Weekest Links: Mid-April

April 21, 2014

Augmented Easter Eggs, Augmented Easter Eggs everywhere

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Image courtesy of EE Times

Metaio | Junaio Recap

Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality [Phys.org]

Technical insight into the 2014 DLD Museum Tour: An Augmented Reality exhibit for the Bavarian National Museum [Augmented Blog]1

Happy Easter to all of you! [Junaio Blog]

Argyle Social shuts down, Metaio bids farewell to an amazing service [Augmented Blog]

Leviathan – A Whale of a Tale [iQ]

Into the Wild: Metaio goes Re:publica [Augmented Blog]

How to Leverage AR and Multimodal Interaction in Your Mobile Projects [SAP Community Network]

Red Cell White Cell – An AR Book [Junaio Blog]

Update: Audi eKurzinfo now available for Q3, RSQ3 and A3 g-tron [Augmented Blog]

AR Technology of the Week: Augmented Reality SDK for Virtual Shopping by Metaio [Smart Reality]

Land Rover – Augmented Cars in a New Way [Augmented Blog]

Shopping on the run: The new Decathlon brochure uses Augmented Reality [Junaio Blog]

3 Reasons to Work for Metaio – Impressions for a “Newbie” [Augmented Blog]

Augmented Reality News

Ghostman Augmented Reality System Lets You Learn from a Teacher’s Perspective [Technabob]

BMW vision future luxury integrates augmented reality display [Designboom]

How a Mobile Device Can Save Your Life: Augmented Reality Surgery [iQ]

Nike fires majority of FuelBand team, will stop making wearable hardware [CNET]

Mashing-Up Augmented Reality and Cutting-Edge Technology [Manufacturing.net]

Samsung Patent Leaks Point to Google Glass Competitor [EE Times]

Toyota Has A Tron Bike [Popular Science]

Leviathan: The Future of Storytelling [The Creators Project]

Land Rover’s ‘invisible bonnet’ technology [The Telegraph]

Upcoming Events

Metaio at Re:publica 14 [Re:publica]

Pick of the WeeK

With the Augmented World Expo coming just around the corner, everyone is getting geared up to see all the new augmented reality technologies. If you’re interested in seeing where augmented reality will go in the future check out AWE: NY’s The Future of Augmented Reality Panel. Steve Feiner, Ken Perlin, John Havens, and Trak Lord provide some very insightful commentary about augmented reality its future.


Technical insight into the 2014 DLD Museum Tour: An Augmented Reality exhibit for the Bavarian National Museum

April 17, 2014

This week we offered once again an Augmented Reality museum walk through together with the Bavarian National Museum in Munich and were overwhelmed by all the attention we got afterwards via different blogs (like in the Huffington Post Germany )and in the social networks. This attention shows that the topic of Augmented Reality is really interesting both for the museums themselves and also for the visitors. Therefore, we decided to give you a more technical insight into our museum project and asked our developers to talk about the development of our application. Here it is:

Alexei, Nicolai & Kevin - Developers of the Museums AR Experience

Alexei, Nicolai & Kevin – Developers of the Museums AR Experience

Hello, my name is Kevin and I am a member of the creative team here at Metaio.  I worked together with my colleagues Alexei and Nicolai to create the assets and code for the DLD Bavarian National Museum AR experience. 

Built in a very short time, the Bavarian National Museum application was a great opportunity to create a valuable cultural experience with AR technology. It aimed to create a balanced user experience between physical and digital content that could inform and entertain the average museum visitor. We  focused on five pre-selected exhibition pieces and  unveiled them as part of the DLD Conference in Munich.

The Metaio Toolbox: Easily creating 3-D tracking maps

The first step to develop the project was to visit the museum itself in order to come up with some ideas and generate our 3-D tracking maps with the Metaio Toolbox .  Many of the assets would be created off-site so establishing an accurate reference that we could use back in the office was important. This was easy to do with the Metaio Toolbox, and within 2-3 attempts we had a satisfactory 3-D tracking model that we could later use in the Metaio Creator . We could also load our point-clouds into Autodesk products for designing more complicated 3-D content by extracting them as an OBJ file from the Metaio Creator.

During our discussions with the museums curators there was concern that the new digital content would take attention away from the physical artifacts, so we set out to create a design that would keep a respectful balance between the cultural artifacts of the museum and the new digital information we were introducing into the environment. To achieve this we kept AR content to the sides of the physical objects, used discreet 3-D white lines as indicators and semi-transparent backgrounds for our buttons and texts.

The AR pieces in detail:

untitled-3756Tilman Riemenschneider: The Mary Magdalene

In the Mary Magdalene scenario we introduced to the user an audio explanation of the piece, some general background information and a photographic overlay that showed the sculpture’s past place of residence (a church altar that was color-corrected in order to better match the lighting scheme of the room).

 

untitled-3776Conrad Meit’s “Judith with the head of Holofernes.”

In the Judith scenario we connected pieces of explanatory text to the model with 3-D white lines. Supported by a particularly strong 3-D map, the experience provided a great sense of depth and space to the user without distracting from the physical object. In order to ensure that the lines were a pleasant shape and length we imported the reference point cloud into Maya before constructing the 3-D lines.

untitled-3788Jakob Sandtner: The Munich City Model

The Munich city model was a real challenge to us because the lighting conditions in the room were very difficult. Due to the sensitive state of some of the historical pieces, strong lights were not allowed in this particular room. This meant that getting a good 3-D map and lining up content to the physical model involved a lot of trial and error. But we managed, and in the end visitors could see an overlaying map of today’s Munich.

untitled-3803Christoph Jamnitzer: The Moor’s Head

The Moor’s head cup contained three nice reference images of the interior and base of the cup which were not viewable to the visitor. In order to display them and not take away from the physical model we created a thumbnail effect that shrank and grew the images when the user tapped on them. This was done by overlaying the images on to a 3-D object and adding a simple on-click animation in the Metaio Creator along with an additional piece of code to allow for a secondary on-click animation.

untitled-3794Hubert Gerhard: Flying Mercury

In the case of Flying Mercury we displayed large images of other artworks created by the artist. They are “floating” around the sculpture.

Balancing AR and non-AR content

AR tablet experiences have a short viewing time in comparison to other media due to the energy required for navigating the physical space. In a museum there are many different people who are enjoying the exhibition at different paces. To create a more fulfilling experience, we needed to support each AR scenario with a non-AR content section: something people could easily switch to while sitting down and relaxing. This non-AR section contained text, audio and video and was accessible through a button on the bottom of the AR viewing screen. It was built by creating an offline webpage that was then integrated into the AR experience.

A developer’s point of view

Nicolai’s thoughts:

This AR scenario was very generous from a developer’s point of view. Its value derives from the simplicity and unobtrusive way of visualizing the additional, well designed content. In this case it means to me that the design and arrangement of the content together with the stable tracking already contributes a lot to this experience. For this AR experience my colleagues finalized the concepts and designed the assets, as well as combined and positioned everything with the help of the Metaio Creator. The effort as a developer was therefore quite manageable.

untitled-3764My part in this was to integrate the designed webpages and connect them to the exhibits. Those webpages functioned as a user interface, enabling the user to see detailed information and multimedia items. The combination of those webpages into one user interface is fairly straightforward. The user interface basically is a single webpage on top of the camera feed. The Metaio AREL bridge allows you to connect to the underlying renderer with the included JavaScript code.

First of all, the information elements had to be connected to the exhibits. This is done by listening to the respective tracking event. When the event is fired, the according HTML elements are shown.  The difference from regular websites is mainly keeping everything within one HTML file. The CSS and JavaScript files can be included there as well. So instead of linking to another page, these other webpage elements were included into the one HTML overlay file. On request, certain elements are hidden or shown. When it comes to best practice, HTML editors and templates can be a great help when designing those HTML elements. Integrating those files for the overlay, however, can be slow due to the produced overhead in including styles and linking in the first place. Within the web overlay you have all the possibilities that HTML5 has to offer. Next to the AREL API this scenario uses standard HTML5 technology like video and audio tags to include even more media content.

In the end, the AREL Technology enables you to easily create slick and effective user interfaces for your AR scenarios.


Into the Wild: Metaio goes Re:publica

April 14, 2014

Nothing is as it once seemed.

rp13_3

Another year has passed and it’s finally time for Germany’s biggest social media conference again: Re:publica is taking place from May 6 -8 in Berlin. Last year more than 5.000 attendees discussed, over the course of three days, internet policy, network neutrality and the future of social media campaigns.

Augmented Reality was also a hot topic, as you can read in our review from the 2013 Re:publica. This year we join Re:publica again and even have our own booth in the main hall which all people have to enter before spreading out to the keynote and session halls. On Wednesday, May 7, we will offer a short presentation on stage 3 between 12.30 – 1.30 pm: Anett Gläsel-Maslov, Manager PR & Social Media at Metaio, will present our company and some of our latest projects.

About the motto “Into the wild”:

rp14_banner_300x250_1“Re:publica 2014’s motto INTO THE WILD highlights various points of departure for solutions in the internet of the near future. When algorithms turn us transparent and controllable through predictability, perhaps we have to become more unpredictable; dissolving old structures, veering from the well-trodden path in favour of chaos and irrationality, heading INTO THE WILD. Yet this begs the questions: how will we navigate and find one another? How can one whisper into the global net and, in particular, with whom? Will those calling for a free and unrestricted internet not have to face being ever more vigilant and controlling of those who may partake and those who must stay out?

While the omni-surveilled net may have become draughty it will continue to protect its vital interests, learn to sidestep and manoeuvre and continue to develop. During the build-up to re:publica 2014, we will extend INTO THE WILD in search of unexpected technical solutions, surprising impulses stemming from business and politics and look forward to new, unbridled internet culture.” (Source: http://www.re-publica.de)

Looking forward to meeting you in Berlin! 

rp13_2

 

Watch the video for impressions from the 2013 edition of Re:publica:


3 Reasons to Work for Metaio – Impressions from a “Newbie”

April 8, 2014

A guest post by Andreea Raducan

First you may wonder who Metaio is, even after having browsed through the complex website.  Metaio is a company that has been developing software and hardware to provide Augmented Reality business and non-business solutions for more than 11 years. But what is AR? In simple words: it is a technology displaying digital information on top of real life objects via a device’s camera. This is something I have learned recently, shortly before I joined the company. Now, after having discovered more, I wish to share some insights with you and why I believe you would love working with Metaio.

1st reason: The people

It was 31 days ago – my first day at Metaio. I remember it as a sunny day. Was the sun up on the sky? I can’t really tell. What I can tell for sure is that the sun was definitely up in the Metaio offices. This was the case for each of the 31 days I was there until now. And this is a first important reason why Metaio is a place where you would certainly love to work.

Cooking PictureIndeed, bright smiles will cheerfully welcome you on your first day. People will greet you and come spontaneously to introduce themselves until you’ll wonder if there’s anyone left unknown. You’ll hear the most sublime birthday singing, on three voices, orchestrated by the CEO. What more was there to discover in the weeks to come?

Let’s see… I have learned how the word “Team” can refer to a 100+ group of people and be synonym to “family”, how colleagues may gather to just enjoy a beer after-work in the company lounge, how we are free to come by on the weekends and play board games, how fast we can cook our lunch together, how quickly one should race for the birthday cake, or just how skilled our CEO is in bartending. Now you might wonder… CEO & bartending? How do I know about that already?

Very easy: It was the end of my first week when I attended the “Winter Team event”. One of the bi-seasonal events the company organizes to reunite the team and share achievements and future objectives, all in a convivial environment. In the heart of the Alps, two days of hard work & fun. First comes work, with a day full of exciting presentations and workshops. Then, the fun starts again with Looping Louie, Whirlpool, Werewolves, Music and open bar. Literally open. Meaning that the CEO would just go behind the bar and kindly make sure we all have something to drink. And that’s how I know about his bartending competencies. The second day everyone – more or less – recalls the adventures of the previous day, while exploring the heights of the Alps by skiing or hiking.

2014-03-07 21.26.08-2

Thomas Alt serving Peter Meier at the bar

Most important, however, is what I have seen lies behind all the fun: passion, talent, devotion, solidarity, ethics, kindness and sharing; hard-working people with brilliant minds striving to achieve a common goal: bringing Augmented Reality closer to people in a natural way.

2nd reason – The value the team creates

While some would perceive AR as something gimmicky, the work of Metaio can easily prove it wrong. Before I applied for the job, I did not know much about AR. I knew about Google Glass of course, but always from a user perspective, skeptical about its true usefulness. After more research, I have discovered how widely it is used in advertising and gaming, but its functionality doesn’t stop here: specific applications are also being researched or in use already for medicine (teaching or live surgeries), education (chemistry with interactions of elements from the periodic table), automotive, factory planning and plenty of other fields, meant to improve productivity, learning, or even save lives. AR can even help visually impaired people guide their steps more easily, or help hearing-impaired people interact with the world in a new way. How amazing is that? This technology is making a real difference and Metaio has been driving innovation for 11 years already – imagine being part of that!

2014-03-07 16.40.02

Keep calm and augment reality

3rd reason – The value you can bring

Being part of making the difference applies also on a company level. Another advantage of working at Metaio comes from its start-up atmosphere. Not only do people share enthusiasm and passion for their work, but they are also enjoying a high degree of autonomy, responsibility and challenge, making their contribution feel meaningful. What’s more, every two weeks the “Team” reunites in the lounge, where updates are presented and rounds of applause accompany each of the achievements. This is one way Metaio shows recognition for individual merits, making everyone feel valued.

I personally have experienced an amazing first month. And I can’t believe it has only been one month! It feels longer – not because the time was  passing by too slowly – but because I feel like I have known the people for so long already. Moreover, I feel like I have learned so much in such a short time. I feel like we could make a difference! Imagine feeling all that…

If you want to join the Metaio team, check the Metaio careers page!

team_pic


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.

 

 


Weekest Links: First Week of April

March 31, 2014

We have to March into April first

Peter Meier 2

Peter Meier discusses the future of AR in light of the recent Facebook-Oculus purchase.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

#MetaioWearsEpson Sweepstakes! [Augmented Blog]

Virtual Technologies are on the move & Mark Zuckerberg dreams of Augmented Reality [Augmented Blog]

AVK Terway augments Tamaris’ Spring/Summer Collection [Junaio Blog]

Movin’ Klee: A Paul Klee ARt Installation [Augmented Blog]

SLAM: It’s about tracking and mapping your world [Augmented Blog]

Augmented Reality News

One of America’s Largest Hospitals Brings Google Glass to the ER [Fast Company]

Turning the Snake Game into a Location-Based Exergame that Encourages Walking [Youtube]

John Carmack speaks up about Facebook buying Oculus VR [Polygon]

This cool pad and pen lets you sketch in 3D using augmented reality [SPLOID]

Jeri Ellsworth talks castAR’s accidental beginnings and its augmented reality future [Engadget]

Tomorrow’s Cargo Ships Will Use Augmented Reality to Sail the Seas [WIRED]

How Real is Real Time Marketing [Gartner Blog]

From science-fiction to reality — augmented reality that is [Deseret News]

Seebright Headset Creates Smartphone-Powered Virtual Reality [Tom's Guide]

USC is Offering a Google Glass Course for Journalism [Mashable]

Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion [The Verge]

Augmented Reality Is About to Turn Football Into a Real-Life Videogame [WIRED]

Upcoming Events

AWE is just around the corner, will you be attending? [Augmented World Expo]

No webinar this week folks, apologies. Did we mention our giveaway?

Pick of the Week

Even with all the buzz surrounding Facebook’s purchasing Oculus VR and Sony’s Project Morpheus, we can’t help to be excited about the Yelpulus Rift. We’re well on our way to producing some amazing applications for this state of the art device. Look out Oculus and Sony, Yelp’s got your number and they’re coming for you!


Virtual Technologies are on the move & Mark Zuckerberg dreams of Augmented Reality

March 28, 2014

It’s a decisive time for tech industries and we were overwhelmed and thrilled by the announcement of the Metaio AREngine, the developer version of the  Google Glass, Apple buying PrimeSense and Intel announcing RealSense. Intel’s proclamation in Las Vegas to integrate our 3-D tracking technology into the RealSense platform was a huge step for us.  We’ve noticed an tremendous growth in usage, development and interest in Augmented Reality and two major topics around AR dominated 2013: Enterprise and Wearble Computing. The purpose of all these technologies is after all to make our life easier and more natural. But it still takes more money and brains to come closer to this vision.

Oculus Rift at 2013 InsideAR

Oculus Rift at 2013 InsideAR

This week  two announcements rocked the market: HTC bringing out the new HTC One (M8) with a depth-of-field sensor and great possibilities to AR makers. And the huge giant Facebook  who surprised with the announcement two days ago that they will buy Oculus VR, the company developing the Oculus Rift HMD. 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, says: “By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.” For sure!

We’ve asked Peter Meier, CTO and founder of Metaio and a visionary by heart, to talk in an interview about the latest news and to consider them in the context for Augmented Reality:


#MetaioWearsEpson Sweepstakes!

March 27, 2014

FYI: This contest is open to residents of the United States of America only. We will be hosting more sweepstakes and contests worldwide soon and if you sign up for a developer account you’ll be first to know about any upcoming events.

Ever wanted to try out your own augmented reality glasses? Well, we’re excited to announce our partnership with Epson in bringing you the #MetaioWearsEpson Sweepstakes! You could win your very own pair of Moverio BT-200 glasses!

The Moverio BT-200 is the successor to the BT-100 with a smaller, more comfortable frame. Dual screen displays, a front facing camera, and motion sensors allow for a more immersive augmented reality experience. A separate control unit allows you to control the display without relying on vocal input. For more details check out the Moverio BT-200 information page.

Metaio’s software works hand in hand with the Moverio BT-200 because the glasses were built with augmented reality in mind. The Android OS allows for simplified integration of apps (both new and pre-existing) for commercial and industrial uses. Metaio has already taken advantage of this interface and built the first ever guided maintenance app for Mitsubishi Electric. Check out the video here.

All you have to do is fill out this form to enter. Simple enough right? To improve your chances you can participate on Facebook OR Twitter using the #MetaioWearsEpson hashtag. Be sure to read the rules.

Want to know more? Check out the contest rules and registration page and if you have any questions email contests[at]metaio.com. If you’ve already entered be sure to sign up for the upcoming webinar on April 10th, where we’ll announce the winner of the #MetaioWearsEpson sweepstakes!

But really, if you win can we share? I'll take Mondays and Wednesdays.

Don’t you wish you had a pair?


Weekest Links, End of March

March 24, 2014

Welcome to the winning March Madness Bracket. Occupation: not us. 

 

Trak visits  Seebright at GDC.

Metaio | Junaio recap

The Case for Wearable Computing [Augmented Blog]

Metaio releases newest version of Junaio AR Browser with new design, real-time POI visualization and browser interoperability [Augmented Blog]

Metaio releases newest version of the Junaio AR Browser [CIOL]

Metaio at hy! Summit (See Episode 2, Minute 18) [hy! Summit]

Junaio Augmented Reality Browser Revealed [Ubergizmo]

Augmented Reality World News

Pugwash: Augmented reality can be both useful and dangerous [The Tartan]

Augmented Reality and Cloud Gaming [Cloud Tweaks]

“UK’s first” augmented reality property app raises $500,00 [Startups.co.uk]

10 Forthcoming Augmented Reality & Smart Glasses You Can Buy [Hongkiat.com]

Augmented Reality Is About to Turn Football Into a Real-Life Videogame [Wired]

Seebright Reveals Industry’s First Smartphone Integrated AR/VR Head-Mounted Display Platform With Wireless Controller [PR Newswire]

Headset combines virtual and augmented reality with holodeck-like results [Engadget]

Winnipeg company goes for gold with video game [CBC News]

Google reveals Android Wear, an operating system for smartwatches [The Verge]

Upcoming Events

Metaio at Augmented World Expo: NY [AWE-NY]

Webinar this week – Metaio Trivia: Technical Edition [Register]

Pick of the Week

Pepsi delivers its own augmented reality experience, only it’s at a bus stop in London. The AR bus shelter uses some clever camera work to surprise people and they get some fun results. Enjoy!


The Case for Wearable Computing

March 20, 2014

When Metaio began offering productive augmented reality solutions to the automotive industry, there was already interest in wearable devices. In fact, one could trace general interest in wearable devices back to the science fiction pop culture of up to 50 years ago. From campy space odysseys like the original Star Trek to futuristic CGI-fueled endeavors of today like Minority Report, it seems as though humanity has always had the understanding that the use of vision in user interfaces was not a dream or a fiction but rather an inevitability. That one day we would peruse the digital world through cameras, unfettered by anything other than line of sight; that the technology would be as ubiquitous as the medium.

Wearable Computing

Smartphones, to some degree, put that dream on hold. Lulled into a blissful dependency on shiny devices that promised the world (just look at the original home screen of the iPhone), we settled for leaving the digital in our pockets. To be immersed in mobile is to avoid eye contact on the subway; to navigate the streets of a city, head down and feet marching toward an invisible red beacon; it’s attending a concert, only to see the rise of 10,000 smartphones when the lights go down and the band takes the stage.

This last example proves to me that wearable computing is more feasible than we realize. People already experience the most culturally significant events through their smartphones – concerts, political upheavals, sport events – why not make the next step to accessing and documenting information through the eyes? Photo and video capture are however only small aspects of a wearable ecosystem- it’s augmented reality that brings it all together.

We’re not the only ones who believe this- according to a recent Forrester Research report by Sarah Rotman Epps, 21.6 million US consumers are willing to wear augmented reality eyeglasses from a trusted brand. In 5 years, potentially 1 billion people could be experiencing the digital through a wearable device.

Metaio has always seen value of smart glasses for augmented reality, and our R&D department has worked with multiple head-mounted display devices and prototypes. But until recently, the form factors, limited usability and cost have prevented massive adoption by industry or consumers. Most wearable devices were tethered or otherwise anchored to a PC in order to run the software, restricting the possible movement of the user – solutions to the problem of mobility ran the spectrum from creative to wildly infeasible, including back-mounted personal computers complete with antennas, GPS satellites and inclinometers.

Many of the devices we used were originally designed as video display glasses, only to be retrofitted and “hacked” to allow for real-time rendering and tracking. While this was perfectly productive and useful for industrial applications, it was far from ubiquitous.  Today, Metaio has an ever-increasing supply of new and upcoming wearable devices, but challenges remain.

Epson Moverio BT-100

Epson originally released the Moverio BT-100 line as video display headwear, it didn’t take long for someone to strap a camera to the top and hack it. Now Epson is actively involved in encouraging developers to create apps and experiences for wearable devices. Metaio recently sponsored a hackathon at Epson’s Long Beach, CA, where developers competed for cash prizes and Metaio software licenses. Some notable creations included: an app that could recognize and label anything in the real world; a hands-free cooking assistant; and a fitness app that projected running avatars just a few paces ahead of the user.

CNET described the BT-100s as “wearable window into a whole other world of entertainment.” For good reason- one of the most outstanding features of the Moverio line is the full-field semi-transparent view, and companies like APX Labs and ScopeAR are utilizing the wider frame for next-generation augmented reality, targeting enterprise, defense and industry for commercial applications. Keep an eye out for future iterations such as the  BT-200, to be released in  early April, which Metaio has already developed a maintenance app in conjunction with Mitsubishi Electric.

Google Glass

Probably now one of the most famous devices in the world, Google Glass has propelled wearable technology to new heights in media and entertainment. The lightweight and minimalist form factor is very approachable, and it ships with access to one of most successful mobile ecosystems. Although the current Explorer version isn’t the best-suited device for AR, Google will undoubtedly continue to improve upon their original design.

metaio-augmented-reality-google-glass-car-manual-designboom03

Recently, ReadWrite contributor and Google Glass Explorer Joshua Merrill wrote of his experience of his first 100 days wearing them, and that it was unfortunate that Google hadn’t unlocked the full potential of the form factor: “Glass needs to be a platform for augmented reality. When I see text in a foreign language, translate it. When I look at a house for sale, tell me the asking price. When I look at a product, scan the barcode and tell me if it’s cheaper online. When I’m standing in a public place, let me travel backwards through time using Street View.”

Glass should be commercially available in the next 1-2 years. Metaio has already had phenomenal results developing for Glass (just check out the video), but we’re looking forward to (much) longer battery life, better cameras and maybe even multicore CPU and GPU.

Vuzix

Founded in 1997 in Rochester, NY, Vuzix is one of the of the longest-running wearable devices company. Vuzix is known for their diverse array of products, from full-immersion VR glasses to their line of AR eyewear. The latter includes the upcoming M-100, a monocular virtual display aimed at the enterprise market. Vuzix and SAP recently collaborated on a concept for wearable devices in a warehouse environment, where the device pushes inventory and shipping request directly to workers. These workers can also receive support help for machinery, real-time maintenance overlays and scan boxes to fulfill “picking” queries- all served to the M-100.

Vuzix has been dedicated to creating usable, productive AR eyewear for quite some time. As CNET reviewer Scott Stein wrote after trying the M-100, “Forget Google’s concept of keeping screen separate from reality — Vuzix wants full augmented overlay.” Metaio has worked very closely with Vuzix for many years, and we’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration.

Foresight

There are still challenges to be overcome — form factor, enabling technologies, and battery life are just the beginning. Metaio anticipated these obstacles however, and has since been working on hardware acceleration for augmented reality experiences. We designed the AREngine hardware IP to be modular in order to fit any semiconductor platform, with more than smartphones in mind: vehicles, smart applications and of course, augmented reality eyewear. Look at nearly every pop-culture representation for AR and you’ll see experiences that could never run on current hardware platforms. Metaio is out to enable the always on, always augmented experiences we were promised. The Augmented City isn’t a dream- it’s a vision. Wearable computing can make that vision a reality.


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