Introducing Metaio Advanced Partner: 3D Studio Blomberg

August 28, 2014

Alongside Metaio’s community of over 100,000 developers, Metaio also works with some great partners in our “Advanced Solution Provider” program. These companies come to the world of AR from all sorts of fields, but share the common interest in Augmented Reality, as well as the ability to execute extremely ambitious AR projects that few developers can match. Metaio Advanced Partners receive direct training and support from Metaio, so they are equipped for any AR project out there.

Today we introduce our newest partner, 3D Studio Blomberg (3DS). Hailing from Finland, 3DS has a long history of visual communication through technology and is now applying this experience into AR. CEO and founder, Pontus Blomberg sits down and tells us a little more about the history of 3DS and what’s in store for the future:

3D Studio Blomberg


How was 3DS born and how did the goals and vision evolve?

Pontus Blomberg: I started my own business in 2001 with the goal of employing myself through something that inspires me, visualization. Firstly, it was CAD oriented regarding the documentation of existing products for local SME companies.  Initial developments were made on expanding this aspect of their business. Soon afterwards, a whole new dimension of need was recognized as new customers, notably larger and more established companies, already had their own CAD and mechanic design processes in place.

“I started my own business in 2001 with the goal of employing myself through something that inspires me”

The major challenges with these companies were many: how to explain to the end-users and potential customers their product design process and production; what the product is; how does their product work; how is their product operated; what is the path of development for their product. To address these challenges, I presented the idea of utilizing existing CAD data to create product supporting visualization in digital animation and image format. The resultant materials would then naturally and seamlessly be utilized for marketing & sales of the product as well as for training & maintenance.

In 2006, a client’s CEO asked me two straight-forward questions, “what do you want to do when you grow old, and what plans do you have for your company”. Just a few weeks back, I had initiated the process of restructuring the business to a limited company. Needless to say, these questions were presented in just the right time. The CEO had several good business partners who may consider investing in my business as well as contribute with their extensive global industrial experience. Further discussions concluded in an agreement, followed by the hiring of several employees including myself. This was a big step to take for an entrepreneur such as myself.

Step by step

Enhanced product explanation through 3D visualization (Courtesy: 3D Studio Blomberg)

While continuing to supply animations and photorealistic rendered images to the industry, internal discussions with our customers evolved towards a new mega-trend and paradigm shift in communication, mobile-related work and mobile tools. This was recognized, by all parties privy to our discussions, for increasing efficiency and flexibility of work. Our vision One Global Visual Language addresses this paradigm shift in communications.

 

What is the current vision of the company? What is AR’s role in this vision?

PB: Our vision is referred to as One Global Visual Language.

Today, the communication of long technical, well-explained and intelligible text needs to be published in various languages. Onwards this text requires its reformation and restructuring into something completely new because text will no longer be the leading form of information transmission. Now, information transmission will be achieved via visual and physical elements. Relevant information will be readily available and retrieved only when needed in an easily comprehensible visual format.

“Now, information transmission will be achieved via visual and physical elements”

Augmented Reality, in combination with 3D Studio Blomberg’s existing know-how and Visual Tools & Solutions constantly supplied and developed, is a great platform to start more ambitious developments towards our vision. Looking further ahead, incorporating this platform into existing business infrastructures and the Industrial Internet would evolve into One Global Visual Language.

Is the company specialized on specific industries? What categories of products can you support? Do you have some examples of projects where your solutions were implemented?

PB: Our segment of focus is the heavy machine industry that produce lifecycle products that are constantly developed and require service, internal and external training for sales, installation and operation. Our Visual Tools & Solutions incorporating AR will support all aspects of such product lifecycles. (See here for an example – Ed.)

 

Which particular use cases would benefit most from AR, in your perspective?

PB:  I see that AR allows for information to be on par with other visual and physical elements. This allows for intelligent filtering of data and retrieval of relevant and up-to date information in a visual form where and when needed. In future, the connection and synchronization to large information systems allows for awareness, integration and continues improvement on personal, organizational and corporate levels.

 

What do you like most about using Metaio tools?

PB: Comprehensible tools, quick and easy to get a pilot running and demonstrate the idea and need to the customer. Flexible integration and cross platform capabilities. In the words of 3DS developer, Henrik Hermans, “The Metaio Creator is surprisingly powerful for such an easy-to-use program, and creates lightweight applications that load quickly and run smoothly.”

 

Do you offer support in Finland only, or also abroad? How should those interested get in contact?

PB: We currently operate from Finland with the Nordic region as our business area of focus. We have an ambitious growth plan and AR plays a significant role. With our global experience through our owner structure, we are currently looking at partnerships around the globe to support and enable our strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about 3D Studio Blomberg, you can visit their website: http://www.3dstudio.fi/

You can also get in touch directly via: info@3dstudio.fi


Don’t have 3D models? Try 2.5D!

August 26, 2014

Many of the best AR apps incorporate 3D effects in some way or another. Embedded videos, link and images are cool, but it’s that 3D content that really delights the user visually. Why then, isn’t everyone implementing more 3D content into their apps?

The problem lies in content creation. Even in this high-tech day and age, it is still relatively difficult for the average person to create 3D models. While companies such as Autodesk have made great efforts to bring 3D authoring tools to the masses, there is still a way to go before impressive 3D content can be created quickly and easily by a casual user.

That being said, there is a nice alternative that can be used by just about anyone to create a 3D effect without actually having any 3D modelling skills or even owning 3D graphics software. By arranging traditional 2D images in a 3D space, we can achieve pretty neat 3D effects – 2.5D if you will (“faux-D” anyone?…..anyone?). Shown below is a great example of “faux-D” in action:

Metaio Xmas card using 2.5D

Scan with Junaio !

So what does it take to create a 2.5D experience?

It’s actually very simple – with some basic image editing skills and knowledge of Metaio Creator, it is possible to build a 2.5D experience very easily. Here’s a quick guide:

Step 1: Gather your image assets.

Your images are the most important part of the experience. Unlike standard image files, we want them to have a “cardboard cutout” effect. In order to achieve this, a little photo-editing is required. In your favorite editing tool (I like Paint.net – intuitive, powerful, and free!), simply trim around the edges of your illustration or photo and save it as a PNG file with transparent background. This means that when the image file is viewed, all of the “white space” will be completely transparent. If this is already starting to sound scary – don’t fret! There are some great tutorials available online like this one.

Step 2: Arrange your scene.

Using Metaio Creator it is possible to quickly arrange a 3D scene using your images. Firstly, fire up Creator and choose your tracking marker. You can then go ahead and import your images. They will appear to sit flush on the page to begin with.

Images flush to marker

Images flush to marker

From here, make sure you are using the 3D view mode which can be activated in the left corner.

In the 3D view mode, you are presented a 3-dimensional axis that allows you to drag your image in any direction. From here we can begin arranging the content not just upwards and side-to-side, but also back-and-forth. Varying the depth of the images will create our 3D effect. Remember, if you need to rotate the images, you can click on the blue circle to cycle through translation, rotation and scaling functions. Give it a try!

Manipulate with the 3 arrows

Manipulate with the 3 arrows

 

Step 3: Experiment

Try experimenting with different depths and angles of your images for the best 3D effect. If you need some more inspiration, check out this really great work done for Starbucks Japan or check out the video of the AR Children’s book created by Junaio developer Daniel Ortega:

Note: The demo in this post can be accessed via this tracking pattern: 2.5D marker


AR Weekly – Late August

August 25, 2014

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is anothAR one.

I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. (New baby lion cubs, Image courtesy of BBC)

I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. (New white lion cubs, Image courtesy of BBC)

Metaio | Junaio Recap

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Kavin Andi [Augmented Blog]

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Court Westcott [Augmented Blog]

And hey, have you checked out our new website?

Augmented Reality News

Google Glass & Lookalikes Find Niches [EE Times]

Two Ways That Augmented Reality Could Change the Nature of Desk-Less Work [Tech the Future]

Ralph Lauren’s “smart polo shirt” shows the problem with wearable tech [PandoDaily]

Next Galaxy Corps Partners with Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce to Host The Business Innovation and Growth (B.I.G) Summit at the New World Center [CNN Money]

5 Ways Virtual and Augmented Reality Are Changing Medicine [Wall St. Cheat Sheet]

Could virtual reality convert skeptics into environmentalists? [Mother Nature Network]

Google Glass emotion detection makes wearable empath [Slash Gear]

Indoor Rock Wall Incorporates Projected Graphics for Augmented Climbing [PSFK]

Selling houses in the days of ‘virtual reality’ [Silicon Republic]

Google Glass Used To Broadcast A Live Surgery [Mobile Commerce Press]

Can Oculus Rift end virtual reality’s thirty-year struggle? [Expert Reviews]

Mercury Inpress ramps up augmented reality publishing activity [Kidscreen News]

Kerala ‘hacker’ makes $75 Google Glass copy [Emirates 24/7]

Google May Be Working On A Way To Make Google Glass Actually Look Normal [Business Insider AU]

Bosses to provide robots, drones and ‘augmented reality’ believe workers [24dash.com]

Smiles for Desserts: Augmented Reality Makes It Possible [Plaza Dental Group]

Pinlight Displays [Vimeo]

Upcoming Events

InsideAR Beijing – September 5th [Register Here]

InsideAR Munich – October 29, 30 [Register Here]

Webinar – Metaio Trivia: Content Edition [Register Here]

Pick of the Week

Are you guys familiar with David Pogue? He’s essentially one of the Yahoo’s coolests nerds offering the latest reviews and trends in technology. Just last week, he gave a review of one of our favorite devices: the Epson Moverio BT-200. He explores the pros and cons of the glasses and gives an overview of some of the cool applications already available. Check out the full article here and watch the video here.

But hey David, if you’re reading this, don’t forget to add Junaio to the list next time! :)

 


InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Kavin Andi

August 25, 2014

InsideAR Munich 2014

Welcome to our second edition of our InsideAR Speaker Spotlight series. Without further ado: the world of Augmented Reality and Healthcare.

Meet Dr. Kavin Andi!

For our second edition of the InsideAR Speaker Spotlight, we are happy to introduce Doctor Kavin Andi, Consultant Maxillo-Facial Surgeon and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer specializing in Microvascular Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at St. George’s Hospital and Medical School, University of London.

In 2012 Kavin was awarded the Norman Rowe Clinical Prize by the British Association of Oral & Maxillo-Facial Surgeon for his research in Augmented Reality, Surgical Robotics, and 3D Surgical Planning. His research and practices have been life-saving as is demonstrated here. Kavin has his own website where he explores some of the more advanced technologies behind the operating room. Let’s dive in:

What are you going to present at InsideAR 2014?

Kavin Andi: I’ll be talking about how I use 3D technology to help plan complex surgery for patients who need to have facial reconstruction particularly after cancer treatment.

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

KA: This is my first conference!

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

KA: The resolution of current AR glasses is not high enough for my use in surgery. Binocular higher resolution visual aids would be a great step forward.

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

KA: I see much of the 3D preparatory work that I do migrating form the pre-operative setting to real-time AR use in theatre with applications for image guidance for caner surgery, anesthetic airway management and medical education in the wider context.

 

Catch more of Kavin Andi’s views on the future of Augmented Reality in the operating room in his presentation “Rebuilding Faces using AR -Why We Have to Make The Future Now” where he will explore how 3D technologies and Augmented Reality will become essential to healthcare practitioners in all surgical specialties.

That’s it from us for this week – check out last week’s speaker 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 http://www.insidear2014.com/

Need a ticket? Register here: http://www.insidear2014.com/register

 Interested in becoming a speaker? Get in touch with our team via: insidear@metaio.com


InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Court Westcott

August 19, 2014

InsideAR Munich 2014

Welcome to our first edition of our InsideAR Speaker Spotlight series. Over the coming weeks we will be introducing the speakers who will be presenting at InsideAR 2014 in Munich. Our speakers will cover a wide variety of topics related to Augmented Reality, from the technological outlook to social implications. We will be using this spotlight to give you a little more insight into our guest speakers and their role in the world of Augmented Reality.

Court Westcott

Meet Court Westcott of Commodore Partners!

For our first edition of the InsideAR Speaker Spotlight, we are happy to introduce Court Westcott, Managing Partner of Commodore Partners. As Managing Partner at Commodore, Court manages a portfolio of investments in tech companies (including Metaio!). As an investor in cutting edge technology, you can imagine Court has a thing are two to say about the future of tech and how Augmented Reality will play a role.We decided to learn a little more about Court’s history with Augmented Reality, and what he thinks the future will look like:

 

What are you going to present at InsideAR 2014?

Court Westcott: I am going to give a talk about whether or not computer vision will disrupt the search engine and change the origination point from where queries begin.

 

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

CW: This is my 3rd InsideAR.  It is always exciting to see all the amazing new innovations that Metaio has come up with and the imaginative ways its customers use their technology.

 

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

CW: First, enough processing power to make continuous visual search to the consumer possible without draining their batteries.  Secondly, HMDs that are indistinguishable from normal glasses.  Fix these two problems and you will see mass adoption of AR.  Gesture is also still unresolved, but less of a bottle neck.

 

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

CW: I am terrible with names, so an app with facial recognition that provided me with people’s names would be a killer app for me.  My personal vision for the future of AR is that one day AR will provide everyone with perfect contextual data in real time, as needed.

 

Catch more of Court Westcott’s views on the future of AR in his presentation “Can Computer Vision Disrupt the Search Engine?” where he will explore the idea of computer vision and Augmented Reality disrupting the current model of searching and accessing information.

That’s it from us for this week – 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 http://www.insidear2014.com/

Need a ticket? Register here: http://www.insidear2014.com/register

 Interested in becoming a speaker? Get in touch with our team via: insidear@metaio.com


AR Weekly – Mid August

August 18, 2014

GET TO THE CHOPP-AR!

serengetti_hongkong

Baaahhh, I’m a moose (Image Courtesy of Digital Signage Today)

 

Metaio | Junaio Recap

ISMAR 2914 Comes to Munich! [Augmented Blog]

Junaio – Now Available For A Moverio BT-200 Near You [Junaio Blog]

Metaio Launches Junaio Augmented Reality Browser for Epson Moverio BT-200 Data Glasses [Telepresence Options]

Augmented Reality News

Mini Babybel launches Halloween gaming app [Talking Retail]

Himax Technologies, Inc. and Lumus, Inc. Announce Collaboration to Develop Next-Generation Smart Glasses [CNN Money]

Is Kobe Bryant’s Projection-Augmented Court the Future of Basketball? [Motherboard]

A display of amazing power [SaskNews]

ImmersiON-VRelia Launches Virtual Reality Commercial Entertainment Division [Broadway World]

Augmented reality motorcycle helmet now available to buy from Skully [Mobile Commerce News]

To Receive Your Message, This App Makes You Travel to a Real Location [Mashable]

This is what Microsoft’s augmented reality glass could look like: Google Glass killer? [Tech Times]

Augmented reality a hit with outdoor advertisers [ProPrint]

Augmented reality digital signage brings the Serengeti to the streets of Hong Kong [Digital Signage Today]

VividWorks Featured in Gartner’s Augmented Reality Vendor Market Guide [Broadway World]

European Wearable Technology Market – Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019 [Market Watch]

Office Depot Integrates BTS Promos Via Augmented Reality, Mobile, And Social [Retail Solutions Online]

UC reopens remediated and renamed Registry building [Scoop]

zSpace and NGRAIN Partner to Develop Virtual Reality DICOM Viewer for Immersive Medical Visualization [Digital Journal]

Augmented reality tech aimed at keeping soldiers safe [WNCN]

This is Samsung’s VR headset [The Verge]

Epson Announces Moverio Developer Program and App Market at SIGGRAPH 2014 [Broadway World]

IT Employee Confidence in Construction [ConstrucTech]

Regular Pilots Can Now Have Superhuman Augmented Reality Fighter Pilot Vision [CoEXIST]

The Skully Smart Motorcycle Helmet Sharpens Your Senses On The Road [TechCrunch]

Tamiko Thiel: Excited New Digital Artwork Augmented Reality At The Shard [Artlyst]

Augmented and Virtual Reality Market Estimated to Be Worth $1.06 Billion by 2018 [Virtual Strategy]

Is Reality Ready For Augmentation [Torque]

What These Banks Learned About Wearable Devices, Augmented Reality [American Banker]

Upcoming Events

Vote for the HoloGramma: How Tech Can ‘Bring Back Our Departed SXSW Interactive 2015 Panel, featuring Peter Meier! [Vote Here]

InsideAR Beijing, September 5th [Register Here]

InsideAR Munich, October 29, 30 [Register Here]

Webinar – Designing for Augmented Reality Applications [Register Here]

Pick of the Week

There is some amazing face tracking technology out there, and a few days ago this video was posted using real-time face tracking and projections to portray “living makeup.” The project features some incredibly robust tracking and animations. Check out the video below and read more about it on Slash Gear and The Verge.


ISMAR 2014 Comes to Munich!

August 18, 2014

ISMAR – the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (thank God for acronyms!) comes to Metaio’s home city of Munich this year and we are going to make it one to remember. Seeing as ISMAR 2014 is so close to home, Metaio is sponsoring the event and making sure there are some great topics to enjoy. Our research team has been working hard on two long-form papers and three posters for this year’s presentation. Here’s a quick look at the topics we are going to cover:

 ISMAR 2014 Munich

Augmented Reality on Smartwatches?

AR on Galaxy Gear

Scan the world from your wrist!

The smartwatch craze is upon us and so Metaio researchers decided to explore how they can assist in Augmented Reality experiences. While the small screens don’t lend themselves to immersive AR, smartwatches can be great for quickly snapping an image, or scanning an object. Image recognition on a smartwatch makes a great companion to a full-fledged AR device in the pocket – but what adaptations need to be made for such a form
factor? This poster explores the challenges involved with bringing real-time visual search to a watch, and what potential use cases can be derived from such a technology.

 

Read the full poster here.

Check out our preview video here.

 

AR for the Elderly

Augmented Reality has been praised for its ability to deliver information in an intuitive way, but what happens when you use this technology to assist the elderly? Metaio, in conjunction with the TU München and LMU München, investigated ease of use, ergonomics and appropriateness of this cutting edge technology for an aging demographic.

Read the full poster here.

 

Mobile Augmented Reality Maintenance for Volkswagen XL1

Metaio developed together with Volkswagen the Project MARTA - a service and maintenance tool for the XL1

Metaio developed together with Volkswagen the Project MARTA – a service and maintenance tool for the XL1

In conjunction with Volkswagen AG, Metaio researchers developed the Mobile Augmented Reality Technical Assistance (MARTA) for automobile technicians. Making its debut on the Volkswagen XL1 concept car, MARTA uses the latest 3D tracking technologies to provide intuitive assistance. What does it take to build an application that can track a real-life vehicle? This poster examines the technical challenges of such a project, and what lies ahead for future iterations.

Read the full Poster here.

Click here to see MARTA in action.

 

Lights, Camera, Coherent Illumination!

While tracking is an important component of Augmented Reality, realistically rendering digital images into a scene is incredibly important for an immersive AR experience. Hollywood studios have the time and luxury of editing footage after-the-fact, but real-time Augmented Reality applications have to render “special effects” on the fly. Catch Metaio Research Sebastian Knorr’s presentation about how “coherent rendering” adds a new level of realism to digital graphics rendered into a real-life scene by applying the illumination of the real world to augmented virtual objects.

Read the full paper here.

 

Hot topic: Thermal Touch

“Thermal Touch” – the technology that has the potential to turn any material into an interactive surface was a huge hit with the tech community. Using computer vision technology combined with a thermal camera has provided a solution for the interaction problem with wearable devices like Google Glass. We released a video showing off the technology in May this year, and now our Head of Advanced Technologies Group, Daniel Kurz, will present the nuts and bolts of the whole setup at ISMAR.

Read the full paper here.

 

 

If all this AR talk isn’t enough for you, not to worry! Inside AR Munich is just around the corner on October 29th and 30th! Learn more at http://www.insidear2014.com/

 


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