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future of 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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@PlayOsmo Develops Fun Educational Skill Building #AR Applications for Kids

It’s great to see cool applications being developed utilizing augmented reality(AR). AR is proven to have many benefits, but the main one is it’s holography component. Multiple industries, such as production and manufacturing, implements AR to streamline workflow, as well as reduce paperwork and paper manuals when inspecting and operating equipment. AREA has in-depth documentation about this on their website. Though, one industry that is progressively adopting this technology is Education, which can be seen with applications like Quiver. What this really brings me to is Play Osmo.

Play Osmo develops educational gaming AR applications for Apple products(Ipad Mini/Air/Pro/etc.) aimed towards youth ages 4 to 12 years. Or as explained by them, “a unique gaming accessory for the Ipad that comes with games that will change the way your child plays.” Schools can even purchase their products for use in classrooms.

So what are the specifics of Osmo? When purchased, keeping in mind you own a Apple tablet, you’ll receive an starter kit, which includes an Ipad Stand, camera reflector, a set of alphabet tiles and wood tangram shapes. It is a one-time purchase with games free to download. They support languages in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, French, Italian, English and other major languages. If you’re worried your kid might accidentally break the base stand, they include a one year warranty, free repair of replacement.

Now for the games. They currently boast 8 games, covering topics such as coding, mathematics, art and business. One cool game parents will definitely find useful is Pizza Co. In order to teach most aspects of business, kids get to run their own pizza franchise. While cooking pizzas, kids learn about facial and body language, while gauging what the customer wants and getting the order right. When it comes to money, they learn basic mathematics, including fractions, to properly invest and grow their own business, essentially being their own boss.

When it comes to developing an working knowledge of computers, Osmo has a game called “Coding.” Through code blocks, kids control “Awbie,” an entertaining creature who loves strawberries. As commands are built with physical blocks, Awbie sets out on a strawberry picking adventure. The game can also be played with friends, bringing that much more fun and interactivity. As stated by Engadget, “Osmo’s blocks are like Lego for coding.”

Both schools and parents can provide entertainment and educational fun for their kids with Play Osmo’s interactive games. Besides simulating an learning environment, their product also helps young people get acquainted with immersive tech, such as Augmented Reality. You can connect with Play Osmo via Twitter @PlayOsmo.

Thanks for reading!

@Lifeliqe Utilizes Corinth Classroom’s Library of Educational Material to Merge #VR & #AR with E-Learning

How many uses are there for mixed reality? It can enhance gaming, let you become the character of a story, let you have face-to-face social interaction with your family, redefine online retail, explore tourist locations and many more unforeseen benefits yet to be discovered. Though, one thing virtual and augmented reality truly has the chance to revolutionize is the way we educate ourselves. Afterall, two-thirds of the population learn best through visuals.

This is exactly what Lifeliqe has been achieving through leveraging mixed reality. But before we talk about Lifeliqe, we must talk about their sister company, Corinth Classroom. Corinth is a start-up based in Czech Republic, who specializes in e-Learning materials. Their immense catalog of educational content related to Biology and Geology follows U.S. Standards for Education, with their materials backed by Stanford, University of California, Charles University, University of Tennessee and other experts of related fields.

After over 4 years of building an interactive archive suited for individuals and school systems, Lifeliqe was founded to accommodate the e-Learning materials in a much more visually appealing interactive platform. The platform is currently guided by co-founders, Ondrej Homola(Chief Executive Officer), Mark Andersen(VP of Marketing), Daniel Sklar(VP of R&D) and Daniel Capek(Chief Technology Officer). As mixed reality surpasses conventional media in terms of usage, they understand there is going to be a demand for immersive e-Learning materials.

Lifeliqe can bring multi-layered educational 3D models into the classroom… literally. As stated already, most people on Earth are visual learners, and it is proven that VR increases information retention, since people can actually interact with what they are learning about. Being able to get up close to a stegosaurus, while being able to expand additional information about the dinosaur, proves to be much more engaging and stimulating than listening to a lecture or reading a book.

Essentially their educational platform is great for teachers to retain students attention and parents wanting a fun and benefiting way to entertain their kids. Their app also features Spanish translation and sharing capabilities. The developers even talk about Lifeliqe being a way to create your own educational videos with their library of 3D models. To continue to enhance their interactive learning platform, they’ve teamed up with HTC Vive, which will definitely be something to look forward to. You can connect with Lifeliqe via Twitter @Lifeliqe.

Thanks for reading!

@IGreet_Co Cards Specializes in Animated Augmented Cards for all Seasons and Occassions

igreet-logo

Many leading developers and enthusiast in the mixed reality arena are predicting Augmented Reality(AR) to be the dominating immersive interface sometime in the future. One possible reason for this belief is simple, it will allow digitally interacting with the natural world a lot more seamless.

Imagine having AR glasses that would take place of having to fidget with your phone, which frees up your hands for other things while checking through your message with the swiping of your eyes or sound of your voice. Or how about bringing inanimate objects, such as cards to life.

This is exactly what IGreet Cards is providing. IGreet is an Bulgarian company that specializes in animating cards through augmented reality. By downloading their app and putting the card in screen’s view, you can view unique animations from various cards. Cards can be ordered through their app, which then you can pick up at your nearest Walgreens or through online the store, Zazzle.

They offer a range of interactive cards, including Love cards, Thank You cards, Congratulation cards, Christmas cards, Birthday cards, Baby cards, etc. IGreet also host various contests for design artists to join, such as the Easter & Flower’s Day Contest(April 2016) and Love Design Contest (February 2016). Their latest contest involved the Summer season, in which people can submit photos or videos of their best Summer experience, in order to win a AR card tailored for the winner.

If you want to add a little spark to the cards you give to your friends and family, definitely check out IGreet’s selection of cards. You can also connect with IGreet via Twitter @IGreet_co.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on augmented greeting cards 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.

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.

Escapist Games Develope Star Chart for Augmented Reality Stargazing

Escapist games is comprised of industry veterans previously employed by Electronic Arts. They work with independent developers, as well as create their own games. This includes Mountain Biker, Jumpfight, AtomHex and Platypus. On top of that, Escapist Games has entered the augmented reality space with Star Chart.

Star chart is an impressive app that lets you “explore the Solar System in a profound, beautiful and accurate real-time simulation.” You have a direct real-time view of the stars from planet Earth and a artful view of all 88 constellations, based on the artwork of the 17th century Johannes Hevelius.

The app has been downloaded over 20 million times on Android, iOS, Windows and other mobile platform since it’s release. Star Chart is powered by ” GPS technology, an accurate 3D universe and high tech mobile processors.” Escapist Games also teamed up with Google to integrate Star Chart into Google Glass.

One great feature, is that the app can be voice controlled. You want to know where Neptune is say “Look at Neptune.” If you want a closer look at Saturn, simply say “Take me to Saturn.” Through utilizing voice-control and augmented reality capabilities, Star Chart is a truly unique experience that you have to see for yourself.

Image Metrics: Pioneer in Facial Recognition Technology Utilized in Virtual and Augmented Reality Applications

Image Metrics is a pioneering augmented reality company, founded in January 2000 by a team of computer scientists in Research & Development. With over 60 years in combined experience and 6 patents, they specialize in “breakthrough technologies based on computer vision, facial analysis and facial recognition.” Their proprietary software is able to, in real-time, recognize human facial expressions and emotions “with nothing more than a camera on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.”

Image Metrics team consists of Ron Ryder (Chief Executive Officer), Dr. Kevin Walker (Chief Technical Officer), Nick Ramsay (Vice President of Production), Dr. Mike Rogers (Vice President of Research). The board consists of Dave Rolston (Chairman), Pete Norris (Director) and Ranjeet Bhatia (Director). Through their dedicated efforts and collaboration with one another, they were able to provide sophisticated software to both elite expert animators and interested companies.

Image metrics has a long history, stretching back at the beginning of the Twentieth-first century. One of their early adopters was Sony Computer Entertainment of America. They utilized Image Metrics technology in the game “The Getaway,” in 2002. Since then, over 40 AAA titles, such as Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach and GTA IV have took advantage of Image Metrics facial recognition technology. They’ve also developed FaceWare to continue assisting animators in developing photo-realistic human features for production.

Optasia Medical was created from Image Metrics core computer vision technology, To aid physicians in the medical industry. “Optasia Medical aids physicians in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.” For people who like wearing face-paint, Image Metrics collaborated with companies (such as Nissan)  to create augmented reality face-paint masks. If you are a sports fanatic, you can use your phones camera to overlay digital face-paint of your favorite sports team on your face to share on your Twitter or Facebook.

They continue to offer and enhance their proprietary AR tech to assist developers in creating photo-realistic animations through facial recognition. You can partner up with them and check out what they are all about on their website. With the unparalleled software Image Metrics has to offer, it is no doubt they are a pioneer in the emerging virtual and augmented reality industry.

FaceShift: Pioneer in Facial Expression Capture Technology

FaceShift was originally a start-up based in Zurich, Switzerland. They created a software studio, which “is a facial motion capture software solution which revolutionizes facial animation.” Essentially the expressions and nuances created by a human or animal face can be mimicked by a digital avatar. This includes “a mixture of basic expressions, plus head orientation, and eye gaze.” This being one of the reasons why Apple acquired it in 2015.

Though what other implications or functions can this software provide, besides making digital faces more human. FaceShift’s software’s ability to capture the human facial expressions in it’s entirety, means applications can be created to understand the emotional level of people during conversations or any other human activity.

This will allow people with social dysfunctions or autism to become independent during human interaction. Having a app that can tell whether someone is upset with you or is very interested in what you have to say, can provide a profound way in how people in general understand each other. Let’s face it, though most of us believe we can read people, some of us are just not that good at it. This is another situation FaceShift can assist in.

Developers or people interested in seeing how their solution works can view their documents (while it is still up) and learn more about FaceShift’s studio. Unfortunately for because of the brief demos released and Apples acquirement of this significant company, we’ll have to wait until more apps are released displaying FaceShift’s pioneering software that captures the human face.

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