Niantic’s Fascinating New (Tr)Endgame

October 17, 2014

A guest post by Vanessa Oswald


I’m so excited. Why? Because of the news that flooded the internet over the last couple of days; news about a book (well, three books actually) which will be far more than just mere paper novels. Welcome to James Frey’s Endgame!

You’ve probably already heard about this new multilayered project before In case you haven’t, let me try to clear things up for you:


91-nNxO5k2LEndgame is a book trilogy, whose first installment was released a few days ago on Oct. 7th. The books tell a story of earth’s impending doom and 12 ancient tribes chosen to participate in a scavenger hunt across the planet: the Endgame. The task itself is simple: Find three keys hidden somewhere on earth. The obstacles though, are enormous. Only the descendants of the tribe that finds all keys during the game will survive. Essentially, your fellow players turn into your mortal enemies.

That’s all well and good, right? There’s more: The books themselves contain puzzles and clues, which will lead to a total of three real-life keys. Whoever finds a key, will receive $500,000 in solid gold. Quite an incentive to get up and out into the world, isn’t it?

But these books are only the tip of the fantasy iceberg. The planned content will consist of novellas, movies, blogs, vlogs and, most importantly, an augmented reality game for everybody all over the world. James Frey and co-author Nils Johnson-Shelton collaborated with Google’s Niantic Labs – the creators of the world’s most successful AR game ‘Ingress’ – to make this adventure possible for each and every one of us.

“I think the future of video games is not on a screen, it’s in the world”, says James Frey, “How do we turn the world into a video game, how do I make something, that allows a reader, a gamer, or a consumer to be engaged with our property everywhere they go”.

The massive project Frey inaugurated is only possible because of our modern way of living and coexistence with powerful mobile devices. The game is announced to run on both iOS and Android devices.

The Game

Endgame will be a location-based game, much like Ingress, making it possible for you to walk around a map created out of real-life Google Maps data. You can literally explore the whole world. Players will have to choose one of the twelve different ancient tribes and fight for them during the game. There will be approximately a million hotspots all over the world radiating weapons, power and protection. Once you’re close enough, you can access the hotspot and loot the special items it’s holding. The bigger the hotspot, the more power and players will be needed to access it. According to Frey and Niantic, you will also be able to attack other players if they are in a radius of 50 yards, giving you the possibility to interact closely with other participants.


The more hotspots you’re accessing and the more enemies you’re defeating, the more powerful you’ll get. An extra bonus will be the additional clues you’ll receive. These clues will help you solve the complicated puzzle in the books. The concept itself is absolutely fascinating and since Niantic Labs has acquired a huge amount of experience with Ingress, we can probably expect one hell of a game.

By the way, you don’t have to read the books to be able to play the game and the other way around. But let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you?

The authors and masterminds of Niantic Labs created this vast universe, for all those who are hungry to not only read about their favorite adventure, but to participate in it as well. We all love to be heroes, after all. Real life and science fiction have never been so closely entwined.

I can’t wait to be a part of this epic project. I’ll see you out there. Make sure you’re ready!

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Martin Vesper of digitalSTROM

October 16, 2014

InsideAR Munich 2014

Welcome to our twelfth edition of our InsideAR Speaker Spotlight series!

For our twelfth edition of the InsideAR Speaker Spotlight, we are happy to introduce Martin Vesper, CEO of digitalSTROM AG. Martin is regarded as an expert in smart products, processes, energy, optimum customer orientation and strong brands. His main goal is to make the innovative smart home system digitalSTROM accessible to a wider public in the DACH region and other European countries.

Martin Vesper-300dpi-RGBDigitalstromWhat are you going to present at InsideAR 2014?

Martin Vesper: I will give a presentation on how connectivity and AR will transform the craftsmanship of electricians into an industrial process thus, allowing smart homes to evolve.

Have you ever attended InsideAR before and what was the most exciting part for you at previous events?

MVThis is my first time at the conference, and I am looking forward to it.

What is the next challenge in AR that you would like to see overcome?

MV: The practicability of the technology. AR will become widely accepted, if it is really applicable in specific areas. This means a low error rate, low latency and a number of enjoyable applications.

What is your personal vision of the future of AR? What Application do you wish you had today?

MVI see the future of AR in the combination with cognitive systems, moving away from “single use applications” towards AR applications with a broader scope. This will allow a more practical way of expanding knowledge in a multitasking environment.

Martin’s talk “Connectivity Means Change: Augmented Reality and the Smart Home” will provide us with some thoughts behind how an augmented home could be a great supplement to a smart home. Here is the link to the program of InsideAR of Day 1 and Day 2.

That’s it from us for this week – be sure to visit our previous spotlight and if you’d like to watch some of the presentations from last year’s InsideAR event, check out our InsideAR YouTube playlist.


 InsideAR Munich takes place on October 29th and 30th, 2014 at the Kleine Olympiahalle in Munich. Learn more at

Need a ticket? Register here:

 Interested in becoming a speaker? Get in touch with our team via:

Want to join us as a journalist or become a media partner? Send us an email:

Here are the winners of the ‘AR Toys Competition’: Once upon an AR time…

October 14, 2014

Today’s the day!! After long discussions and considerations amongst the chosen jury, the two winners of our AR Toys Competition – initiated by Toywheel and Metaio - were finally picked. The competition consisted of two different challenges, with two different rewards.


AR Toymaker Award

The AR Toymaker Award asked for the best ideas and concepts for an Augmented Reality Toy, based on today´s already existing technology. The prizes for this category – a commercial license of a Metaio SDK or a Metaio Cloud subscription and free consulting considering game design and implementation – will enable the winner to implement the idea together with Toywheel and Metaio, bringing the concept to life. All submissions were assessed by their excitement value, the uniqueness of concept, user friendliness and their technical feasibility, setting the bar quite high for every participant.

CaptureFront and center in this category took Maria Neureither, a game design student, with her ‘myARtale’ concept; an augmented reality app for iOS and Android which enables kids aged six to twelve years to create their own storybook with AR fairytale objects. The scene can be arranged with up to five AR objects and can be captured via camera afterwards. You can unite the pictures to a storybook and add text blocks to tell your very own fairytale.

Her concept shows three different types of AR objects to create your very own storybook: characters, items and scenery sets. All 3D Models are generated via image-based tracking. The printable AR cards are to be offered online for free.

“The game encourages to be creative and artistic. Inventing a new fairytale and setting the stage can be a short or a time-consuming experience depending on the child’s interest and motivation.” says Maria.  

The camera of your mobile device captures the AR cards, which will be translated to 3D models appearing live on the screen. Two cards laid on top of each other, enable characters to hold items or appear in different settings. They will also be able to change their facial appearance and posture to make the game experience even more creative and versatile. Children will also be able to choose different-sized and shaped text boxes to describe what happens in the scene with a few sentences.

Involving the existing environment to the game as background and scenery motivates to reinvent the setting by adding toys as further characters. An endless number of stories can be told using Maria’s ‘myARtale’, giving you and your child the possibility to rewrite common fairytales however you’d like to.


What a fascinating idea, huh?! The little characters are as cute as it gets and we are absolutely thrilled to announce Maria as the winner of the AR Toymaker Award. Her idea convinced us in every aspect of the chosen criteria.  So naturally, congratulations are in order!

We are very much looking forward to help you develop your idea further in the scope of the promised consulting days with Metaio and Toywheel.  Great job!

AR Junior Award

The AR Junior Award was targeting ‘ideas by kids for kids’. Respectively, this category asked for submissions from children and youths and  questioned how kids want to play in the future (using AR). As such it was not necessary that the idea was fully realizable from a technical standpoint. Fantasy and creativity  were keywords! Once again, the most important criteria for assessment were the uniqueness of the idea and the excitement guarantee.

MillieWe are so very glad to announce young Millie Powell as the winner of our AR Junior Award! Among all the other fantastic submissions, her exceptional concept and idea of miniature characters, accompanying you in your everyday life thrilled the jury the most. Of course, these little figures can only be seen with the help of a little bit augmented magic.

Millie’s idea is as simple as it is genius: Create your very own imaginary friend with the help of modern day technology, namely AR. By being able to customize the miniature sized creature inside the tablet or smartphone at your heart’s desire, the child would already set the basis of a long-lasting, close relationship between it and themselves.

“While the character would have an element of freewill, the user would still be able to control it and interact with it. By tapping the screen, the character would move, for example climbing stairs or running along a bookshelf.”

By capturing the surrounding area with your device’s camera, your little friend could practically do anything. Sit on your nightstand to tell you good night, for example.

Millie also suggested to introduce additional markers for the character, enabling you to extend its animations and features. Such markers could be used in many ways. They could be printable or in the form of physical toys that can be purchased and lets your character interact with them on your smart device. You could add furniture, cars, pets or even houses!

By caring for and playing with your little companion, you would be able to collect experience points (XP), which would allow your friend to level up and unlock rewards or new interactions. The possibilities are vast and extensive. Special mini games could be implemented, other players could combine their little friends on screen and the characters could even function as some kind of tutors for the child, introducing them to educational topics and tasks. One thing’s for sure – with a little creature like that in your living room, you won’t be bored anytime soon!

Thank you, Millie, for sharing this wonderful idea! Enjoy your well-earned iPad mini and commercial Metaio Creator license. And who knows – with the license, perhaps we will be able to show your finished AR-app here in the near future.

At this point, we’d like to thank everybody who participated and shared their magnificent concepts with us. We’ve seen so many extraordinary visions and ideas in the last couple of months, from AR generated Bubbles to an augmented history tour through Turkey. Unfortunately though, there can only be one winner in each category. Nevertheless, great job, everybody!

Matthias-Evgeni-5652 (1)

Join us for the most exciting AR conference!

Since both of our winners receive free tickets to InsideAR Munich – the world’s most exciting Augmented Reality Conference, we hope to see you there as well! Join us October 29th/30th at the Kleine Olympiahalle Munich! Get your tickets here:

Here’s a little sneak peak of what you can expect:

AR Weekly – Mid October

October 13, 2014

We’re Back!

We're just doodling.

We’re just doodling.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Thorsten Stephan of SAP [Augmented Blog]

Metaio Rocks Adobe MAX [Augmented Blog]

IKEA Catalog App 2015: Where the evARyday begins [Augmented Blog]

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Stephan Erlenkämper of Mayersche Book Stores [Augmented Blog]

Feel your next holiday destination with Junaio! – An Example for an Augmented Reality Tourism Catalog [Augmented Blog]

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Valerie Riffaud Cangelosi of Epson Europe [Augmented Blog]

Calling all 3D buffs! Metaio Teams up with Pinshape for a Halloween 3D Printed Model Competition [Augmented Blog]

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: John puterbaugh, Ph.D., of Nellymoser [Augmented Blog]

Metaio debuts augmented reality plug-in for Adobe InDesign [TheNextWeb]

Augmented Reality Meets Adobe InDesign [Trekk]

As Easy as Coloring by Numbers – Metaio AR Creator InDesign Plugin [Augmented Blog]

Metaio Launches The First Augmented Reality Plugin For Adobe InDesign [TechCrunch]

Junaio: From rustic farmer fair to rollercoaster beer festival – The Oktoberfest 1910 – 2014 [Augmented Blog]

OnTheGo Platforms Releases Metaio Support to Bring ‘Minority Report’ Tech To Reality [OnTheGo Platforms]

Augmented Reality News

Niantic Labs’s John Hanke: alternate reality games are the future of storytelling [Stuff]

Carl Zeiss Showcases VR ONE headset, Under $100, Due By Christmas []

Ice-Bound: A Novel of Reconfiguration [Kickstarter]

Smart Glasses From Toshiba Take A Different Design Track [Mobile Commerce Press]

Augmented reality with ultrafast Internet soon, experts say [Malay Mail Online]

Arch Grant Recipients Candy Lab Partners With Carnival Corp [Techli]

Epson Moverio BT-200 Augmented Reality Glasses Review [Tom's Hardware]

Welcome to ‘Endgame,’ Google’s worldwide augmented reality game that begins today [The Verge]

Toshiba Glass Prototype Unveiled; Hoped to Rival Google Glass in 2015 [NDTV Gadgets]

A little bit of depth [The Hindu]

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market Worth $1.06 Billion by 2018 [Digital Journal]

Vuzix focuses on enterprise wearable tech, inks deal with Lenovo for growth in China [451 Research]

Augmented Reality Will Change Your World [Mobile Commerce Press]

iPhone Smart Glasses – Vuzix Now Compatible [Load the Game]

Microsoft’s ‘RoomAlive’ turns the living room into an augmented-reality game [Polygon]

Could virtual reality help build better cities [BBC News]

This Sony researcher wants to put you in someone else’s head [CNET]

Upcoming Events

InsideAR Munich – October 29th, 30th [Register Here]

Pick of the Week

While we were at Adobe MAX last week, Microsoft released a new proof of concept, video game projector setup that turns your living room into an interactive gaming environment. The setup uses 6 depth-sensing cameras and projectors to map out the space and then project a game on the upper surfaces. The concept looks amazing as users can use controllers or their bodies to interact with the full virtual environment. Check out the video below for the current concept.

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Thorsten Stephan of SAP

October 13, 2014

InsideAR Munich 2014

Meet Thorsten Stephan of SAP!

Meet Thorsten Stephan of SAP!

Welcome to our eleventh edition of our InsideAR Speaker Spotlight series!

For our eleventh (make a wish!) edition of the InsideAR Speaker Spotlight, we are happy to introduce Thorsten Stephan, Vice President of SAP SE, Germany, where he works as part of the Industry Cloud and IoT – Mobility team. Thorsten Stephan is an expert in Mobile Enterprise Applications and Market with over a decade of experience. He has been with SAP for over 15 years, taking on leading positions in application and technology development, partner management, and product management. He is a thought leader in, and early adopter of new mobility and UX technologies, and drives those new products to market.

What are you going to present at InsideAR 2014?

Thorsten Stephan: I will talk about the impact of AR and wearables into business processes.

Have you ever attended InsideAR before and what was the most exciting part for you at previous events?

TS: Yes. Most exciting was to meet so many SAP customers who already spent quite some effort in AR.

What is the next challenge in AR that you would like to see overcome?

TS: Integration into commonly used ODE’s to ensure ease of consumption by existing developer communities – mainly mobile developers.

What is your personal vision of the future of AR? What Application do you wish you had today?

TS: VR and AR will define the next generation of user experience across various form factors and use cases. It will transition into an industry standard and an experience expected by users to be default.

Thorsten’s talk “Business Process Transformation driven by Wearables and AR” will definitely provide some amazing insights to how the future of business and enterprise will be shaped by technology. We can’t wait to see what he has to say!

That’s it from us for now – be sure to visit our previous spotlight and if you’d like to watch some of the presentations from last year’s InsideAR event, check out our InsideAR YouTube playlist.


 InsideAR Munich takes place on October 29th and 30th, 2014 at the Kleine Olympiahalle in Munich. Learn more at

Need a ticket? Register here:

 Interested in becoming a speaker? Get in touch with our team via:

Want to join us as a journalist or become a media partner? Send us an email:

Metaio Rocks Adobe MAX!

October 10, 2014
Courtesy of Adobe

Courtesy of Adobe

wall of art

Just the smallest tidbit of art seen at MAX.

This week saw the coming and going of Adobe MAX 2014 – Adobe’s annual convention and expo. For the first time, Metaio was pleased to be a bronze sponsor for the event. MAX attracts over 5,000 creative professionals from all around the world and brings them together in Los Angeles in celebration of their craft while providing an in-depth refresher on all that’s new in the world of technology and design. It’s a time of year where the deadline weary, logo crafting, DPI insistent design types shrug off their busy jobs and join together to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the design industry.

One Part Conference, One Part Awesome

monster model

Ma always said I had a face for Hollywood.

MAX is one part conference, one part celebration. While workshops and seminars run on an intense schedule throughout the five day event, there’s plenty of fun to go around. Photoshop maniacs competed in Sapient Nitro’s Battle of the Hands to see who could create the best movie poster….with only eight minutes! Doodle walls, creativity zones, and even an arcade decorated the expo floor to keep the creative juices flowing outside the classes. To top it all off, all attendees were invited to an indulgent MAX Bash party featuring food and drinks galore. To top THAT off, Adobe brought in the Kings of Leon to play for everyone in a hip, modern outdoor venue. MAX certainly nailed it with the right balance of work & play.

Making Augmented Reality Easy

By combing the power of the Metaio Creator with InDesign,  creating Augmented Reality becomes even easier for designers.

By combing the power of the Metaio Creator with InDesign, creating Augmented Reality becomes even easier for designers.

Metaio also brought something special to this event: an entirely new software product – the Metaio AR Creator plugin for InDesign. The plugin works directly in Adobe’s software, and we thought it would be a great way to tap into the huge creative community of Adobe users to join in building content in the AR world. We had a great response to the software and an overall shock that creating AR scenarios was so easy – whether it be with the Metaio Creator or the new InDesign plugin. Metaio definitely opened some eyes and spurred some imagination at the event!

Designing for the Future

Look what we found.

I spy, with my little eye, some people relaxing on the job.

As MAX approached an end, Adobe hosted a sneak preview event to show off what technology is in the pipeline for future products. This is where things got really Sci-Fi. Adobe researchers demoed a tool that could change the time of day in a photo. Took a photo at night and want to see what it would have looked like at noon? One button click and the image magically changes. Another Adobe researcher  announced “Project Layup“, an app that finally takes mobile seriously and has thought about touch interface from the ground up. The researchers also demoed the “3D Photo Magic” app – a demo that superimposes 3D furniture into an image of a room (sound familiar?). It was certainly interesting to see what lies ahead for Adobe, and it was even more exciting to see that much of it relies on making our computers better at understanding images.

Winding Down

Adobe MAX 2014 was inspiring, exciting and exhausting all at once. Augmented Reality was extremely well received by the Adobe user community, and we are really excited to see what amazing work will come. Our work doesn’t stop there though. Now that MAX is behind us it’s time to get excited for another major gathering – Metaio’s own InsideAR! In just a few weeks we ramp up all the excitement again for a celebration of all things Augmented and come together with over 1,000 AR professionals to discuss the future of Augmented Reality. Learn more about InsideAR here. Tickets are still available – see you there!

Cheers from the Metaio team (and photobomber)!

Cheers from the Metaio team (and photobomber)!

IKEA Catalog App 2015: Where the evARryday begins

October 10, 2014

catalog2015_cvr_enAn IKEA Home Story by Vanessa Oswald

It is 2014 and I am looking at the brand-new 2015 IKEA catalogue right in front of me. I finally get to experience the AR-features of this printed treasure chest myself. I never understood what all the fuss was about – up until now.

Two years ago, the IKEA Catalog App 2013 turned out to be the overall most downloaded app of 2012, creating a never before seen awareness of augmented reality among the population.

So naturally,  IKEA once more collaborated with Metaio to bring life to many pages of their famous catalogue, enabling me and you to get a whole new understanding of the term ‘augmented reality’.

There is more to see! Scan this page with the Ikea Catalog app and reveal more interactive content

There is more to see! Scan this page with the Ikea Catalog app and reveal more interactive content

The much talked-about bookbookTM lies neatly in front of me. My tablet rests in my lap and I am about to start the free IKEA Catalogue App 2015, which will empower me to unlock the concealed wonders between the sheets of paper. Just by skimming through the pages, I already see many orange little plus signs – the markers. These will be my guide to all the pages that unveil content, once I slide my tablet over them.

The App starts and my fingers tickle in anticipation. I tap the scan&discover button.

Chosing a cosy chair for our lounge in the Metaio offices in Munich

Chosing a cosy chair for our lounge in the Metaio offices in Munich

Oh, and scan and discover I will! I unlock videos, additional pictures, and I’m even able to see a 360° view of various bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms, which recognizes my movements and adapts to the correct angle of view, creating an illusion of being inside the room. Another feature offers up to seven different decorating styles – for all those, who need a visual incentive to turn their apartment into a cozy sanctuary.

Beer shelf next to the kicker?

Beer shelf next to the kicker?

And then, there are the 3-D models. Yes, 3-D life-sized furniture pieces, which can be easily placed in my own room. A plush little chair, for example. All I have to do now is place the catalogue where I want the chair to appear, and …voilà.  I can walk around the image, taking in every angle – it’s absolutely fascinating.

This year’s IKEA Catalog app even enables me to look at the 3-D models without placing the catalogue in the room first or having to scan the pages at all. I tap on the 3-D symbol, select ‘I don’t have a catalogue’ and the chair still appears in my living room. Moreover, I can adjust the model’s size by simply using the pinch-to-zoom motion.. I’ve been sitting in my living room for a solid 2 hours now, browsing the catalogue, and I’m not even close to being bored.

So, there you have it. Try it and enjoy all the features of the bookbookTM! I’ll be here, trying to figure out where exactly this cute little lamp would look best in my room. On a quick side note, though: you won’t be able to stop browsing for quite some time. Don’t say, I didn’t warn you.

It’s absolutely fascinating.

The IKEA Catalog Application is also presented at InsideAR Munich on October 29th/30th in the Kleine Olympiahalle.  For more information about the most exciting Augmented Reality conference visit our website:

InsideAR Munich 2014

Maria Ekberg Brännström took the challenge three and a half years ago to become Global Catalogue Manager for the IKEA catalogue. Previously she was leading various positions within IKEA in Sweden and Spain as Sales and Commercial Manager. She loves the challenge of finding new ways of developing the IKEA catalogue to be even better and more relevant to consumers. She’s daring and demanding, and completely convinced that most things remain to be done.

She spoke at InsideAR Munich 2013 last year. Watch the video to find out more interesting details about the IKEA App:


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