Metaio Announcing Mobile Augmented Reality Platform – Junaio

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Metaio, Inc. Will Launch Its Mobile Augmented Reality Platform junaio On November 2nd San Francisco, September 18th 2009 – Today, metaio officially announced the launch date of junaio, its mobile augmented reality platform. On November 2nd, the leading company in augmented reality will release a first version exclusively for the iPhone. More features will be released soon after, including capabilities on the Android and Symbian platforms. junaio will change the way we create, access and share information. By combining innovative online and mobile technologies, junaio will allow users to see location-based content through the display of a mobile device. Users can leave traces, messages or objects and visually interact with their friends or anyone else in the world. Already existing web services can be enhanced and completely new ways of interaction can be created. Whether it is social networks, multimedia content or game concepts – virtually anything can be embedded in the real world and connected to a certain place. “The possibilities are endless, we are taking the Internet outside to the real world,” says Thomas Alt, Chief Executive Officer of metaio. Seeing location-based multimedia content through the display of your mobile device is only one part of the story. “Mobile augmented reality is all about the user´s orientation. But to deliver a really useful and robust application, you have to be user oriented,” says Peter Meier, Chief Technology Officer. metaio is defining a new dimension in mobile augmented reality through incorporation of features that will allow better usability and social interaction. junaio is the result of more than six years application development in augmented reality and months of research and usability tests for mobile applications. So get ready for the ultimate Outernet experience!

For more information and updates, please refer to: www.junaio.com

Why Int13 Got in Bed with Total Immersion

Yesterday, Total Immersion (TI) and Int13 – both French augmented reality companies – announced a strategic partnership, in which Int13 would help TI cover a major gap in its product line: Mobile Augmented Reality.

A French kiss or a Russian bear hug?

Instead of guessing, we went out to speak with Stéphane Cocquereaumont, president and lead developer at In13, the mobile games boutique studio behind an AR game legend: Kweekies (“when is it coming out?”).

Ori: Congratulations Stéphane! This must be a big shift for Int13.

Stéphane: Thanks. We started discussions with TI back in April, so we knew where this was going for some time now.

Ori: What was TI’s motivation to approach Int13?

Stéphane: TI approached us because their clients kept asking for “360” solutions. While TI is strong with large installations, live shows, and PC based experiences – their mobile AR line needed a boost.

Ori: …and what about Int13? You had it going as an independent studio with Kweekies, first on Nokia and then on the iPhone.

Stéphane: We have been flooded with requests from marketing agencies about mobile AR campaigns. At first we tried to adress those requests, but we soon realized managing their expectations in terms of delays, pricing and capabilities of the tech posed a huge overhead, and was distracting us from our goals.

Ori: So, you decided to “outsource” the headache and focus on your product?

Stéphane: Exactly. TI will work with the marketing agencies and other players asking for quick mobile AR applications. We will offer them our tech embedded in a nice and clean SDK with a Lua API, easy to use but with limited flexibility.

Ori: You make TI happy, yet keep the full power to yourself. Make sense. What can you reveal about the business terms?

Stéphane: For TI this partnership means they have a working mobile AR SDK, with worldwide exclusive rights for two years. They pay an annual license fee, plus royalties on all the projects they deliver with our tech.

This should be a win-win partnership.

Ori (note to self): [...more of a French kiss than a Russian bear hug.]

Stéphane: We’ve also made a deal with another french company, the project will be shown during CES in January 2010; very exciting project but I can’t say anything about it for now.

Ori: Thanks for teasing us. Can’t wait to see it.

Stéphane: We’re also discussing with device makers, we’ve been to Korea last month, and we’ll release our first AR game very soon (September or October) in Korea. The game will first be available on the SKT network, on Samsung devices.

Ori: Wow. You’re unstoppable.

Stéphane: Wait, there’s more – we’ll soon publish a preview video of ARDefender; it’s a simple game to help players discovers the capabilities of AR.

Ori: Fantastic. And when will we be able to finally play the legendary Kweekies?

Stéphane: Kweekies is delayed…too many other projects on the plate for our small team. We still intend to release it by Christmas – though we can’t promise…
Ori: Awww…that’s a downer…any good news to close with a positive note?

Stéphane: Yes, I got something for you – we’ll soon reveal a new demo of ARWiz 2, the next iteration of our AR tech, faster and much more robust.

Ori: That’s a great comeback. Thanks for sharing the story behind the scenes, Stéphane.

And all the best for Int13 and TI in your new (in bed) relationship.

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Augmented Reality Game Wins Best Mobile Game

We have a winner.

Nokia just announced the winner of its Mobile Game Innovation Challenge. And it’s all…augmented.

I believe the first to break the news was the Earth Times.

In our previous coverage of the competition, we spotted 6 out of the top 10 finalists as augmented reality games. It was a good day.

Kudos to Different Game studio and their creation: Ghostwire, an augmented reality game where players can use the camera on their mobile device to find ghosts.

Just in time for Halloween. How felicitous. Arg…

Different Game is walking away 40,000 EUR richer. Back to Sweden to complete the game and make it a mega success.

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Update: Stephan from Int13 unearthed the trailer of Ghostwire, and he claims it isn’t a real augmented reality game because it doesn’t register in 3d.

He’s right. But is the experience breaking away from traditional virtual games and encouraging the player to explore reality?

See for yourself in this clip. Or read an interview with creator Tom Soderlund on PoketGamer

Nintendo DS Wants to Augmented your Reality

Rumors about a new device that could enter the Augmented Reality game were confirmed yesterday by Nikkei Net. Wired revealed it to the rest of us – thank you very much. The new Nintendo DS model will launch this year in Japan.

What’s all the rage?

One of the most popular mobile game devices ever, now with a camera, better wireless capabilities, and a larger display – all packaged under $200?

Sounds like a killer augmented reality device to me.

Game devices such as the DS made it to the #6 spot on my “10 Best Augmented Reality Devices” review:

“But here’s the caveat: PSP and the DS need to be complemented with accessories such as camera, as well as accelerometers, positioning and ubiquitous connectivity capabilities – to be able to play in this game.”

Well, Nintendo is racing forward towards the fifth position (MIDs), leaving Sony in the rear view mirror.

Nikkei does point out that the camera function of DS could be integrated with gameplay, by allowing games to use the photos taken with the hardware.

Here’s your confirmation. Augmented Reality applications can be built for the next DS. Who’s going to take up the challenge?

On a related note, Gizmondo is serious about making a come back; like the phoenix, it’s rising from the ashes and promises to hit the stores this Winter.

It’s going to be a hot winter.

Live from ISMAR ’08: Is Augmented Reality at Work Better than Reality Itself ?

Bruce Thomas introduces the afternoon session at ISMAR ’08 focusing on user studies in industrial augmented reality.

First is Johannes Tuemler which will talk about Mobile Augmented Reality in Industrial Applications: Approaches for Solution of User-Related Issues.

The study looks at psychological and ergonomic factors in augmented reality usage and create a requirements catalog for mobile AR assistance systems in diverse scenarios. This was a collaboration with Volkswagen, Ergonomics department in Ott-von-Wolfsburg,  Perception Psychology from Weymar University, and Information technology by the Fraunhofer Institute.

The reference scenario chosen was “AR picking”, where subjects would work for a couple of hours of picking items from shelves using a mobile AR device. The users reported no rise of stress level with an AR system compared with no AR (except for some visual discomfort). Since the AR system was less than optimal, the research may point to the fact that with a better AR system the stress level of workers – compared with no AR system – could be reduced!

~~~

As a direct follow up to the first study, Bjoern Schwerdtfeger comes on stage to describe the results of an Order Picking with AR work.

Traditionally the system includes a print out with instructions of what items to pick from bins on shelving.

How can an AR system help improve the performance of such an activity?

Glasstron by Nomad

They looked at mulitple visualization options: Frame tunnel, Rings tunnel, and 3D Arrow.

The results showed that the frame visualization was more efficient than the arrow. It’s not clear whether the rings visualization is superior.

~~~

Final speaker for this session is Gerhard Schall from Graz University to discuss Virtual Redlining for Civil Engineering in Real Environments.

What is virtual redlining? Virtually annotation paper maps or 2d digital information systems (mostly for the utility sector). This process helps significantly in the workflows associated with network planning or inspection.

The process involved mapping of 2D geographical data with 3D models of buildings and underground infrastructure. The tool developed allows for collaboration, inspection, and annotation.

Results of the usage study confirms that the AR system has significant advantage in civil engineering – in this redlining scenario. The color coding was important, as well as the digital terrain model.

Question from the audience: where do you get the 3D modeling of the piping?

Answer: Some utility companies have started to map the underground infrastructure. But in most cases we create it based on 2D maps which is only an approximation.

And that concludes the Industrial user studies session. See you next at the last session of the event: Rendering and Scene Acquisition, leading to the grand finale with the award ceremony for the winner of the Tracking Competition.

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From ISMAR Program:

User studies in Industrial AR

  • Mobile Augmented Reality in Industrial Applications: Approaches for Solution of User-Related Issues
    Johannes Tuemler, Ruediger Mecke, Michael Schenk, Anke Huckauf, Fabian Doil, Georg Paul, Eberhard A. Pfister, Irina Boeckelmann, Anja Roggentin
  • Supporting Order Picking with AR
    Bjoern Schwerdtfeger, Gudrun Klinker
  • Virtual Redlining for Civil Engineering in Real Environments
    Gerhard Schall, Erick Mendez, Dieter Schmalstieg
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