The Best of the Best in Augmented Reality Compete for Top Industry Award

Industry icons Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Will Wright and Jaron Lanier to judge “The Auggies” – at the worldʼs largest AR event.

Register Today!

SANTA CLARA, CA (April 26, 2011) – The Augmented Reality industry is getting ready to show off a new round of innovation to the technology, media, and marketing communities.  If you ever wondered about the potential of Augmented reality and wanted to check it out up close, you will be excited to know that “The Auggies” returns to the world’s largest augmented reality event, ARE 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. The second annual Auggies competition will take place at the heart of Silicon Valley as the brightest minds in the industry put on a show to impress the industry’s most iconic judges and inspire the audience packed with AR enthusiasts.

The thing I like best about ARE is personally witnessing things that never show up on the Internet. There’s a tension in Augmented Reality, between the global scope of the technology and the local character of the teams that produce it. When you’re in the room with committed, creative people — looking them in the eye, breathing the air they are breathing — that’s what makes it an “event.”

– said Bruce Sterling.

For the Auggies competition, augmented reality teams get 5 minutes each on stage and compete for the coolest live AR demo. The panel of judges provides their unabashed comments, critiques and if they are deemed worthy praise. Winners will be voted by the audience and receive the prestigious “Auggies Award.”

The Auggies is the opportunity for AR developers to unveil their vision of the future, not only in terms of technical progress, but also on how creative you can be with this technology. Winning is truly an important recognition from the AR community and it surely means you’re defying the norm and taking one step further.

– said Ivan Franco of YDreams – the 2010 Auggies winner.

Nominations for live demonstrations at the 2011 Auggies include: Previznet, Georgia Tech, Mobilizy, Whistlebox, Ogmento, Metaio, Vertigore, and Occipital.

The competition is still open for additional nominations until May 10th.

The only way to witness the yearly AR battle for the Auggies and participate in the live audience voting is to register for the ARE 2011 event. Event registration is limited and does sell out.

Special Discount for Games Alfresco Fans for ARE 2011 – an Event Packed with Augmented Reality Goodness!

The second annual Augmented Reality Event (ARE 2011) is unveiling a sneak preview of the schedule for the world’s largest event – focused exclusively on advancing the augmented reality industry.
ARE 2011 will take place in May 17th-18th at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California, and is surely a must-attend event for the Augmented Reality (AR) community, and anyone interested to learn about AR.
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Join Bruce Sterling (“the prophet” of AR) on the main stage, with Vernor Vinge (author of “Rainbows End” and “The Coming Technological Singularity”), and Will Wright (Legendary game designer of SimCity, The Sims, and Spore). Also returning from last year’s event, Blaise  Aguera Y Arcas (a leader in Microsoft’s mobile strategy), to top his Ted talk demonstrating innovations in Bing Maps and Augmented Reality. And if that’s not enough magic – Marco Tempest, the world’s most notable AR magician will stun the audience with a live augmented magic show.

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The 2 day event will feature more than 33 hours of talks running the gamut of AR essentials in 3 tracks: Business, Technology and Production:
a) BusinessFor executives of established and start-up AR companies, as well as mobile hardware companies – in search of business models and promising verticals for AR;  a venue to form partnerships, learn about latest innovations, and most importantly speak with clients.

b) TechnologyFor Developers, programmers and technologists seeking the latest and greatest engines and tools for AR; learn from case studies and post mortems delivered by experienced developers from the leading companies in the space.

c) ProductionFor Producers, designers, project managers (in gaming companies, agencies, marketers, brands, and artists) hungry for proven techniques to leverage augmented reality to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers, and build successful campaigns and products that will delight users.

For a complete list of confirmed speakers checkout the website at: ARE 2011 Speakers

If you are an AR Enthusiast – you will feel like a kid in a candy store at are2011.

Not convinced yet? Check out these special activities:
1) “Startup Launch pad” – Five AR startups present their business models and products in front of an expert panel: VCs, Entrepreneurs, and industry luminaries – hosted by a major industry powerhouse. Winner receives: “ARE Best startup prize” (to be announced.) Submit your proposal here under track: “Startup Launch Pad”.

2) “The Auggies” – Teams get 5 minutes each to present on stage and compete for the coolest live AR demo. An extraordinary trio of judges: Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, and Will Wright, will comment on the demos – American Idol-style. Winners will be determined by the audience and receive the prestigious “Auggies Award.” Submit your proposal here under the “Auggies” track.

3) ARt Gala – A display of AR art projects and live performance art by the world’s top AR artists featuring: Helen PapagiannisAmir BaradaranSander Veenhof and more to be announced. And to make sure all your senses are stimulated – drinks and food are on the house – courtesy of our sponsors.

4) ARE Press Conference – If you are planning to announce a new product or service – secure your spot in the press conference that will kick off the event. Submit your proposal here and add: “Press Conference” in the title.

5) Exhibition and Sponsorships – A small number of booths is still available in the exhibition hall ($995 for 10′x10′).Grab them while they last!

Use ORI295 – special discount for Games Alfresco’s fans and shave off $100 of the already sweet price tag of $395.

Register today for the augmented reality event!

Gonzo-Reality

The story Bruce Sterling posted up last week on his Wired blog blew my mind.  It shouldn’t have really.  But I guess I’ve been considering augmented reality and its commercial uses to be official and sanctioned.  This kind of unofficial gonzo-view of reality could go a long way.

First, if you’re too lazy to click the link and check out the article, the leak in your hometown gang have made an augmented reality view that shows the oil leak on your smartphone when you point it at any BP logo, assuming you have the proper layer pulled up.

Mark Skwarek, one of the creators, sent me an email about the project as I was writing up this post.  Here’s some of the progress they’ve made and other places talking about it.

We were featured on WIRED’s Beyond the Beyond. We have an upcoming show at Famous Accountants in Bushwick NY, Aug 7th through Sept 4th. We are showing it at the Bronx Art Space in NYC. We were featured on Turbulence’s Networked_Performance and will present on it at Upgrade! Chicago in September. We were also featured on Eyebeam’s Reblog. And we are in the upcoming Cyberarts.

This project itself seems simple and is quite ingenious.  But why stop at poking fun at the world’s current kick toy?  Pointing your smartphone at random objects and getting an individual person’s POV visual could be quite mind expanding.

An unofficial game of object-association could make great interactive art, political rhetoric, or dystopic reinforcing world-view; depending on its implementation.  Wouldn’t you like to point your smartphone at everyday objects and find out how your favorite artists or celebrities view the world?  Seeing how YoYo Ma, or the Dalai Lama or Bruce Campbell (the guy from the Evil Dead series) view the world could be liberating.  Or since our own Bruce Sterling is the Prophet of AR, one of the AR browsers could do a “Bruce Layer” and show us what kind of world he sees when he’s looking around.

Maybe if Glenn Beck was your thing, you’d have a Nazi symbol pop-up when you pointed it at an Obama sticker.  Or if you were a former Bush-hater, you could see a Stalin-esque version of the W with your smartphone.   Propaganda could be all encompassing, blotting out all but the sanctioned viewpoints.

I’m absolutely certain I wouldn’t want to see what Lady Gaga has in mind for the world.  Well.  I might take a peak for a few minutes.  Just out of curiosity.  Not like I’m a fan or anything.  Just curious.

And maybe that’s what a gonzo-reality could bring to AR.  Instead of a mirror reflecting all of our beliefs into an ever-increasing sine wave, we might be privy to alternate views to our own.  Maybe even trying out how someone else sees the world.

Maybe.

Or maybe we couldn’t handle their viewpoint.  The overstimulating rush would make our realities spin around us until we puked it back out, losing all those alternate nutrients our world views could have used to grow.

Oh well.

It’s a nice little project, anyway.

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!

The Feed – Novel and Concept Video

Back in early fall of 2009, with help from Bruce Sterling, I put together a list of augmented reality novels. I’ve added a few since the original, but further additions have been sparse (at least until I can find a publisher for my own.)

So this concept video based on the novel Feed by MT Anderson was a pleasant surprise.  And though it uses the tired trope of ubiquitous advertising invading every aspect of our lives (of course, its not a prediction, but commentary on the state of our lives), it has a dab of plot for a one minute video.  Think of it as flash fiction for the reading impaired.

If you’re interested in the novel, which I’ll probably take a crack at reading, here’s the jist from the Great Wiki:

Feed (2002) is a dystopian novel of the postcyberpunk genre by M. T. (Matthew Tobin) Anderson. The story revolves around a teenage boy and his relationship with a girl with a vastly different world perspective. They live within a futuristic world where technology has merged electronics and telecommunications with the human mind, something which plays a major role in the novel. The book is a dark satire about corporate power, consumerisminformation technology, and data mining in society. Their lives revolve around advertising, and the knowledge and will that the Feed not only provides them with information on demand but manipulates their decision-making in realtime.

The story depicts a future in which the Internet has evolved into the “Feednet”; a computer network to which the brains of American citizens are directly connected by means of an implanted computer chip called a “Feed”, which about 73 percent of Americans have set in their brain. Privacy has become a thing of the past; Corporations are free to monitor and manipulate citizens’ thoughts, people’s thoughts are interrupted by the mental equivalent of pop-up ads, sometimes to a debilitating degree, and the government can even subpoena one’s memories. The corporations and conglomerates responsible for the feed participate in data mining by monitoring the purchases and interests of those with the feed, and using this information to fit individuals into consumer profiles. People can “M-Chat” one another (a form of evolved Instant Messaging) on closed channels, effectively creating a form of telepathy. In addition, the Feed chip is implanted at such an early age that it actually takes over the running of many brain functions as the child matures. As a result, certain sites on the Feednet allow users to go “In Mal”; deliberately cause their feed chips to malfunction, causing physical and mental sensations similar to some illegal drugs.

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!

Introducing the Zerkin Glove – Intuitive Interaction in Augmented Reality

Augmented reality apps on mobile devices are all the rage these days. And they will probably remain so for a couple of years.

But –

Augmented Reality Glasses are around the corner

When using the iPhone (or similar mobile device) for an augmented reality experience, the interaction is pretty straight forward – hold your hands up with your iPhone pointing to your target. Want more options? Touch the screen. Had enough – tuck it back in your pocket.

How do you interact with augmented reality (AR) when it’s constantly in your field of view – overlaid on your glasses?

Interacting with Augmented reality

Are we going to operate knobs on the glasses?

Pete touched a stud on his spex, pulled down a glowing menu,and adjusted his visual take on the outside world. (Taklamakan, short story by Bruce Sterling)

-probably not beyond pressing the “on” button…

Are we going to be surrounded by rings?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

-Ringo looks cool, but we’re looking for a new metaphor. The traditional keyboard (albeit arched and projected on the ground) might not the most intuitive way.

Tinmith?

-Visionary, but touching thumbs instead of using a mouse? (oh, and can I lose the backpack?)

Eye gaze tracking

– that’s pretty good for point and click. But what about more complex gestures?

(by the way, this could be great for Tennis)

Interactive clothing?

-Absolutely. This will probably be available to the public as an intuitive interaction with AR displays in 5-10 years

So is there anything that could be used for an intuitive interaction with augmented reality Today?

Are there any contemporary options?

Logitech Glove Controller (P5)

The P5 was an inexpensive, good looking glove-like, that tracks finger movement – so why did it flop?

Probably because of accuracy (or lack thereof) and that fact it requires an external reference (IR base similar to the Wii.) Others may contend it never found a really good use. You can still try it for yourself for under $75!

Accelaglove

The Accelaglove has the right price (<$500) and the technology is promising – but currently focusing on translating hand movements of sign language.

Peregrine Power Glove

The Peregrine Power Glove was a huge promise at E3 2009. It was also my biggest disappointment: Using your thumb to touch your fingers to feed the computer with various commands…on a good day it could replace the keyboard when playing a real-time strategy game.

There is a bunch of other gloves that may be good at certain tasks – but not suited for intuitive-affordable AR.

Introducing the Zerkin Glove

The Zerkin Glove is a new invention by Noah Zerkin.

It’s a low-cost, motion and position capturing, data glove for 3D interaction with virtual objects in augmented reality (AR) environments.

Watch the latest iteration of the prototype in this video.

It won’t replace computers and mouses as 3D designer tool anytime soon, but for scenarios where there is no access to mouse or PC it could offer a truly intuitive interaction – at an affordable price. One glaring example is the following: architect and client on location discussing interior design plan. This scenario is about conveying impressions and enabling rough changes (what if scenarios) –  which do not require high accuracy. There are other interfaces probably more suited for VR. But when it comes to AR – this is as good as it gets.

For more info see the Zerkin Glove website.

Want to see a live demo? Come to ISMAR 2009.

Noah is looking for investors, developers, and fans.

Show some love for the Zerkin Glove!

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For full disclosure, the author of this post is the business adviser for the Zerkin Glove.