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.

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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.

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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!

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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: www.insideAR2014.com.

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


Augmented Reality Provides Window into the Past with Berlin Wall Timetraveler App

September 22, 2014

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How do you explain to a child where the Berlin Wall once stood? Or how it felt to live in its shadow? For those who did not live during the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall it is hard to imagine what it must have been like; yet the crowds still gather around the Wall Memorial to this day, and tales of the “death strip” still command the attention of curious visitors.

To commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, Metaio and Timetraveler Augmented Ltd. are presenting the Timetraveler application. Using cutting-edge Augmented Reality (AR) technology from Metaio, the history of the Berlin Wall can be experienced like never before. Users of the Timetraveler app can witness hidden film footage, reconstructions of long demolished sites, and explanatory tales of the division that the nation of Germany experienced in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Metaio Certified Developer mCrumbs was also included in the development of the application.

The Timetraveler app turns any smartphone (Android & iOS) into a window to the past, providing a completely new way to dive into the history of Berlin. The app guides the user through a GPS-based tour of eleven major historical sites along the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Street. Once guided to the appropriate locations by GPS, the application switches to optical tracking mode where it recognizes sites and then displays stories of events that happened over five decades ago. Witness firsthand the dramatic escape of Frida Schulze from her apartment window, see the demolition of the Church of Reconciliation, and watch as the border guard Conrad Schuman jumps the barbed wire barrier between East and West Berlin. With smartphone in hand, anyone can now become an eyewitness to historical events right where they took place.

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The Timetraveler App will be presented at InsideAR – the world’s leading Augmented Reality Conference – on October 29th/30th. Join us there, Early Bird tickets are still available.

InsideAR Munich 2014

Download the free Lite version of the Timetraveler App here and try it on the website: Android or iOS.

Become an eyewitness to history!


AR Weekly – Beginning of September

September 2, 2014

ARen’t you glad I didn’t say it’s Monday?

Courtesy of YouTube and IKEA

Courtesy of YouTube and IKEA

Metaio | Junaio Recap

InsideAR Speaker Spotlight: Ronald Azuma [Augmented Blog]

Introducing Metaio Advanced Partner: 3D Studio Blomberg [Augmented Blog]

Don’t have 3D models? Try 2.5D! [Augmented Blog]

Augmented Reality News

What Nikola Tesla and augmented reality have in common [Technical.ly]

App tap into students’ aptitude for learning [The Age]

Gen-Next Skully-AR-1 helmet arrives with augmented reality display, rear view camera and more [Daily Bhaskar]

Star Walk 2 App Review [PASTE Magazine]

Augmented reality mobile application [Manila Standard Today]

Augmented Reality Technology Becomes More Immersive [Mobile Commerce Press]

ORA-1 Glasses to Put Android On Your Face [Tom's Guide]

Disney’s ‘Mayhem at the Mansion’ Augmented Reality Game Now Available for Download [Stitch Kingdom]

Augmented Reality Helps in Troubleshooting [PCB Design 007]

Leap Motion’s next sensor is designed specifically for virtual reality [Mashable]

Marketing a product that doesn’t exist yet [BizCommunity.com]

Epson Welcomes JBKnowledge to Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses Developer Program [Herald Online]

Furniture Shopping with Augmented Reality [MIT Technology Review]

Virtual Reality Could Help Teach Sustainable Habits, Change Long Term Behavior [Huffington Post]

A Headset Meant to Make Augmented Reality Less of a Gimmick [MIT Technology Review]

A Smart Helmet That Gives Riders Eyes in the Back of Their Heads [Entrepreneur]

Augmented Reality Untethers SAP [SAP Events]

Upcoming Events

Webinar – Engine Creative and Tesco Discover – AR Publishing for Brands [Register Here]

SXSW Panel Picker – HoloGramma: How Tech Can ‘Bring Back’ Our Departed [Vote Here]

InsideAR Beijing, September 5th [Info Here]

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

Pick of the Week

As one of the most iconic uses of Augmented Reality, the IKEA Catalog App recently released its third iteration. Check out the video below to see the update in action and be sure to try it out for yourself through Google Play and iTunes.


Xenium Digital: Augmented Reality made in India

July 30, 2014

xenium-logoXenium Digital, a Metaio Certified Developer  from India, is constantly researching and developing new ways that Augmented Reality can be used to enhance consumer experience in the Indian Market. Thus, it is not a surprise to see many well-known clients from industries such as medicine, automobile, real estate and entertainment team up with Xenium to create AR on ground activations and mobile apps for their end consumers.

AR Therapy for Cancer Patients

AR_therapy_2The interactive “AR Therapy for Cancer Patients”  app is a perfect solution for medical professionals who are trying to promote their anti-cancer drugs at medical conferences. This dedicated AR app was designed with the Metaio SDK for the iOS platform, and is targeted at highly qualified doctors. The idea was to communicate the story behind the medicine in a better way and to provide the patients with a simpler way of understanding the way these anti-cancer drugs would affect them.

The app augments a mannequin -with an ID marker – into a real patient and uses case studies to illustrate the different diseases. Then, 3D models of the drugs were presented to demonstrate their efficacy at suppressing the disease.

From 3-D oil in action to TIGERTRAC

With regards to Augmented Reality in the automotive industry – an AR app using the Metaio AR platform was developed for Castrol. The app exclusively targets dealers and sales representatives to help them promote Castrol’s recently launched product, the Magnatec Start-Stop Engine Oil.

The AR app features the new 3D oil in action. First, through the help of 3D animation, the app brings the idea behind Castrol’s new label design to life. When the label of the oil bottle is scanned with an Android powered device, the app shows the special molecules that the oil is made of with Augmented Reality. It then follows up with a video of the product’s brand story. The app is designed to work perfectly on high-end devices.

Xenium Digital, along with Lakshya Media, also created a live augmented reality activation for TVS Tyres. Their objective was to promote their latest product, the AGRI RADIAL TYRE – TIGERTRAC, at the REIFEN 2014 fair in an innovative way.

The idea was to create an AR activation featuring the Royal Bengal Tiger walking among the tires and audience members. The tigers’ movements around the AGRI RADIAL TYRE were well choreographed so to provide realistic interaction with the visitors. The visitor could also take pictures with the tigers, which were later shared with them. Created with the state of the art Metaio SDK for AR and enhanced with realistic graphics and audio, the activity effectively captivated the audience.

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Lekar Hum Deewana Dil

With the release date of the movie “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil” quickly approaching, Eros International – with the expertise of Xenium Digital – wanted to promote it in the most interactive way possible. Their objective was to create a unique AR engagement platform for the audience to experience special moments with the actors. The end result was an on ground activation – created with the Metaio SDK – called Groove with Armaan and Deeksha. Visitors to Mumbai malls were able to show off their dance skills alongside the movie’s lead actors, Armaan and Deeksha, to the song “Khalifa”.

Watch the video here:


Vectorform shows visionary sales application for Google Glass

July 24, 2014

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Hardly any technology in recent times has been as controversial to society  as Google Glass. Many have opinions, yet few have actually had the opportunity to experience the device first-hand. When it comes to “true” Augmented Reality, what is Glass really capable of? Vectorform – one of the leading agencies for technology and design  has for some time now been hard at work developing applications for mobile devices such as data glasses.

In association with Mediaplus and Serviceplan, Vectorform has become the first company in Germany to develop an AR vehicle exploration tool. Launching on the BMW i8 hybrid supercar,  the Augmented Reality technology powered by Metaio (SDK) combined with Google Glass allows users a first-hand look at the super-cool BMW i8 like never before:

“While the social acceptance often lags behind in new technologies, companies need to seize the opportunity early in order to remain competitive. The Google Glass technology here makes use of new approaches and perspectives for marketing, service, production and sales, “said Alissia Iljaitsch, Executive Director Vectorform EMEA. “Pioneering new technologies are often the automobile manufacturers. In the sale of modern vehicles, the revolutionary glasses offers exactly to the important framework to highlight specific features into focus and to emphasize the innovation of the vehicles.””

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Identify internal and external values ​​with Google Glass

When promoting a vehicle to new buyers, companies often only have a short window of attention to present new and unique features. As such, innovative communication methods are always valuable. Google Glass combines the actual car exploration experience with the digital world in order to offer prospective buyers a completely new way of seeing the i8.

Here’s the application at a glance: Distributed around the vehicle are various “touch points” where Google Glass recognizes the contours of the car using Metaio 3D tracking technology. The first touch point demonstrates the new laser headlights by projecting virtual light beams right out of the car’s lamps. Subsequent touch points  illuminate the inner workings of the chassis or illustrate drive-train components with an  “X-ray” view. In addition, the aerodynamic shape of the vehicle is demonstrated using a virtual wind current that smoothly curves and swirls around the car’s bodywork. This “augmented reality” experience accompanies the buyer in a special way during the customer journey and delivers an innovative sales tool for an equally innovative vehicle.

Framework thought as an important element

During the development of the Google Glass App, the implementation of an appropriate content management system played an essential role. This allows Vectorform to easily update and support content (such as images, videos and texts) directly by the company itself. This ensures the application brings added value on an ongoing basis, rather than being a one-off demonstration.

We would like to congratulate Vectorform and their partners on this excellent application. We are very proud that our software encourages developers and creative agencies like you to create such great Augmented Reality!

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InsideAR Tokyo 2014: From Wearable 3-D Sensors to turning the world into a TouchScreen

July 24, 2014

InsideAR Tokyo – the 2nd edition – is over and has been a huge success for us. We thank all participants and partners from Cybernet, Intel, Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, Erba Holdings and Vuzix! This year we invited a diverse group of exhibitors, which we believe are of high interest for Japanese customers.
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Over 300 guests from 192 companies joined us to be in the center of AR innovations; we saw huge interest from a very diverse groups of participants – from  3D designers to app developers to  large players who have been  developing their own AR algorithms for over a decade now and looking into utilizing AR for high-accuracy industrial applications. Most importantly, the Gurus of AR and MR joined us on stage to share their knowledge, their success stories and collaboratively discuss the path of AR development for the upcoming year.

2nd edition rocked: InsideAR Tokyo tripled its attendees

InsideAR has a format of an open conference and everyone is invited to present their vision on the technology and exhibit their innovations. We hope you enjoyed the live demonstrations, workshops, and were -most importantly-  inspired by the speeches from the leaders of the industry: Prof. Kato, Canon, Intel, Epson, Fujitsu, Erba Holdings, Vuzix, and many more who contributed to making this conference bigger than last year: we are proud of tripling the number of attendees and doubling the amount of speakers.

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Best feedback from our guests in the visitor’s survey!

 

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Wearable 3D Sensors are the most driving innovation in the AR field, today. Augmented Reality on Head-Mounted-Displays was one of the main topics on the agenda. It was, represented by renowned manufacturers, such as Epson (who teamed up with Mitsubishi to demonstrate the AR Maintenance scenario on the Aircon unit) and Vuzix, but also by the new players in the field, as Brillianservice (Mirama Glass with gesture control) and Westunitis (ultralight inforod glass aimed for industrial tasks). Metaio also showcased scenarios on Google Glass.
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R&D insights

Turning the whole world into a touchscreen could be realized by a visionary approach from Metaio’s R&D Labs. The Thermal Touch is a patented future method of triggering AR on a selected object. RGB sensors combined with an infrared camera help to register a person’s heat signature on any surface and then combine it with Metaio’s AR software.

However, it was not all about wearables. From Intel, Canon, Fujitsu and NGrain we received insights on Industrial AR approaches used today, and were excited by all the possibilities.

The workshop presentations are available to download on our website.

 


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And what says the team?

Here is some feedback from our team members who helped organise the conference this year:

Dr. Irina Gusakova, Senior Product Sales Manager:

“We were very pleased to see so many new corporations joining us for InsideAR Tokyo this year – united in our goal to make the Japanese AR segment bigger and better. Metaio has a very strong relationship with its Eco-system in Japan, as it has always been one of the top markets for our company, and we like to believe that our customers would say the same about Metaio. Japan became a new home for Junaio, a broad circle of local developers here brought to life some of the most successful campaigns, such as Penguin Navi or Starbucks. This is a very positive sign for us, it means we are doing a good job, and are appreciated by both our developers and users.

We received very positive feedback around the conference and the current trend makes us believe that 2015 we will meet you all again in Tokyo!”

Matthias Greiner, Senior Business Development Manager Junaio:

“It was a great experience to visit Tokyo and insideAR 2014  this year. Being in one of the most exciting cities in the world, having interesting discussions with AR specialists from all over Asia, getting in touch with impressive technology demos and, of course, the delicious Japanese food has made insideAR 2014 a great happening. Japan is one of the most interesting and fastest growing AR markets today. It was amazing to talk to local developers and technology providers and having the chance to learn about their current and future AR projects.”

Thomas Berton,Software Engineer

“InsideAR Tokyo 2014 was,in my opinion,. a very successful event. This was made possible Not only because we had great speakers but also because our  guests  were very interested in the technology. We can definitely see that wearables are one of the next generation of devices that are promoting Augmented Reality. I was personally impressed by the number of wearables that are now available on the market, all of them having their own special customization. Amazing!”

Sudhanshu Kapoor, Business Development Manager OEMs:

“When they first told me that I was going to be on a plane to Tokyo next week, I was the happiest person on the planet. It has always been a dream of mine to go to Japan – I not only wanted to witness the Japanese hi-tech world but also wanted to present my hi-tech solutions to them. Fortunately,  “insideAR Tokyo 2014”  was a great success- we got such a great and warm response from the visitors. It was a busy and exciting time I had no time to even take a coffee break OR click a few pictures. I was asked so many sincerely technical questions from our Japanese visitors, that not only showed their affection towards Augmented Reality, but also the growing awareness of it among developers, and hi-tech enthusiasts.

As I drive Metaio´s hardware IP division – primarily promoting and licensing our AREngine to  chipset OEMs-  it was very impressive to see that the visitors really acknowledged such need of having HW acceleration to enable “Always ON, Always Augmented” scenarios. All in all, it was a great trip to Japan – InsideAR, Japanese hospitality, amazing vegetarian food, well managed transport, respect towards rules, their culture, warmness,…. and what not. Looking forward to being there again for much longer time now!”

We are happy that all our guests made it an unforgettable event! See you in Japan next year for the 3rd edition of InsideAR Tokyo! 

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A guestpost by Dr. Irina Gusakova


Doing Magic with Augmented Reality… for real!

July 17, 2014

A guestpost by Andreea Raducan

If you could do magic, what would be your favorite trick? Well, some might say: “let’s make money!” So too did Simon Pierro  with his “How to get rich…!” magic trick, which he is now sharing with everyone in an amazing video proving that it is truly possible!

What is the mystery behind the “AR Money”?

The key ingredients are: a brilliant mind, some Augmented Reality “magic”, plus a sprinkle of “real” magic. From these three elements, the AR part is perhaps the easiest one. Since Simon is already equipped with the other two, all he had to do was to contact Metaio for support with the Augmented Reality part.  It all started in 2010, when he first discovered AR and its potential. At a time when AR was known only to a few, Simon found Metaio: a team he describes as “very flexible, creative and open to new ideas”, with extensive knowledge and experience in Augmented Reality. Together, they built the “Christmas show ”. “We had lots of fun” he said, and “stayed in contact for a long time”. According to him, “Metaio is very reliable”, both in terms of technology and as partners. This is why he decided to contact Metaio again in 2014 – to “be creative together”.

Where is the boundary between Augmented Reality and the real magic?

You probably noticed the hand-drawn dollar bills in the video. The role of AR in this trick is to digitally recognize (or “track”) these bills and “transform” them into realistic looking ones on the display of the device. One remarkable feature in this tracking process is the stability and robustness of the rendering: the digital banknotes follow precisely the movement of the physical ones under the tablet.

However, the “real” magic happens afterwards, when the physical, hand-drawn banknotes are transformed into real physical ones. Brilliant, isn’t it?

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So how does he manage to do this? You might wonder.

Well, as much as I wanted to find out myself, I could not convince him to reveal his secret. What I did manage to do, is to discover how ideas come to his mind. Unlike others might think, “Inspiration doesn’t just come out of the blue”, Simon says, “You need to concentrate on what you do and look for opportunities around you, never stop thinking! Then, when you have an idea, you just have to believe in it and work hard to make it happen. You need to make efforts to find that idea and then to bring it to life; it will not happen magically.”

Thus did the “How to get rich..!” idea become reality. When Simon discovered AR, he became “absolutely fascinated” by the technology. “The factor that AR and magic have in common is that they both make things appear and disappear”. The question for him was, how to bring these two together and make people believe in both. He was convinced that such a combination would open endless possibilities. He did find a way, and what an incredible way, isn’t it?! Simon just loves to be creative and work with interesting people.

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Simon also loves the freedom of pursuing his ideas, turning visions into reality, while interacting with so many people. He loves seeing the impact his work creates – the reactions he draws from people. Seeing how they relate to his work, “with tears in their eyes”. “Moreover, it is so interesting to see how people from different countries express their emotions and impressions differently!”

I asked Simon what he is doing with all the money. He laughed saying “they all go with my illusion”. When asked about his future ambitions, Simon says “I don’t have plans for the next 10 years. Things are changing so much! For example, 5 years ago I had no clue about Augmented Reality. Who knows what the future will bring?  You should really stay flexible and open.”

For the time being, we are about to witness one of his dreams come true: performing live in front of large public audience. This is something he wished for a long time and which is going happen, as he will be performing his magic tricks live in Mannheim  (October 28) and Munich  (October 29). If you want to see the magic for yourself, this is your chance! Until then, discover more on his website.


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