It's possible that there are trade-offs being made to ensure performance is acceptable or that there's enough peripheral vision even if the entire screen is obscured. It's possible that my experience with the old device gave a wider field of view than it should have, due to the poor fit of the device; it was pressed close to my glasses, so probably seemed a little larger than it should have.
hololens  augmentedreality  virtualreality 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Magic Leap and HoloLens demos show augmented reality challenges » MIT Technology Review
Rachel Metz has previously tried Magic Leap's AR system; now she's trying Microsoft's Hololens in its prototype stage:
I was not blown away by what I saw in Redmond. The holograms looked great in a couple of instances, such as when I peered at the underside of a rock on a reconstruction of the surface of Mars, created with data from the Curiosity rover. More often, though, images appeared distractingly transparent and not nearly as crisp as the creatures Magic Leap showed me some months before. What’s more, the relatively narrow viewing area in front of my face meant the 3-D imagery seen through HoloLens was often interrupted by glimpses of the unenhanced world on the periphery. The headset also wasn’t closed off to the world around me, so I still had my natural peripheral vision of the unenhanced room. This was okay when looking at smaller or farther-away 3-D images, like an underwater scene I was shown during my first demo, or while moving around to inspect images close-up from different angles. The illusion got screwed up, though, when it came to looking at something larger than my field of view.+

Microsoft is also still working on packing everything into the HoloLens form it has promised. Unlike the untethered headset that the company demonstrated in January, the device I tried was unwieldy and unfinished: it had see-through lenses attached to a heavy mass of electronics and plastic straps, tethered to a softly whirring rectangular box (Microsoft’s holographic processing unit) that I had to wear around my neck and to a nearby computer.
ar  augmentedreality  microsoft  hololens 
march 2015 by charlesarthur
Apple needs a Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality competitor >> Business Insider
Dave Smith:
By all accounts, it sounds like augmented reality devices like these are “the next big thing.” And at this point, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Samsung, and others have invested hundreds of millions — even billions — of dollars into these new virtual and augmented reality experiences. 

Apple, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found. 

Oh no! And already millions-- well, thousands-- ok, hundreds.. er, dozens of people are using Oculus Rift, and Google has retreated on Google Glass. So where the hell is Apple in this.. race?
Last June, <a href="">I wrote about how Apple’s patent for “interactive holograms”</a> was one I wanted to see become a reality. Filed in October 2012 but published in April 2014, <a href="">Apple had created a system</a> that allows you to interact with projected images that appear to hang in mid-air, even letting you control and manipulate those virtual objects with the swipes and gestures iOS users are used to (pinch to zoom, etc.)

It’s not too late for Apple to use this patent.

Not too <em>late</em>? If anything, it's way too <em>early</em> for Apple to use it. It seems people don't learn the lessons of Google Wallet v Apple Pay, or Palm and RIM v the iPhone: throwing technology out there isn't enough; you need the business and experience to fit in too.
apple  augmentedreality  ar 
january 2015 by charlesarthur

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