Another rapidly rising trend I learnt more about at Cannes is Augmented Reality, or AR as techies often calls it.For example, at the Lions, they had a second-screen app that added an AR tour to the Cannes Lions Press Exhibition. By scanning the ads on display, visitors could augment the ads and hear what the creative directors had to say about their work. Cool and functional.
Archive for the ‘Augmented Reality innovation’ Category
“Gaming and entertainment is going to be critical” for HoloLens, said Xbox boss Phil Spencer. Microsoft considers HoloLens as a massive platform for games that will be built across Xbox One and Windows 10.
“We see this as a full Windows 10 device with holographic capability,” added Spencer, who also mentioned that the HoloLens APIs will be made available with Windows 10 gaming SDK.
As far as what we’ll end up seeing available on HoloLens through the Xbox One, it’s anyone’s guess. However, Spencer did make it clear that some hefty first-party muscle is behind the initiative. It’s very possible that we could see the likes of Master Chief through the AR headset in the future.
Microsoft has a vision for the future, and it involves terms and technology straight out of science fiction.
But are we actually glimpsing that future? Yes and no.
Microsoft’s HoloLens, which the company unveiled at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Wednesday, is a sleek, flashy headset with transparent lenses. You can see the world around you, but suddenly that world is transformed — with 3D objects floating in midair, virtual screens on the wall and your living room covered in virtual characters running amok.
Technology companies have long promised to bring us the future now, reaching ahead 5 or 10 years to try to amaze consumers with the next big breakthrough. Hollywood, on the other hand, has shown that tech in action (or at least simulations of it).
In “Minority Report,” for instance, Tom Cruise’s character used sweeping, midair hand gestures and transparent screens to do police work. Five years later, Apple unveiled the iPhone, and with it, a touchscreen operated by hand and finger gestures. Microsoft in turn served up its Kinect gesture-control device, which tracks people’s movements through space and feeds the data into an interface.
Going further, “The Matrix” showed hackers plugging computers into people’s brains to transport them to imaginary cities. And in “Star Trek,” computers used energy fields and visual tricks to create worlds people could touch and feel.
We’re not even close to those scenarios yet, but we’re taking tiny steps in that direction. Companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are now attempting to move that fiction toward reality, and the public is beginning to see those visions of tomorrow take form.
So how does the HoloLens measure up against other reality-altering gadgets?
What’s a HoloLens, and how does it work?
Microsoft’s HoloLens is not actually producing 3D images that everyone can see; this isn’t “Star Trek.”
Instead of everyone walking into a room made to reproduce 3D images, Microsoft’s goggles show images only the wearer can see. Everyone else will just think you’re wearing goofy-looking glasses.
Another key thing about HoloLens is what Microsoft is trying to accomplish.
The company is not trying to transport you to a different world, but rather bring the wonders of a computer directly to the one you’re living in. Microsoft is overlaying images and objects onto our living rooms.
As a HoloLens wearer, you’ll still see the real world in front of you. You can walk around and talk to others without worrying about bumping into walls.
The goggles will track your movements, watch your gaze and transform what you see by blasting light at your eyes (it doesn’t hurt). Because the device tracks where you are, you can use hand gestures — right now it’s only a midair click by raising and lowering your finger — to interact with the 3D images.
There’s a whole bunch of other hardware that’s designed to help the HoloLens’ effects feel believable. The device has a plethora of sensors to sense your movements in a room and it uses this information along with layers of colored glass to create images you can interact with or investigate from different angles. Want to see the back of a virtual bike in the middle of your kitchen? Just walk to the other side of it.
The goggles also have a camera that looks at the room, so the HoloLens knows where tables, chairs and other objects are. It then uses that information to project 3D images on top of and even inside them — place virtual dynamite on your desk and you might blow a hole to see what’s inside.
Source: cNet, Techcrunch, Microsoft and many others
The Microsoft Bing team is doing more than building a search engine that competes head-to-head with Google.
Part of the team, as I’ve blogged previously, also built some of the first Microsoft-branded consumer apps for Windows 8.
But it turns out there’s another team inside the Bing organization that is working on Windows 8 apps, too. There’s an Augmented Reality (AR) team inside Bing that is building both an AR framework and AR applications that will ship on Windows 8 tablets and other unspecified devices.
In keeping with Microsoft’s new charter as a devices and services company, the so-called “Bing Information Platform team” is in the midst of developing “next-generation of intelligent cloud services for developers on all screen sizes,” according to a couple of job openings posted on Microsoft’s site.
This AR-focused Bing team is working on everything from camera tracking, to visual and audio recognition, to optical character recognition and translation and vision-based natural-user interfaces. The team already has made available some AR deliverables, including the Bing translation app, augmented-reality-enriched Bing Maps, and the Bing Vision and Bing Audio technologies in Windows Phone.
But the Bing AR team — which is staffing up further — also is working on an AR software development kit (SDK) for third-party developers interested in buildng AR apps; Microsoft-developed and -branded AR apps and games using this SDK; and a Windows Azure-based cloud framework for supporting both the Microsoft- and third-party AR apps.
The AR focus inside Bing shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given that Microsoft moved many of those working on its defunct Live Labs team into Bing a couple of years back. The Bing unit also is home to Microsoft’s TellMe and other speech-centric products.
It will be interesting to see what kind of AR apps for Windows 8 the Bing Information Platform team builds out. Will any of these apps be optimized for the AR glasses — codenamed Fortaleza, and targeted for delivery in 2014 according to a Microsoft futures deck that leaked earlier this year — upon which Microsoft’s Xbox team is believed to be working?
Our host calls what we do “PR in 3D” and in some cases he’s not so far off. Augmented reality does have great impact on PR if you look at it from the perspective that every location, every person, every object has digital information linked to it. If it’s social information, digitised historical information or any other information for that matter. All will become visual when using augmented reality and that can effect a reputation in real time!
For now we use our phones as “augmented viewers” but augmented car windows, glasses and mirrors will be very common in the near future.
Amsterdam based agency TAB Worldmedia, known for their mobile augmented reality productions for Walt Disney, National Geographic, Canon and family park Efteling, launches a new generation of mobile apps aimed at the marketing and communication industry. These new generation apps, standard with integrated augmented reality technique, make them very natural to integrate as part of sales promotions, loyalty programmes and social media in combination with print campaigns.
On another note… our business partner Metaio shares their skills and future projects through this fantastic video.
Eleven partners from the German automotive industry join forces to explore innovative technologies and concepts for boosting energy efficiency in vehicles. Firstly, cars are to become “intelligent” and, for example, use knowledge of the planned route to develop proactive operating strategies designed to save energy and, based on this, initiate appropriate responses in good time on the part of the car or driver. Secondly, the vehicle power supply and associated components are to be specifically tailored to the possibilities of these intelligent operating strategies. The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology (BMBF) and supervised by the VDI TZ.
An exiting day for the Layar team today as the company will announce, as they are calling it them selves, its biggest launch yet. Of course insiders to the company already know what’s coming but for the public and the print publishing industry this new product, service or brand is announced to be a business changer. As certified creation and development agency for Layar augmented reality concepts we will be following the media announcements closely.
Update: read our first review here!