Weekest Links – Early April

April 7, 2014

April showers bring AR flowers

Courtesy of Google Maps

Only the most adventurous explorers experience augmented reality

Metaio | Junaio Recap

Come on baby, light my fire: Light switches in a new dimension [Augmented Blog]

Meet Metaio at the Laval Virtual Conference, April 9th – 11th [Augmented Blog]

Microsoft Allegedly Acquiring Augmented Reality IP [Augmented Blog]

Artscape – See the World Through the Eyes of Artists [Junaio Blog]

Augmented Reality News in the World

Augmented Reality will turns us all Superman [GamesBeat]

How eCommerce, Augmented & Virtual Reality will Redefine the Retail Experience [Business 2 Community]

Legal issues may define the future of wearable technology [Mobile Commerce News]

Tell me a story: augmented reality technology in museums [The Guardian]

Vuzix: Undervalued Augmented and Virtual Reality Play; New Products To Drive Growth In ’14 [Seeking Alpha]

Raytheon Uses Augmented Reality To Speed Missile Design [InformationWeek]

Sulon Cortex Blends Virtual Reality with Augmented Reality [Tom's Hardware]

Tim Sweeney: Virtual reality will be bigger than smartphones [Kit Guru]

PS4 dev: Virtual reality and augmented reality “the future of gaming” [Gamespot]

Augmented Reality – A Compelling Mobile Embedded Vision Opportunity [Electronic Engineering Journal]

Did Facebook Buy Virtual Reality too Soon? [New York Times]

Upcoming Events

AugmentaMe EDU 2014 [Ciberespiral blog]

Metaio at Laval Virtual Conference – Come visit us at stand D19! [Laval Virtual]

#MetaioWearsEpson Giveaway – Ends Wednesday at 11:59 pm PST [Register Here]

Webinar – Metaio and the Epson Moverio BT-200 [Register Here]

Pick of the Week

With April Fools’ it comes as no surprise that tech companies around the world would come up with obscure news and events for their products. From unfair game modes to personalized weather vents on planes, April Fools’ always gets interesting. But this year, Google grabbed everyone’s attention with their Google Maps Pokemon Challenge. 150 Pokemon were hidden through the Google Maps world and would-be Pokemon Masters around the world spent hours capturing Pokemon. But alas, with only 150 of  the 719 existing species available for capture, a true Pokemon Master will only exist in the Pokemon games. Maybe next year. . . .

I wanna be..the very best

Microsoft Allegedly Acquiring Augmented Reality IP

April 1, 2014

Those Microsoft guys are a bunch of ipsters. Also, this is not a joke. The Germans don’t do that. 

Image from ODG Patent for "Virtual Reality Headset"

Do not adjust your browser- this is not the Oculus Rift.

While everyone and the internet was gushing about the strange and confusing (yet, oddly satisfying) purchase of Oculus by Facebook for around $2 billion, TechCrunch broke a story that Microsoft had quietly purchased a hundred million odd dollars worth of IP from the Osterhout Design Group (ODG).

According to Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch, Microsoft walked away from the deal with more than 80 patents in the wearable technology and Augmented Reality space, including the image above (which looks suspiciously like the Oculus).

Since Microsoft has neither denied nor commented on any of this information, speculation abounds at how they might apply this newly-purchased technology, but all roads seem to lead to a Project Morpheus-like gaming system that will interface with Microsoft’s existing and popular IP, their XBox gaming system.

What does this mean?

I was strolling around the 2014 San Francisco Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) the other day and it was a bit of a shock: major companies like Sony showing tethered VR experiences; new form factors like SeeBright debuting; Kickstarter projects like Omni drawing lines; the newest version of the Oculus Rift inaccessible beyond a 2 hour wait. The common denominator was gaming, which seems to be the driving force for these new Virtual Reality devices and experiences. Even if all of this is just a reaction to the early success of the Oculus, a rising tide floats all boats- expect VR to enjoy a prolonged reprieve, and of course immersive and interactive software like augmented reality to keep powering it.

Metaio has a significant amount of research & development already invested into wearable computing and immersive environments. Whether it’s Google Glass, Oculus Rift, or some as-of-yet unreleased or unpublished device, Metaio will be sure to evaluate it for the future of interactive technology.



The Rise of 3-D Cameras turns AR into the Next User Interface

February 26, 2014

Most people don’t realize that the all-time fastest selling consumer electronic device is essentially a 3-D depth camera. The Microsoft Kinect was the first major release of a device that had the power to understand its surroundings, detect movement and gestures and even identify real world objects – and it was really just a companion to an already popular gaming device.

The overwhelming success of the Kinect began a steady rise in interest in what 3-D and depth cameras could do for consumer electronics that leads to 2014. Even before the end of 2013 there were already some major shifts as large companies like Apple suddenly entered the space. Other companies like Intel and NVIDIA shortly announced what most of the mobile industry had been anticipating-that they too, had been working on 3-D depth cameras. Their focus wasn’t gaming, but rather taking the same technology and making it mobile- smaller, and embedded into future mobile devices.

Apple Acquires PrimeSense

Whenever Apple does something related to the AR industry, everyone in it takes notice. It got out that Apple had been quietly filing patents for things like semi-transparent iPads and other computer-vision device elements, but when they purchased PrimeSense for $360 million it was the biggest endorsement of camera technology since the company purchased Polar Rose, a facial-recognition startup, in 2010.

PrimeSense was the technology behind the original Kinect project (then entitled “Natal”) before Microsoft opted for its own in-house technology, but it didn’t stop PrimeSense from iterating and, most importantly, developing for a mobile future. One of the most recent models before the acquisition, the Capri, was already in test on mobile devices – and the company claims they have an even smaller model in the works.

The most likely candidate for implementation is the Apple TV. Maybe it’s the similarity and meteoric success of the Kinect that begs the comparison, but Apple has shown it has its own way of doing things (note the lack of a Google Glass competitor). PrimeSense technology could even show up in the next iPad.

Intel RealSense


At a press conference at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show, Intel’s Senior Vice President for perceptual computing, Mooly Eden, got on stage to reveal a 3-D camera the size of his index finger – part of Intel’s new “RealSense” initiative to take perceptual computing (gesture, voice and facial recognition among other areas) into the mainstream. Meanwhile, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, was kicking off the Consumer Electronics Show with his own keynote full of announcements and reveals of next-generation technology, including augmented reality and wearable computing. In his presentation, Eden revealed that companies like Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Asus, HP and Fujitsu were already working on integrating the technology into their devices. These companies mostly deal in laptops, but the Ultrabooks are basically mobile devices with keyboards that run Windows PC and, according to Krzanich’s keynote, a native Android operating systems. Unlike the Kinect, Eden notes that this is a “close range” technology, which could potentially reinvent the way consumers can use electronic device to interact with the world, from entertainment to enterprise. Intel also announced the integration of 3-D augmented reality tracking by Metaio yet another step that shows they’re taking depth and virtual interaction seriously.

SoftKinetic joins forces with NVIDIA and Makerbot

SoftKinetic recently announced its partnerships with both NVIDIA, one of the leading OEMs, and Makerbot, the most famous 3-D printing company. SoftKinetic occupies some great real estate in the 3-D camera world: they offer both the hardware and the middleware for their powerful DepthSense time-of-flight USB camera.

Much like RealSense (and unlike Kinect), this approach makes for a shallower (i.e. closer to the user) form of gesture recognition, which is what NVIDIA may be shipping in its Tegra Note 7.

SoftKinetic has already done something similar with Ubisoft for the Just Dance PS4 game, but as mentioned earlier the entertainment focus seems to be moving more toward a general consumer interest, with software and hardware that would allow mobile users to control their devices from “afar.” Hands not free? Soiled from cooking or working? Just wave your fingers in front of the device. For Makerbot, the SoftKinetic 3-D scanning would allow for a more streamlined 3-D model creation pipeline, from virtual inception to actual production. At first glance this partnership doesn’t seem quite as significant as one with NVIDIA, but think about being able to scan nearly any object, environment or maybe even face for later recognition or reference.

What does it mean for Augmented Reality?

Content creation has always been a slight bottleneck for AR- 3-D modeling can be expensive and time-consuming. Even large companies with extensive 3-D libraries need those files to be converted and optimized for mobile. Not unkindly: some 3-D models of heavy products like cars or machinery can number in the gigabytes- not very mobile-friendly

With on-the-fly 3-D scanning, companies could scan in objects and components to later use for AR training and maintenance scenarios, similar to those produced by Mitsubishi Electric and Volkswagen. Scanning is a great asset, but the true value in 3-D cameras comes from their ability to help the software better recognize and understand its surroundings. Before depth, AR experiences had trouble determining if an object was in the foreground or background. This may seem like a mundane achievement, but it becomes far more significant when the goal is to overlay relevant and contextual information for the user.

Leviathan – A Whale of a Tale

February 25, 2014

LEVIATHAN was originally inspired by the steampunk universe of the Scott Westerfeld novel of the same name- an alternate universe where the British empire genetically engineers wondrous whale-like beasts that soar amid hot-air-balloon jellyfish. Though fantastical and as far as one can get from consumer electronics, this was the back drop for what transpired at the 2014 CES Intel booth.

The Cinematic Art World Building Media Lab of the University of Southern California (USC) worked closely with Intel Labs, the innovation arm of the giant chipset company, to bring the world of Leviathan to Las Vegas in a narrative-driven experience that no visitor would forget.

CES attendees and visitors to the Intel Booth were treated to daily shows were they could watch a digital story unfold before them. Starting on the main screen, the giant Leviathan “whale” would swim through the sky, only to turn and head directly for the foreground of the video screen. Visitors were instructed to hold up the Intel Ultrabooks that had been passed out to them and watch as the creature emerged from the video screen and proceeded to drift slowly over the entire audience.


Unlike any other augmented reality experience, every single visitor with an Ultrabook was viewing the same exact content but from their own relative position. It was as if a portal had opened into a different universe, accessible only through the wonder of the participants and the mysterious magic of emerging technology.

It’s clear from Intel’s press release that this is exactly the kind of effect they want to bring consumers in the near future: LEVIATHAN is a new storyworld, powered by Intel technology and USC imagination. We, along with other explorers in the entertainment industry, are building these world and beginning to deliver them to audiences. In five years, will your living room become a portal to these new storyworlds? Will you be able to step inside these worlds like Alice stepping through the looking glass, and explore new kinds of stories. We think so.

Tawny Schlieski of Intel Labs, one of the researchers responsible for launching the experience, said “Intel is exploring this new narrative platform with tools that enable artists and technologists to collaborate, integrate, and create immersively from the earliest inception of story, while giving fans the ability to move and play naturally built virtual worlds.”

Metaio utilized cutting-edge sensor fusion and the latest tracking technology in order to bring this world to reality. In order for each Ultrabook to sync with the augmented content, Metaio developed indoor-position protocols that would enable a virtually seamless user experience.


According to Intel and USC, this is the first of “many storyworlds” the two organizations plan to build and install. Metaio looks forward to working with them again, and hopes to be part of something as unique and immersive as the LEVIATHAN experience in the near future.

For more information on upcoming projects, check out http://digitalrim.org.

Weekest Links: Mid February

February 18, 2014

Even the Simpsons are getting their AR on. 

Image from Buzzfeed.com

Image from Buzzfeed.com

Metaio | Junaio Recap

Metaio featured in BBC Click and ARTE Futuremag [Augmented Blog]

InsectARium – Beyond a Bug in a Box [Junaio Blog]

OGC, Wikitude, Layar, and Metaio invite Mobile World Congress attendees to AR Interoperability Demo [Wikitude]

Augmented Reality Across the World

Savvy Brands Are Using Apps Instead of Ads to Get Messages Across [Time]

Making Computing More Human with Wearable Tech [Designers of Things]

Beyond Glass: Inside Epson’s Scheme to Make the De-Facto Smart Glasses [SlashGear]

Augmented Reality is a Missed Opportunity for Marketers [The Guardian]

The latest marketing issues blog, brought to you by The Marketing Agencies Association.

Only Genuine Augmented Reality Eyewear App to Deliver Richest Experience for Motorcyclists [Digital Journal]

Augmented Reality Innovators, 6 Companies to Look Out For [Neon Tommy]

castAR rocks the Augmented World [AR Dirt]

Upcoming Events

Mobile World Congress. Come visit us next week in Hall 8.1 booth 8.1G47! [Mobile World Congress]

Webinar –  Continuous Visual Search: A Basic Introduction [Metaio Developer Portal]

Pick of the Week

There isn’t anything as fun as hanging out with the guys from BBC Click. Check out Dan Simmons’s trip to Audi’s research headquarters here and at 14 minutes in the video below.

Weekest Links: February 10th

February 10, 2014

Love is in the AR.


Wicked Slopes Bro.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

Quantified Reality: How AR is teaching us more about our customers [Augmented Blog]

Augmented Reality Raises GERD Awareness [Augmented Blog]

Nitro Snowboard Co. Spices Up Marketing with Augmented Reality [Junaio Blog]

Webinar: How Will Augmented Reality Change Business in 2014? (Will be up on the Dev Portal soon!) [Youtube]

Interesting Stuff Happening

Perceptual Computing: From Science Fiction to Science Fact [Technology Spectator]

Word Lens adds the Russian language for the Olympics [Android Authority]

Interview with Technical Illusions about CastAR [VentureBeat]

Amazon adds Flow to its Shopping App [CNET]

AR Hackathon in Vancouver [Eventbrite]

Upcoming Events

Mobile World Congress: We’ll be there, want to come with us? [Facebook]

Sorry folks, no webinar this week. Hopefully this will make up for it.

Pick of the Week

I’m pretty sure Indiana Jones was really looking for this Ark. An awesome Augmented Reality projection-mapping project in Oaxaca by AntiVJ. They’ve done some amazing work so be sure to check out their website.

Combining AR & VR – William Steptoe’s AR-Rift

December 12, 2013

You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.

Many people have heard of the Oculus Rift and seen its capabilities (if not I highly recommend visiting their website and successful Kickstarter page). The Oculus Rift was built originally for Virtual Reality gaming and wasn’t intended to run Augmented Reality, but with their growing developer community, someone was bound to make it happen. . . .


Meet William Steptoe, a post-doctoral research associate in the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at University College London and creator of the AR-Rift.


Jarvis, initiate the Party Time protocol.

Yes, the AR-Rift. Because the Oculus Rift is a VR system it was developed without the optical instruments  needed to provide a live feed of the real world that augmented reality relies on. That’s where Steptoe comes in; he’s mounted two modified Logitech C310 cameras onto an Oculus Rift to create a new system capable of switching between virtual and augmented reality simply through the press of a (virtual) button.

I’ll leave most of the technical information and explanations to Steptoe’s website, but essentially the two Logitech cameras take in visual information at the same eye level the Oculus Rift provides its video. This allows the Oculus Rift to play back the video with an incredibly low latency (for both wired and wireless connections) for an impressive visual display of your surroundings.  But before it reaches the Oculus Rift, Steptoe takes that video and develops his augmented experience.

Look, Ma! New hands!

Using two separate hand sensors (the Panel and the Manipulator), Steptoe is able to create and manipulate the virtual objects he casts out into the real world. His demonstration includes 3-D capsules, balls (that also bounce with gravity), and cubes along with movable web screens and virtual avatars. He doesn’t stop there though; Steptoe also includes a VR mode that transports all of the active augmented content into a virtual environment.

Steptoe’s project has pretty much blown us away. For more information feel free to check out Steptoe’s thorough documentation on his website and watch his video demonstration below. We’re really excited to see what else Steptoe can do and where he goes with his technology.

Xcope – Creating an Immersive AR|VR Experience

November 29, 2013

Smart devices . . . smart devices everywhere.

With all the talk of smart glasses and smart watches and smart bras one can’t help but wonder what might happen to their predecessor: smart phones. Sure, phones have been around for years and having the most advanced, smartest phone is possibly the most technologically trendy device a person could own. But something designed specifically for your hands can’t be used anywhere else . . . could it?

A New Challenger Approaches . . .

This time let go of your conscious self and act on instinct.

Meet Xcope, the Virtual & Augmented Reality Headset for Smartphones designed by Xyson Labs. Xcope is a headset specifically designed for smartphones to create an immersive augmented or virtual reality experience with just your smartphone.

Borrowed a little visual.

Xcope works by slipping your smart phone into a fitted slit which goes over your eyes much like a pair of goggles. Your field of vision is limited to whatever you can see on your device: game, movie, video, whatever you’re engaged with. The monoscope optics give a theater-like feel with a lens designed to improve screen size and quality making it great for watching shows or using AR channels (*Junaio*). The stereoscope optics separates the your eyes’ vision and shifts their perspectives slightly to create 3-D images for 3-D movies and virtual reality. Add a bluetooth controller or another input device and you’re set for a full VR experience.

Unlike Google Glass, castAR and other smart glasses technologies, Xcope takes an already powerful, widely used technology – smart phones – and adapts them for similar results. Of course there are obvious drawbacks but  unlike other phone headsets, Xcope is specifically designed for developers so they can eventually take the technology where they want, especially for the stereoscopic fitting. Imagine adding eye tracking, bluetooth controllers and head motion sensitive tracking to your favorite game and suddenly you’ve got developers doing something even more amazing. Interested? Check out their website and Kickstarer page for more information.

Double, double toil and trouble.

Metaio CEO Thomas Alt Discusses Augmented Reality For Smartwatches, Google Glass And More

November 26, 2013


Today in TechCrunch, Metaio CEO Thomas Alt sits down with Jay Donovan to discuss the state of augmented reality and wearable devices. Read on and learn all about the exciting announcements and developments that have happened since InsideAR 2013!

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Augmented Reality pioneers Metaio hardly qualify as a startup these days (being incorporated since 2003 and funded by a stream of project work from the likes of Volkswagen and IKEA), but they behave very much like a startup and are constantly inventing new systems for their considerable augmented reality SDK.

Many of their yearly announcements come from an annual event called insideAR that they host in their hometown of Munich, Germany.

This year there were many announcements. Everything from their new “Edge-Based Tracking” methodology to the new augmented reality browser they built for Google Glass called Junaio Mirage. The event took place in October, but I recently had a chance to speak with Metaio CEO Thomas Alt and discuss some of these announcements in greater detail along with his viewpoint on the general state of augmented reality today. You can read the interview below (or just skip to the…

View original 1,882 more words

Weekest Links November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Note from the editor: As much as I love puns and defunct British game shows, I’ll be renaming “Weekest Links” in the near future. 

LeVar Burton [Geordi!] on Google Glass: “It disturbed me.” [engadget

Metaio | Junaio Recap

  • Augmented Reality has changed the gaming universe [Augmented Reality Trends]
  • The Metaio Creator 3.0: A user’s experience [blog]
  • Xcope: Virtual & Augmented Reality Headset [Kickstarter]
  • Brendan Scully talks about how AR will revolutionalize maintenance and information transfer [video]

There are things that are happening

  • Smartphones + Smart Glasses: Augmented Reality to jump 333% by 2018 [VentureBeat]
  • Google Glass second-hand sales no longer disabled [SlashGear]
  • Six new technologies set to lift off in 2014 [StartupSmart]
  • Augmented Reality projection turns windshield into navigation screen [PSFK]
  • Google’s augmented reality game Ingress is coming to all Android owners next month [FastCompany]


  • Did you miss InsideAR 2013? Check out photos from the event and catch up on what you missed! [photos]
  • All the InsideAR presentations from Day 1 and Day 2 are available on Metaio’s YouTube page [youtube.com/metaioAR]

Pick of the week: Blow Up Traffic App

I’m sure some of you out there appreciate this. I’m looking at you, people who drive in Connecticut.


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