Live from ISMAR ’08 in Cambridge: Enjoy the Weather…

“Enjoy the weather” uttered sarcastically a kindhearted British witch (aka air hostess) while we were leaving the aircraft; surprisingly – we did in the first day. We were then promised this is accidental and surely the last day of summer. Splendid.

Venice? nope, Cambridge!

Venice, Italy? nope, Cambridge, UK!

I have landed in Cambridge, UK (where people go to augment their reality) and all I ever heard about it – is true: British meadow green, majestic 600 year old buildings, cosmopolitan young folks, fish cakes…a combination that gives this university city its unique aura; a great setting for the event starting tomorrow – reality only better, at ISMAR ’08.

St. Catherine College - can't ask for a nicer place to stay...

St. Catherine College - can't ask for a nicer place to stay...

For those who couldn’t make it, stay tuned for a live coverage of ISMAR ’08, the world’s best augmented reality event.

Featuring AR pioneers such as: Tom Drummond, Paul McIlroy, Mark Billinghurst, Blair MacIntyre, Daniel Wagner, Wayne Piekarski, Uli Bockholt (Fraunhofer IGD), Peter Meier, Mark A. Livingston, Diarmid Campbell, David Murray, Rolf R. Hainich, Oliver Bimber, Hideo Saito and many more —

— overing topics such as: Industrial augmented reality, hand-held augmented reality, displays, user studies, applications, layouts, demos, state-of-the-art AR, and don’t miss the highly anticipated tracking competition.

Welcome all speakers and attendees to the event, and don’t forget: look right first!

If you are at the event (or not) and want to chat, share thoughts, or ask questions – leave a comment here or send a message on facebook.

A new (media) power in the race for augmented reality supremacy

Media Power announced today a donation of $5M to the GVU research center at Georgia Tech – for the advancement of Mobile Augmented Reality (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/news/media-power-donates-5m-to-gvu-center).
It’s intriguing that Media Power’s founder is none other than the controvertial Carl Freer, the executive from Gizmondo – a mobile game device that went belly up “under a cloud” after demostrating huge potential in 2005. Although it made it to the #1 position of “The 10 Worst-Selling Handhelds of All Time” on gamepro it was pretty popular among mobile augmented reality research(Demo).

So now Carl will not only resurrect Gizmondo, but will also establish a new division – Magitech – “centered around the very promising field of Augmented Reality”.
The objective of the joint initiative between Magitech and Georgia Tech is to “envision, prototype and evaluate the next generation of mobile AR games and entertainment applications and positions the company as a leader in AR.”

This initiative looks promising mostly thanks to its ability to attract worldwide top talent in the field of augmented reality (many of them regular contributors to this blog – games alfresco):
Dr. Leonard Kleinrock (Professor, University of California at Los Angeles), Blair McIntyre (Professor, Georgia Tech), Mark Billinghurst (Professor, University of Canterbury), Daniel Wagner (Professor, University of Graz, Vienna), Dr. Michael Gervautz (CEO Imagination, Vienna)

Now, what would you do with $5M and that kind of caliber to advance augmented reality games?

***Update***

A couple of months later Media Power made another major investment. This time the sum was $2.7M and the benefactor –  Mark Billinghurst’s HIT Lab in New Zealand.