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Augmented Reality

@Eyefluence is Developing Intutive Eye Tracking Technology for #VR and #AR Interfaces

When VR headsets became something tangible, something that would fool our eyes into believing we where in a different reality, the question inevitably arised, “How would we interact with these digital worlds via virtual reality?” To compliment the immersive aspect of VR headsets, there needed to immersive control input. Vive and Rift already comes with its dual motion controllers, and Neuro Digital Technologies already have an working vibrotactile haptic device, which let’s you “feel” digital environments. But what about using your eyes to input commands? This is exactly what Eyefluence has been working on.

Eyefluence was founded in year 2013 by Jim Marggraff and David Stiehr and is powered by over 25+ people. As stated by them, “At Eyefluence, we are engineering the first and only true eye-interaction technology designed to revolutionize what’s possible in AR, VR, and MR environments.” They are designing an input interface which turns intent instantaneously to action via your eyes. Their interface is designed from the beginning to be device agnostic, meaning Rift, Vive, PSVR, StarVR and OSVR wil be able to implement Eyefluence tech into their headsets.

Augmented reality headsets are already utilized by employees in major industries. What eyefluence wants to do is make workflow a lot more intuitive and hands-free. For instance, in the medical industry, surgeons can still operate on patients, while still being able to access viable information hands-free, and construction workers can access databases, blueprints and compliance files, without searching through loads of paper or carrying around a tablet, which again frees up their hands. Eyefluene tech also provides Continuous Iris ID to take place of passwords and logins, providing an more secure and intuitive connection for employees.

Virtual reality promises to transport people into worlds undiscovered and discover new places that already exist. It will revolutionize storytelling, gaming, social activities and media in general. For those who suffer nauseous experiences in VR, Eyefluence tech will minimize head movements and automatically calibrate pupils and lens distortion. In immersive social applications, your eye movements and gaze can effectively be seen by others, adding another level of “presence.”

With much breakthroughs in eye-centric input technology, Eyefluence is being acquired by Google. This partnership will definitely fast-track their developments, which will potentially improve efficiency of VR content and applications being produced. You can keep up with Eyefluence by visiting their blog or connecting via Twitter @Eyefluence.

Thanks for reading!

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@AskGreenlight Insights Provides Analytical Information About the Direction of #Virtual and #Augmented Reality Marketplace

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With mixed reality applications showing true potential for changing the way we interact with media itself, it can be daunting for companies to understand how to best utilized virtual and augmented reality for suiting their needs, whether it be brand promotion, service enhancement or just plain ol’ entertainment. Lucky for these companies, there is a research firm who can help with strategies in leveraging this enhanced media.

Greenlight Insights provides analytical data pertaining to the direction of the mixed reality(MR) marketplace. The research firm is powered by Clifton Dawson(Chief Executive Officer), Steve Marshall(Senior Vice President), Erica Bishaf(Director of Consumer Insights), Eddie Lou(Managing Director), Peter Krasilovsky(Chief Analyst) and Ben Delaney(Distinguished Analyst). Through their efforts, they create daily/weekly newsletters, thoughtful insights about attended MR conferences and customized research services.

Through their customized research, they “deliver tailored research that addresses specific business needs for a wide range of operators, vendors and industry bodies within the virtual reality industry.” Companies will gain information about market size, distribution channels, public insight(consumer surveys & focus groups), as well as strategic analysis for entering the marketplace and informative events.

They also participate in VR/AR and host webinars which explains and explores the growing immersive marketplace. You do have the opportunity to join these webinars by registering through their website. For companies that don’t necessarily want to employ a team to seek out business specific opportunities, can purchase Greenlight Insights reports, with their latest one extracting data from 1200 people, which covers attitude towards VR, attitude towards advertising, payment models and purchase intent.

Greenlight Insights has definitely made it their obligation to understand the mixed reality field, and their reports can prove to be a game-changer for most businesses seeking in-depth analysis about the direction of VR/AR and how they can benefit from it. You can stay up-to-date on their blog or via Twitter @AskGreenlight.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your take on Greenlight Insight with a comment below:)

Cubicle Ninjas Develops the Reality Bending App ‘Spectacle VR’

Augmented reality is another marketplace that has a expanding amount of content available. Some people are even counting on the AR market to surpass the value of the VR market in the next five to ten years, but that is still to be determined as more people began adopting immersive interfaces. One of the main or most talked about capabilities of augmented reality is being able to overlay holographs onto the actual environment. Truth is, tech enabling AR can literally transform the entire environment from what you’re used to visually seeing.

One great example of this is a digital product created by Cubicle Ninjas.  Cubicle Ninjas consider themselves “Creative Problem Solvers,” by creating innovative digital solutions for start-ups and established companies. Some of their clients include American Express, AutoDesk, CitiBank, Chicago Public Schools, Fox, Google, Leapfrog, Leica Biosystems, FedEX, IBM, Universal, TransUnion, Staples and Universal Studios, to name a few. Their process that has continued to create happy clients is simple yet complex, starting from discovery, to strategy and creative execution, and final delivery.

They utilized this process to create the digital app “Spectacle VR.” Even though Spectacle VR has VR in its name, it is still more of an AR app, for the mere fact that it augments what you are seeing in the actual environment, rather than completely transporting you to a virtual environment. Essentially, the app allows you to switch between different filters, which allows you to augment your environment and people in monochromatic, psychedelic, pixelated or even a fishbowl view.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why do I want to view the world in psychedelic colors?” It’s like asking, “Why do I want to wear orange-tinge shades?” Well, unlike shades, with limited filters, you can share photos of the environment you’ve distorted with your friends of or social networks. David from VRGiant even predicts “many spectacle-filtered, VR-wearing, mirror selfiers in our near future.”

Spectacle VR was built for the Gear VR, with a very intuitive interface. Through the Galaxy S7’s powerful camera, which has a reduced latency of photo/video capturing, Cubicle Ninjas was able to create hi-quality filters while being careful to avoid overheating the phone. One cool thing the app utilizes is gesture control. Besides tapping on the Gear VR to switch photos and take pictures, you can simply swipe your hand across the camera and switch between filters that way as well.

Other than producing engaging applications for their clients and creating this cool AR app, they are in the works of developing a virtual reality meditation app and exploration app of Venice. If you looking for a trusted producer of content or simply looking for cool content to discover, go ahead and visit their website for their full portfolio and services.

Zappar Provides a Streamlined Approach for Increasing Brand Engagement Through Augmented Reality

Zappar is a company based out of London, UK, which provides a streamlined solution for creating augmented reality applications. Founded in 2011, they have partnered up with leading brands, including MassFar Augmented Reality, Jumpr, Leovation and Utovertiser. As Zappar likes to put it, “Some people talk about ‘augmented reality’ but we prefer ‘zaps’ and ‘zapping’.”

The technology that powers Zappar was first created in laboratories within the University of Cambridge in England. The tech team has been improving on the coding and interface for over forty years and view themselves as “an entertainment laboratory with a collective skillset that makes for a unique type of creative tech company.”

In 2013, they introduced the Zapcode, which is a lightning bolt with barcode-like etchings encircling it. This code allows for content hidden with products, media or anything to unveil hidden content. One of the benefits for utilizing augmented reality for products is that if someone buys an do-it-yourself outdoor playset, the Zapcode will allow the amateur assembler to pull up a how-to video through the Zappar app.

Content can be created with Zapcode Creator. It utilizes a drag-and-drop approach, letting the coding behind-the-scenes do all the augmented reality transmutation process. They also provide you full control over customization through their Pro Editor. If you wanted to, you could embed the Zapcode into your own app or a tracking images, and even create widgets that pop out of the code.

Brands that have utilized Zappar’s streamlined AR approach include Rogue Magazine, Skylanders and One Direction. Rogue utilized Zappar to publicize their acquirement of Pilipino Magazine, Magnum, with the brand ambassador being zapped off the page with calls to action. Skylanders employed Zappar to bring their SWAP Force Master Eon’s Official Guide book to life. During One Directions “live” 7-hour 1D Day  event, Zapcodes popped up on the screen, giving viewers access to bonus content.

When it comes to inventing new ways for implementing augmented reality, Zappar believe in keeping people at the forefront of how AR tech will be adopted. After all, it is technology that aids people and not the other way around. You can learn more about Zappar and try their streamlined augmented reality creator free for 30 days, on their website.

Canadian Tire Enhances their 200-Hundred Page Catalog with Augmented Reality

It is no doubt that printed media, such as newspapers and magazines, are taking a backseat to digital media. Even books are being bought online than at an brick-and-mortar bookstore. This brings up a great benefit that augmented reality can provide for this diminishing media. Companies are turning to AR apps, such as Layar, to enhance printed media. One such company is Canadian Tire.

Canadian Tire was founded by brothers Alfred J. and John W. Billes in 1922. It is one of the largest North American retailers located in Canada.  If you’re living in Canada, you’re probably a fifteen minute drive from one. They provide a plethora of products, which range from home & kitchen to automotive and outdoors.

To compliment their retail experience, they’ve created the “Wow Guide.” This printed media is basically a store in a book. People can check out the latest products for their homes and outdoor uses. Since the age of the internet, which prompt people to visit online versions of brick-and-mortar stores, Canadian Tire created a digital version of their catalog.

Through their website, they of course provide the latest products in-store and can point you to one of their nearest stores for pickup. Similar to how other brick-and-mortar established stores do. As well as view their catalog.

The reason I bring up Canadian Tire, is not because of their impressive history or the major selection of products they offer, but how they are now trying to appeal to the young generations. Specifically the generation who do most of their daily activities, such as socializing, buying and researching online.

They understand that printed media has a large outreach, in terms of the amount of people who receive their 200-page catalog versus people stumbling upon their site online. But they also understand that this printed media does not provide the interactive and in-depth experience that the internet does.

In order to mediate this problem, they’ve enhanced their printed catalogs with augmented reality. Through their downloadable app, you can point your camera at an image in the catalog and it will bring up a full description, links and other related content.

As the years progress, the core customer-base for Canadian Tires will shift from traditional consumption of media to digital consumption of media. Meaning “their core target audience probably won’t be pulling their phones out to scan over the pages in this catalogue, but their future audience will, and that’s what’s important,” as stated by the CEO of Customer Lab, Jim Danahy.

Nationalpost.com has considered Canadian Tire’s  “Wow Guide” catalogue to “be the biggest leap yet by a large legacy retailer aiming to meld traditional store shopping with its emerging online business.” Now digitally-inclined people will have a reason to open up a 200-page catalog, because it will perform the same interactive functions that they are used to on the web.

This is just one company who is understanding and leveraging the benefits of augmented reality to appeal to a audience of the future. As I’ve stated before, as more and more people adapt to online connectivity, it will be important for businesses to come up with innovative marketing techniques to appeal to the audience of the future, to maintain a successful business in the future. If you’re in Canada, go ahead and download their app and check out their online digital catalog.

Cultural-Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling App utilizing Augmented Reality for Museums

The Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling (a.k.a. CHESS) is a project funded by European Commission, to provide an personalized interactive experience when attending museums and discovering artefacts. People from across Europe can create their own custom museum guide before leaving home.

As stated by European Commission, it utilizes “mobile (devices), augmented reality and geo-location technologies to turn an ordinary museum visit into a personal, interactive storytelling experience.”  I also engages younger generations in a more interactive and game-like setting when learning about the history of archaeological sites and artefacts.

The partners employed by European Commission are specialists in their respective fields, bringing the CHESS Project to fruition. DIGINEXT’s was employed for it’s Simulation and Virtual Reality Division. National Kapodistrian University of Athens was employed for it’s Department of Informatics and Telecommunications. Acropolis Museum was employed for it’s expertise in archaeology and is one of the largest museum located closest to an ancient site.

University of Nottingham was employed for their credible history as a research university and is ranked as one of the top universities in the UK. The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics was employed for their expertise in image/model-based information technology. Real Fusio was employed for their expertise in complex virtual data visualization for e-learning. And finally, Cite de l’espace (City of Space) was employed for their expertise in exhibitions and has garnered over 14 million visitors since it’s opening.

Through the collaboration of these reputable organizations and €2.8 million investment, the CHESS experience was born. Again, the app provides an enhanced interactive experience (or augmented reality) when visiting museums. People are presented with an online survey, which collects their interests. The data is then utilized by museums to create a personalized tour-guide, linking them to a virtual character representative related to their interests.

When they arrive at the museum of interest, the CHESS app initializes a story-telling adventure for the person to embark upon. As the visitor travels throughout the museum, the app “adapts the story being told according to the visitors’ individual choices, updating their profile right through the course of the story.” At the end of the story, the visitor will find a virtual souvenir (video or picture) that they encountered throughout their own tour-guided story, to be shared with their friends and family.

The project has been featured at many events, which includes Museums & Web 2015, Museums in Motion, Digital Heritage 2015, International Digital Storytelling in Times of Crisis and Innovation Convention 2014, amongst other places. It has also been implemented at the Acropolis Museum, Stedelijk Museum and ICT 2013 exhibition.

CHESS project is a great example of how augmented reality applications can provide meaningful experiences, especially in a educational setting. With this innovative app, their is no reason to visit the museum and have fun doing so. Well, at least in Europe.

Komplex Live Cinema Group’s “Komplex 28”: Surreal and Mysterious Urban Storytelling through Augmented Reality

The Komplex Live Cinema Group has pushed the boundaries of storytelling with augmented reality. They are part of the L.E.B. FILM Group, which is an Italian production company that produces media (such as film, music videos, TV commercials, etc.) for different clients. They are also partnered with ITER-RESEARCH and 2LP PRODUCTION. Mariano Equizzi, Luca Liggio and Paolo Bigazzi lead the company, as well as created the one-of-a-kind augmented reality story, “Komplex 28.”

Komplex 28 is a story that revolves around secretive, powerful organization that has infiltrated the technologies of their citizens to maintain control and power. This takes place in the urban city of Turin, Italy. It has a surreal, noir-esque feel to it, where you are essentially a detective, trying to uncover the secrets and conspiracies hidden within the city. It can be likened to the movie “They Live!”

The story itself is not told in a linear fashion, but rather forces the reader/explorer to travel to different locations to uncover pieces of the story. These pieces then come together, uncovering the truth, mysteries and corruption hidden within the city.

With the help of Aurasma’s Augmented Reality interface, they were able to bring Komplex 28 into the physical world. Aurasma is a streamlined way for creating AR applications. As stated by Mariano Equizzi, “The Aurasma platform revealed augmented reality to me and I immediately grasped its potential for a storytelling platform.” Mariano was able to stitch together the different pieces of the story, by utilizing Aurasma.

When you include the immersive nature of Komplex 28 and the surreal AR art posted across the city brings to the table a different level of storytelling. The style of art can be identified as “Monty Python meets CyberPunk and finally a stir with conspiracy theories.” Interesting dialogues of text accompany these surreal AR images, truly immersing you in the story and compelling you to play detective and learn about the conspiracies hidden within the city.

Mariano Equizzi wanted to see what boundaries he could push for storytelling when he was introduced to Augmented Reality. Deriving influences from everywhere, Komplex 28 is meant to be a experimental and experiential way of immersing people into a world within a world. Komplex 28 can be defined as abstract and surreal use of augmented reality. Komplex 28 is another example in why and how augmented reality will be adopted by the mainstream audience. Go ahead and learn more about this immersive story and the Komplex Live Cinema Group on their website.

KTMs Augmented Reality Automotive Manual

The full benefits of augmented reality has yet to be fully realized. It is still in it’s infancy, with consumer-ready headsets planning to come out in 2016 and 2017. This is the reasons why Hololens, Meta 2 and CastAR are seeking developers to create content that will experiment with different applications AR can provide to the marketplace.

One great benefit that comes to mind, is the instructional aspect of AR headsets. What I mean is, if your car gets a flat tire on the road, being able to open up an app that can provide you step-by-step instructions to do so by utilizing your camera and network access, can be a great relief. Maybe even detecting whether your brakes need changing or not, can be convenient with AR.

This is essentially what KTM (Kraftahrzueg Trunkenpolz Mattighofen) is doing to enter the mixed reality market. KTM is an Austrian company founded in 1934 by Johann Trunkenpolz. They specialize in manufacturing motorcycles and sports cars, which was initiated in 1937 with selling DKW motorcycles and Opel cars. When Johann died, the company was managed by Erich Trunkenpolz. During his time, he had 180 employees and brought in 3.5 million euros. After the death of Erich, the business was split into four different entities. KTM currently consist of a motorcycle, bicycle, radiator and tooling divisions.

In 1974, KTM won it’s first Motorcross championship. The company has also dominated events such as Atlas-Rally and Dakar Rally. Their Moto3 won the 2013 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season and “the company won a third consecutive manufacturers MotoGP title during the 2014 Moto3 season.” They also sponsor their own road racing events. KTM success and history can be read on Wikipedia, but this is to give you an idea of how credible and dedicated the company is, when it comes to creating top-notch racing vehicles.

Now they have entered the mixed reality industry, with an informative and instructional app that can scan and recognize different automotive parts. The app was created using Vuforia (game engine software acquired by Qualcomm) that can be ran on a Android OS or iOS.

ArsTechnica did an interview with Vuforia’s Vice President, Jay Wright. He explains, “You’ll notice the content appears ‘stuck’ to something. The Application has to recognize the environment or the target.” The app is essentially recognizing the automotive object, surface or image targets. Once it recognizes the part, it connects to a external network to display detailed information and related instructions regarding the part.

Their plan for this is to have an on-hand guide that overlays digital images and information on automotive parts, which allows the app user to repair or perform maintenance step-by-step. This would definitely be helpful for mechanics, giving them a much easier way to handling even the most complicated procedures, through their smartphone, tablet or AR headset. possibly by next year, you’ll find a nifty app like this, especially for changing tires or checking your oil level.

The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance: Comprehensive Guide to AR Solutions for Industrial Use

The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance(AREA) is a dedicated non-profit organization providing insight and benefits of augmented reality applications for businesses and industries. The AREA is ran by it’s members, which includes DAQRI, Electric Power Institute, Johnson & Johnson, Huawei, Atheer Labs, Bosch, The Boeing Company and continues to grow. If you own a business and interested the kind of solutions augmented reality has to offer you, you can register to become a member.

Some of the use-cases they demonstrate augmented reality to be effective in is Product Design, Assembly, Training, Marketing & Sales, and Field Service. For instance, the AREA explains AR allows low-cost process of conceptualizing and prototyping product designs without relying on 2D schematics or wasted material costs.

Augmented Reality will provide a more streamlined approach to training individuals in real-world industrial environments, with instant access to modules or policies and reducing human-error. Marketing & Sales has already seen a increase on ROI, utilizing augmented reality, for the sheer fact that customers are able to virtually try-on or instantly learn more about products of interests. The AREA goes into more detail about the different interfaces and solutions for many use-cases.

They also have scheduled events they attend, to showcase and explain the value of immersive interfaces and solutions for major industries. Their latest one, AR VR Innovate, was held on April 28th, 2016 at Dublin, Ireland. This was “a one-day conference and exposition focusing on the business aspects of Augmented and Virtual Reality.” They covered the Industrial/engineering, Marketing Communications, Tourism/events, Construction/real-estate and Gaming Markets. Director of marketing at DAQRI, Regan Wynne, was a speaker at the conference. You can see the rest of their scheduled events on their AR Community Events page.

They also provide a monthly newsletter. This ranges from topics such as, Industrial Internet of Things, Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance Webinars and the direction of AR capabilities. Past issues can be viewed on their Newsletter Archives, but you can sign up to be a member to view their future issues.

The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance is the first of it’s kind to have a extensive database, dedicated to providing industries a go-to reference area for AR and VR solutions. Since it is member-oriented, you’ll be getting feedback, insight and successful solutions from companies rooted in marketing/sales, manufacturing, product design and so forth. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and check out The AREA. Now I just need to find a website dedicated to catalogging companies bringing the augmented and virtual reality industries to life.

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