Post Christmas Linkfest

I hope you’ve all have been nice kids during the last year, because here’s a bag of links for you:

I have frequently lashed out at gimmicky usage of augmented reality in ad campaigns. However, the next campaign by German agency brand.david powered by Junaio gets only praises from me. First, it’s for a good cause – bringing the subject of domestic violence to light. It also seems to use AR very effectively:

happy new year!

Weekly Linkfest

First, and foremost, I owe an apology to Total Immersion which I criticized for having an invitation only event (AR-Immersion). They have kindly reminded me that their event is free of charge, unlike other similar events. Anyway, you can ask for an invitation here.

Now that this is behind us, here are other things that happened in the AR-sphere:

This week’s video proves that augmented reality can be annoying at times, like a virtual fly you can shake off. Created by Michele Cirulli, this was apparently a video installation at the Live Performers Meeting this year.

Have an excellent week!

10 Cool Things Going On Right Now in Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has come a long way in a years time.  Last year I got excited by research projects and gimmicky AR webcam advertising, but that quickly faded on the tenth plus iteration.  It wasn’t until July that we starting having real AR products in the form of apps.  Nearly a year later and still early in the development of the AR ecosystem, we’re seeing a more diverse use of the technology and that has me excited again.  So I want to take a moment to go over ten cool things going on right now in augmented reality.

1. Battle of the AR Browsers

Wikitude, Layar, Tonchidot, Junaio, TagWhat and others hope to be the standard for the AR browser market.  Layar has recently upped the ante with an AR content store and TagWhat takes it in a new direction by combining lessons learned with Foursquare and Twitter.  I suspect one of the big boys like Google, Twitter or Facebook will eventually either create their own or co-opt the ideas from these early browsers into their current products.  I’m not sure which horse to bet on in this race, but in the end we customers are the winners.

2. DIY Portable Augmented Reality Headset

Using an Eye-Trek video headset, the guy at Tailormadetoys made a pair of AR glasses.  I love the DIY culture and while they’re not see-through, I think all the right parts to make one are out there.  This post from Team Hack-a-Day proves that the DIY makers are getting close, so why can’t one of the big makers get it done?

3. The AR phone – Ouidoo

The specs on this Ouidoo QderoPateo smartphone are in the WTF!? zone.  While the phone won’t be out until the fall, the company claims it’ll have a 26-core CPU capable of 8-gigaflop floating point operations and include  512MB RAM, 4GB ROM, 28GB of built-in storage, microSD expansion, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, built-in 3D map, accelerometer, digital compass, 5-megapixel camera with flash, 220 hours of standby battery life, and a sharp 3.5-inch 800 x 480 screen.  Whew.

While I’m not completely believing the hype, and it could end up being vaporware, it certainly looks promising.  Though it’ll have to work hard to compete with the likes of the iPhone and Droid.

4. Eyeborg

Bionic eyes and augmented reality.  It’s like peanut better and chocolate!  Rob Spence is putting a camera into his eye to make movies with (and because its just plain cool.)  And he’s also interested in combining augmented reality with his eye camera.  They’ve come up with a promotional AR eyeborg t-shirt in the meantime.

Eyeborg’s New AR shirt in action!

5. ARE2010

Bruce Sterling, Will Wright, Marco Tempest, and the list goes on.  It pains me to say that I won’t be able to make the inaugural event.  I had a work conflict with that week, so I have to bow out of hosting the panel on AR glasses.  But for the rest of you, I hope you’ll be able to make it.  With AR on the rise and viable business options a-plenty, it’s a good time to network and see what everyone is doing with the nascent technology.  This is the “can’t miss” AR event of the year.

6. ARWave

Our favorite interviewer Tish Shute and longtime commenter Thomas Wrobel have been sheparding the AR Wave project and collaborating with people all over the globe.  While it’s still too early to tell, this could end up being one of the most important AR developments out there if they can truly create an open source way of using AR.  As they’ve been telling everyone, they’re trying to make a system that:

* Anyone can make content

* Anyone can make a browser

* Anyone can run a server

7. iPhone OS4.0

It almost pains me to get excited about an iPhone update that promises video access to make real AR work on that smartphone.  We got fooled last September with the OS3.1.  I’m hoping we don’t get fooled again (unless you’re the Who.)

8. Haptic AR floors

I’m not even entirely sure if haptic floors fit into the augmented reality spectrum, but it’s so crazy weird and true, that I had to include it.  I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing a commercial product anytime soon though (or ever.)

9. AR Drone

While the news on the AR drone is a stale few months old, I still think it warrants inclusion because it was a great product.  The hovercraft alone was worth the price of admission, but the AR added a creative twist to it.  I have no idea if it sold well, but it sure did capture the imaginations of a lot of geeks.

10. You choose!

Let us know what you think is the coolest thing going in augmented reality right now.  Whether it’s a product only hinted at or one currently residing on your smartphone, we’d like to hear it.  So let us know here at Games Alfresco in the comment section!

Augmented Reality at the Mobile World Congress

Next week, February 15-18th, will be the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  There will be a variety of AR related events during the MWC.

AR Showcase

Christine Perey has organized an AR Showcase on Wednesday, February 17th from 5:00-7:00, so AR companies can demonstrate their services and products to customers.  Designers will also have a chance to compare and contrast their products versus the competition.  The following companies have confirmed their attendance:

You can find the Showcase in the northeast corner of the courtyard.  Announcements for the AR showcase can be tweeted to #arshow (changed for length.)

The Mobile AR Summit is an invitation only event.  If you’re interested in joining, please contact Christine Perey at cperey@perey.com.    More information can be found here.

Other Related Events

Navteq Challenge
Sunday, 14.2.2010
Poble Espanyol, City Hall.
Wikitude Drive is an Augmented Reality navigation system. They are one of the 10 finalists at this years Navteq Challenge.

http://www.nn4d.com/site/global/market/lbs_challenge/about/emea/home/p_home.jsp
Mobile Premier Award in Innovation
Monday, 15.2., 2010 15:00 to 20:00
Petit Palau of Palau de la Musica
Mobilizy is with Wikitude one of the 20 finalists of the “Mobile Premier Award in Innovation”.
http://www.mobilepremierawards.com/
Martin Lechner, CTO Mobilizy, will present.

AR Summit

Wednesday, 17.2. 13:00 to 19:00
Location: to be announced.
Mobilizy CTO Martin Lechner presents a position paper “ARML an Augmented Reality Standard”. ARML is currently being reviewed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). At 17:00 there will be a Wikitude Showcase presentation.

We won’t be able to attend – so if you’re there – keep us updated about your experience.


Who Should Attend The Augmented Reality Event in Santa Clara, CA June 2nd & 3rd, 2010

Over the last 2 years we have seen growing interest in Augmented Reality in various events – panels, dev camps, meetups – and many more. Due to growing demand for knowledge and expertise in augmented reality (AR), a group of AR industry insiders, backed by the AR Consortium have put together the first commercial event dedicated to advance the business of augmented reality.

How is are2010 different from ISMAR…

…previously touted here as the “World’s best Augmented Reality event”?

Well, ISMAR is still the best AR event for the scientific community. If you want to learn about (or present) the latest advancements in AR research – you should be in Seoul this October for ISMAR 2010. However, for the rest of us, who wish to take advantage of AR in practice, in the commercial world, and build a business around it – there was a gaping hole.

That is, until now.

Meet the Augmented Reality Event.

Who’s this event for?

For established and start up AR companies -

For established and start up AR companies (such as Total Immersion, Metaio, Acrossair, Ogmento, Circ.us, Mobilizy, Layar, Zugara, Neogence, whurleyvision, Chaotic Moon Studios, and many more) – are2010 is a stage to showcase their products and services; a venue to form partnerships, learn about latest innovations, and most importantly speak with clients. Bruno Uzzan, CEO of Total Immersion will wow the audience with a cutting edge augmented reality show; Peter Meier, CTO of Metaio, will speak about his companies latest products. Early stage startups and individual developers will receive guidance from Cole Van Nice (Chart Venture Partners) for how to build a successful company in the AR space, including raising funding (from VCs that actually invest in AR), licensing technology and IP, legal aspects, forging partnerships, etc. Christine Perey will speak about the scope of the mobile AR industry today and it’s growth trajectory.

For Developers -

For developers, are2010 is a window into the latest AR algorithms, engines and programming tools. Learn from case studies and post mortems delivered by experienced developers from the leading companies in the space. Blair MacIntyre, director of the GVU Center’s Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, will speak about his experience with tools and technologies while developing augmented reality games. Daniel Wagner, one of the leading mobile AR researchers in the world, will bring developers into the wonderful world of mobile AR. Patrick O’Shaughnessey, which has lead the development of more webcam-based AR campaigns than anyone else I know – will share his knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Mike Liebhold, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future , will speak about Technology foundations of an Open ARweb. Gene Becker, co-founder of AR DevCamp, will dive into augmented reality and ubiquitous computing, and Sean White, a pioneer in Green Tech AR will suggest concrete examples of how AR can help save the planet

For Mobile, Hardware, and Platform Companies

For Mobile, Hardware, and Platform companies (such as Vuzix, Nokia, Qualcomm, Intel, QderoPateo, Microsoft, Google, Apple etc.) are2010 consists of a captive audience to launch and showcase their latest devices, processors, AR glasses, sensors, etc. The best collective minds of the AR commercial world will be onsite to articulate the market demand characteristics and help influence the design of future hardware.

For Clients and Agencies -

For clients and agencies in entertainment, media, publishing, education, healthcare, government, tourism, and many more – are2010 offers everything you need to know about AR: how to leverage augmented reality to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers, and how to build successful campaigns and products that will delight users, including postmortems of landmark augmented reality projects.

Jarrell Pair, CTO and a founder of LP33.tv, will speak about “Augmented Reality in Music Entertainment: Then and Now”, Brian Selzer, co-founder and President of Ogmento, will deliver a crash course for clients and agencies about how to leverage AR in marketing campaigns. Marshal Kirkpatrick, lead blogger for ReadWriteWeb, will share the results of his AR survey collecting feedback from dozens of AR developers and their experience in delivering AR campaigns and apps. Kent Demain, designer of the visual effects in Minority Report, will open our minds with the talk: “Taking Hollywood visual effects spectacle out of the theatre and into your world”. And of course…

For any AR Enthusiast -

Are you an AR Enthusiast? If so, you’re going to feel like a kid in a candy store at ARE, with a soon-to-be unforgettable keynote by Bruce Sterling, demo gallery, exhibitors from leading companies, artists installations from AR artists such as Eric Gradman and Helen Papagiannis, and many more surprises.

If you are into Augmented Reality – are2010 is the one event you should attend this year.

Want to join the event? Early registration is now open!

Live from ISMAR 2009: Starts Today with Innovation Workshops – Mobile Augmented Reality

ISMAR 2009 is starting Today. Woo-hoo!
Looks like a true conference. Beyond the strong presence of researchers – many start ups, game developers, artists, press. The augmented reality industry is forming in front of our eyes.

Multiple interesting innovation workshops are on the agenda for today. I am joining the Mobile Magic Wand workshop.

Christine Perey kicks off the workshop with a dry definition of what Mobile AR: is a catch all Mobile AR apps, services, hardware, content  for consumers, professionals, prosumers, both indoor and outdoor.
What does a capable mobile device need to pack in order to play in the AR world?CPU 600 mhz, camera, GPS, compass, and some more goodies depending on the target application…

Today’s mobile AR users: more than a thousand and less than 1 million (90%+ on Android and iPhones)
These are early adopters, avid users of social networks, mostly located in western Europe, north America and south east Asia.

Who’s in the audience? Mobile network operators and mostly content and application developers. Dirk from Layar confirms they have shared 1000 developers keys. This is starting to look like a solid community.

Perey presents  usage scenarios that will be tackled by 4 of the AR companies on the workshop (Layar, Mobilizy, Across Air, Metaio):

1) Entertaining in teen town

2) College fresh on campus

3) Assisting a tourist

Peter Meier CTO of Metaio is first on stage (self described Dinozaurs in the AR space) starting with an introduction to Junaio: take pictures of locations and post in 3D in a physical location that are stored on a Metaio server – so that both mobile and home users could enjoy.

He bravely demos it live, posting a 3D object at the end of the room. Peter: “It’s always a hard one…we rely on a bad GPS signal…”

Peter then switches phones and starts playing a zombie game, slashing zombies hidden among the audience “I hope you are all over 18 because there is some explicit content here”…

Anyone can create Junaio enabled games using web APIs. It’s for programmers and non-programmers, it will includs marker tracking and markerless tracking.

Peter wraps up with a display of his excitement about the public awareness to AR: ” I have been explaining AR for so long now, that I am so happy with recent developments in the space.”

Markus Tripp from Mobilizy, joined the founder Philipp in the very early days of this start up (currently 10 employees).

He starts addressing the first use case: coaching a college freshman, by touting Mobilizy’s proposed markup language – ARML. It makes it easy to customize the content for the aforementioned freshman (writing XML). He describes the developer API and the architecture behind the scenes that enables the content development and user experience (including search, bookmarks, filters , etc.)

The SDK is free for developers (developers have to pay when they publish an app based on Wikitude).

Next is David Murphy from Nokia. David starts with the news: “There is more to life than Android and iPhone…”

Nokia has been in the space for a while and the underlying OS Symbian is being open sourced.
N97 is a great device for augmented reality scenarios. But there are many moe cheaper phones that can do AR.

David dives into a technical recipe of Nokia’s elaborate capabilities to address the scenarios covering: Camera. display, sensors and network.  Important considerarions include location acquisition API (compensating for inaccurate GPS signal with existing POIs), user interface (has to be flexible), networking (multiple standard protocols), and even translation to other languages support. On screen augmentation: multiple options are available such as OpenGL (though Nokia phones have no 3D acceleration in hardware.)

David wraps up with a caution: “be realistic with your applications – accuracy will be iffy…so aim to annotate building size objects. And don’t forget AR services are very power hungry – the battery is finite afterall…;)”

Last on the roundup is Chetan Damani from AcrossAir.

Established 2008, a free AR browser (planned to be released in December.) not as advanced as some of the other players so far.
Across Air browser will be completely 3D with angles and dimension. Keeping a simple user interface.

The use case: learning entertainment app. The proposal is about Dinosaurs AR with 3D animation.
AccrossAir has put together a massive back-end infrastructure that could be used for this scenario. The tool for developing the content seem well defined. AcrossAir is always there to give a hand…

Shows a video of 3D dinosaurs walking around you in a park!
(result of about 8 hours of work)

Chetan wraps up with success factors to consider for the app such as keep the UI simple, take advantage of the features, keep data dynamic (web access), and make sure the location is valuable to the app – and don’t forget to promote your feed and notify users. How much can you make out of it: you could charge $1.99 to ativate feed and rev share for advertising network, affiliate programs.

Augmented Reality in 2012

After a quick break “fluid adjustments” Jay Wright, responsible for business development at Qualcomm, comes on stage to talk about the vision of Augmented Reality for 2012. Exciting.

Jay is responsible for the commercialization of AR at Qualcomm. That’s music to my ears!

He starts with a statement: Wireless will bridge digital and the physical worlds. What deos AR have to do with it? it’s a new UI paradigm. The links get richer and richer the smarter the devices are (make sense coming from a mobile phone chip manufacturer.)

Jay sees the future of mobile AR as moving from a compass based (Wikitude, Layar) to vision-based approaches.

Some of the existing barriers for mobile AR such as limited computational power and power consumption will have to be addressed by phone manufacturers.: more MIPS (like with SnapDragon that offers 1GHz!), programmable GPUs, multimedia accelerations, and integrated chipsets (helps optimize power consumptions) , new classes of sensors with dedicated processors, new displays with higher resolution that work better in sunlight (OLED). Jay even hints at including advance gesture recognition into hardware.

Head-mounted displays – we are all waiting for see-thru displays which are aparently very difficult to achieve with today’s technology, and we need to think about new interactive and intuitive UI paradygms.

Location services accuracy will improve by fusing multiple location engines.

Batter life – AR is a very hungry for battery power, which are only advancing 8% a year. Manufacturers are looking at new simpler ways to charge devices (by dropping the wires).

Cameras – we’ll need wider field of view,fast and efficient programmatic retrieval of image frames, moving into HD etc.

Additional considerations for the future: operating systems will introduce AR specific capabilities, ubquitious WWAN broadband, smartphone peripherals, peer to peer capabilities (e.g. for games), and location aids.

Standards bodies: OGC, AR Commons (in Japan), Khronos for rendering standards (OpenGL, WebGL, OpenCL, Collada) and for image signatures: ISO (JPEG. JBIG)

Jay wraps up with a quick look out of AR platforms: they will consist (like in many instances in the past) of player and content, supported by authoring tools.

Christine touches on domains that will become infused with AR capabilities such as navigation, education, games, commerce, social media…

How will the total industry revenue in 2012 will be broken up?  AR developers for technologies and tools, corporations spending on products and services, and eventually end users will pay for premium apps and services.

Now a switch to Social Augmented Reality (AR 2.0) presented by Tobias Hollerer (along with Mark Billinghurst and Dieter Schmalstieg)

Content for AR browsers will include public sources, premium content authored by agencies, and crowd sourcing. To get a sense of the potential – in the last few weeks Tobias tracked about 3000-5000 twits a day about Augmented Reality.

Business models that could work for AR 2.0 (similar to web 2.0): ads, affiliate, pay per view for premium content.

Ways to publish content: stand alone apps (not scalable), AR browsers (is now very popular), AR widgets (more modular).

Dieter picks up the discussion and dives into user created content for social augmented reality (building on the success of  web 2.0): bottom up process of rating and tagging information by the crowds.

AR infrastructure will consist of big content providers and personal content providers.

Authoring : today is mostly happening on the desktop. In situ authoring will become more prevalent and efficient at capturing real time, location-specific information.

Dieter ends with a tongue in cheek: Google cars will not go into your bed room (to create street view like images) – so there will be a need for individuals to capture content indoors.

Mark Billinghurst comes on stage at lunch time and proposes a social experiment…”if you are hungry – go eat. If not – stay with me and listen up…”
Nobody leaves…is nobody hungry or is Mark that good?

How is the AR experience affected with AR 2.0?

AR 2.0 stages will follow the stages in social media:
1. Establishing online profiles
2. Functionality – platform for social interactivity
3. Colonization – single identity
4. Context
5. Social commerce

How do you deal with thousands of twits in your area?
The answer is of course through information filtering.

Designing for individuals is very different than designing for crowds.
Mentioning an example of Carlo Ratti from MIT – which tracks location of people over a city scale.

Mark wraps up with a bunch of remaining questions that the industry will have to tackle…

Now, off to lunch.

Stay tuned for exciting breakout sessions after lunch.

Three Comments on Wikitude’s Augmented World Trade Center

So, Mobilizy just released a new update for Wikitude, one that allows you to point your phone at ground zero and see a 3d virtual version of the Twin Towers on the phone’s screen.

  • First we should congratulate Mobilizy for intergrating 3d objects into Wikitude. That’s only two weeks after Layar made a similar move. If I understand correctly, Wikitude doesn’t let folks upload their own 3d models yet, but that’s surely not that difficult.
  • We should also congratulate Mobilizy for a smart marketing move. Yes, it’s very respectful, and I actually think that there should be such a virtual memorial. However, one cannot deny that such videos as the above create buzz, something that Wikitude’s competitors usually excel at. I can only imagine the impact of such application if they had released it last month, for 9/11.
  • I’m fascianted by how the AR illusion is completly destroyed at around 00:18, when the buildings look very small just because there’s a tree in the background. That’s not Wikitude’s fault, but it just shows us how much there’s still to be done to make AR look good.

More details at TechCrunch.

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