Into the Wild: Metaio goes Re:publica

April 14, 2014

Nothing is as it once seemed.

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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! 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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:


Technical Insight into Junaio’s Redesign – An Interview with Anton Fedosov

February 27, 2014

An interview done by Anett Gläsel-Maslov 

With the introduction of a new Junaio interface, we decided to take a moment and sit down with Anton Fedosov, Senior User Experience Designer, and see if we could get any information about the redesign.

What is Junaio for you?

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Anton Fedosov: For me, Junaio is an Augmented Reality Laboratory, in a sense that is a window-to-the-world with the latest technology developed by our company. It has the top-notch detection and tracking technologies, advanced sensors and localization services in the consumer space. it is an important platform to test our ideas with our users ad to verify our concepts.

I believe one of the strongest advantages of Junaio is that you are able to identify any object in front of you and the app gives you, instantaneously, information about it. For searching visually is very helpful.

What problems did you face with the old design of Junaio?

AF: We tried to bring a new look to the location-based channels. Through our statics we see that our customers use Junaio as a tool to recognize different objects and to scan something. At the same time, every modern phone or tablet has embedded sensors like GPS, gyroscope and compass, whose use was lagging a bit behind.  We wanted to bring location-based experiences closer to users and this was the idea behind redesigning Junaio.

First of all, we tried to define problems in the former version. For instance, it was hard to read the points of interest (POIs) that were really far away. They were occluded and cluttered and in the majority of cases there was an information overload. It was also hard to interact with the POIs which were not in the first line. Human factors should be explored more in Augmented Reality scenarios. When you look through wearables like Google Glass it is almost impossible to read. With the redesign, we are trying to treat our data equally and improve the discoverability of POIs.

What are the advantages of the new design?

AF: The idea was to update the Junaio interface to make it flatter, lighter and easier for the users to understand possible interactions. The first important part was to change the hand posture, which was often a very unnatrual experience while holding a tablet or smartphone in mid-air. We improved on usability goals, making the Junaio interface easier to learn and more efficient to use. Now you see the annotated information about POI on the bottom of the screen  and the board acts as a signifier to discover interactions with POIs. For tablets this means that the thumbs remain the main trigger in the lower corners and for smartphones the experience is now even more natural.

AR browsers often suffer from a lack of focus and our brains are overloaded with information. With the redesign of Junaio we now only show up to five POIs at once. We have integrated a seamless discover mechanism for POIs. While moving the tablet or smartphone to the left or to the right, the POIs change. From now on we differentiate between the POIs that are focused or unfocused by the user. We tried different color variations and decided on a light color scheme for focused POIs and dark, translucent for unfocused ones. Also the pin itself takes the color of the icon associated with the given POI. E.g. we use color to define different categories. We also use the database of Foursquare to visualize venues where you can check in.

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The new Junaio is also optimized for wearables. At InsideAR we presented the first AR browser called “Junaio Mirage” which seamlessly integrates the new POI visualization (“Natural POI”). Depth-perception, the visual ability to perceive a world in three dimensions, is often used by artists and makes it possible to identify relative distance to an object. The POIs now have different sizes: the bigger the POI, the closer the object. We also use monocular cues such as lighting and shading and emphasize occlusion to provide depth information. We try to align the POIs to the shape of the earth and simulate the horizon. Parallax effect is also very important to mention: POIs rotate slightly based on your view angle and the models motion changes depending on the viewport. This makes the experience much more natural.

How does the redesign of Juanio affect developers?

AF: The redesign will affect location-based channels and therefore we prepared guidelines to make sure to accommodate the new POI representation scheme. These guidelines are now available in our developer portal and provide all the necessary information.

There you have it folks. For more information about the redesign head over to the Junaio Blog and to see the guidelines check out the developer portal. Junaio is free to download from Google Play and the iTunes store.


Metaio at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: Win your free ticket now!

January 28, 2014

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The MWC in Barcelona is always a great opportunity to meet us in person. This year we are in the App World, Hall 8.1 booth 8.1G47 where we will showcase our greatest projects from last year and preview new and exciting plans for the future. Visitors to the 2014 Mobile World Congress will be treated to live demonstrations of Metaio’s technology and experience first-hand the benefits of Augmented Reality hardware integration with the AREngine. For more information about Metaio, please visit www.metaio.com.

It could be your lucky day – Win one of ten free tickets for MWC!

In the next couple of days you will have a chance to win your own ticket for the MWC. Just keep following our Facebook Pages (English or German). Comment on our Facebook post and tell us why you want to go to MWC.

If you make a convincing case, a ticket could be yours and we’ll meet you in person in Barcelona!

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Metaio opens new offices at Munich’s Hackerbrücke (ZOB)

January 13, 2014

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During the turn of the year Metaio headquarters in Munich moved and we opened our new offices  into the commercial complex of Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) close to the Munich Hackerbrücke. 

„With the centrally located new offices close to Hackerbrücke we have established a presence at one of the best business locations in Munich,” says Dr. Thomas Alt, CEO Metaio. “With leading technology companies such as Apple and Google’s planned offices as our neighbors, we are in a very good company here.”

Our official address is now: Metaio GmbH, Hackerbrücke 6 (ZOB), 80335 Munich – and we are still looking for new people. Check our career page here for vacancies!

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(Image courtesy: ZOB München)

(Image courtesy: ZOB München)


Metaio to Integrate 3-D Augmented Reality into Intel® RealSense™ Computing SDK

January 6, 2014

Intel-logoOn Monday Metaio announced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas the planned integration of our patented 3-D augmented reality tracking software with the Intel® RealSense™ Software Development Kit (SDK)!

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Intel is developing a 3-D camera so users can interact with their computers and tablets using touch, voice and gestures. (Source: Intel)

Winner of multiple awards, including the ISMAR Tracking Competition and the recent 2013 Volkswagen Tracking Competition, Metaio’s augmented reality tracking technology recognizes real-world images, objects and environments in order to attach relevant digital or virtual information, in real-time. Tracking is perhaps the most important aspect of any augmented reality experience. Now, with the Intel® RealSense™ 3-D camera integrating into 2 in 1, Ultrabook, notebook, and AIO devices, real and virtual objects environments will interact with each other in practical as well as entertainment applications. For example, someone could accurately map a room in their house and virtually rearrange the furniture on their computing devices.

Blurring the virtual and real worlds further than ever before

“Intel’s vision is to make computing more immersive and enable human-like natural interactions with our devices,” said Mark Yahiro, Managing Director, New Business, Perceptual Computing, Intel Corporation. “Using Intel RealSense 3-D camera technology in combination with Metaio’s augmented reality tools, we look forward to blurring the virtual and real worlds further than ever before. For example, children will be able to play with their favorite toys and customize their experiences with digital interactions in creative new ways.”

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Mooly Eden, Intel’s Senior Vice President and General Manager for Perceptual Computing, Intel, holds the Intel RealSense 3-D camera, the world’s first and smallest integrated user facing 3-D camera which enables devices to see depth, much like the human eye. (Image courtesy: Intel)

The Intel RealSense Software Development Kit (SDK) will be released in the first half of 2014. It will be an evolution of the Intel® Perceptual Computing SDK, which was released in 2012 and has been downloaded over twenty-five thousand times by developers worldwide. The Intel® RealSense SDK will include voice recognition in more than 9 languages; background subtraction, a capability that enables developers to add green-screen-like functionality to applications; close-range hand and finger tracking that permits users to control their computing devices with mid-air hand and finger gestures; and face analysis, which identifies users and tracks their facial features across the camera’s field of view. Once the addition of the 3-D tracking and recognition engine by Metaio is completed, the Intel RealSense Computing SDK will offer developers advanced augmented reality features using depth data from the integrated Intel RealSense 3-D camera in computing devices. Watch also Mooly Eden’s, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager Perceptual Computing, Speech at CES “Computing is Everywhere” for further information.

Metaio’s collaboration with Intel will allow developers to push the boundaries on creativity and use of technology

This anticipated integration brings new levels of interactivity to the SDKs of both Metaio and Intel. The 65,000 developers on Metaio’s AR platform will have access to advanced human-computer interaction features offered by Intel. Developers will be able to create experiences that utilize hand gestures or facial recognition; manipulate backgrounds and environments in real time; and utilize voice recognition, all for new augmented reality applications that bridge the physical and digital worlds for natural, intuitive and immersive experiences.

insideAR2013-35“Developers need the best tools,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. “Metaio’s collaboration with Intel for the Intel RealSense SDK with depth camera integration will allow developers to push the boundaries on creativity and use of technology in completely new ways of human interactions with computing devices.”

To learn more about the Metaio SDK and download it for free, please visit metaio.com/products.


Merry Christmas to all Metaio partners, developers and friends!

December 19, 2013

Dear Metaio and Junaio developers,

2013 was a very exciting year for Metaio, with many highlights: We announced the AREngine at the 2013 Mobile World Congress; we hosted the largest InsideAR conference ever; we launched some amazing projects with fantastic partners, from augmented catalogs to entire cars; and we finished of the year by winning the Volkswagen Tracking Challenge 2013! We are looking into a very exciting new year 2014 starting with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in the beginning of January and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. There will be great announcements, more cool amazing projects and new partnerships in 2014 – for sure!

We wish all our partners, developers & friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2014 – always on, always augmented!

Here is our Metaio Christmas card for you. Thanks to Ian O’Shea, the artist from Ireland who designed it! Visit his blog to view more.

To view the AR content just download the Junaio App  and scan the image below!

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

November 26, 2013

Trak:

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


Metaio celebrated the biggest InsideAR ever!

October 16, 2013

These were crazy days, friends! We were planning this year’s InsideAR more than half a year to make it a huge success. The whole Metaio team dedicated its time to show the coolest AR demos, to invite the world’s best AR experts, to bring as many people from the AR ecosystem to the conference as possible.

This InsideAR was one of the most exciting tech events of 2013! More than 800 attendees from more than 45 nations came to Munich to celebrate 10 years Metaio with us. Thank you all for coming!

InsideAR 2013 has become the world’s largest AR industry event. Augmented Reality experts from all over the world met for two days at the event in Munich’s Olympic Park. Sponsored by internationally renowned brands like Intel, Mercedes-Benz and SAP, InsideAR saw presentations tackling the latest AR in enterprise, wearable computing and consumer facing projects from companies like Volkswagen, Audi, IKEA, McDonald’s and Vuzix.

Metaio Co-founders CEO Dr. Thomas Alt and CTO Peter Meier stressed the importance of enabling “always on, always augmented” experiences, exploring new form factors like wearable computing while continuing to research enabling technologies like new algorithms and hardware acceleration. All of this in order to move beyond passive one-off experiences to driving value in more enterprise-focused examples.

We also announced usage benchmarks along with new updates in our core technology. With more then 5.000 apps registered and 65.000 developers, Metaio added compatibility for wearable devices and a never-before-seen form of 3-D object tracking based on CAD data- in addition to overall performance increases and enhanced 3-D content pipeline management.

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Metaio focused on the exciting advances in mobile technology and use-cases while looking also to the future. In this regard, Metaio released the first-ever AR browser for Google Glass and showcased numerous examples of AR in wearable computing, including assisted car maintenance and entertainment.

We graciously acknowledge all of our sponsors, exhibitors, media partners, speakers and attendees who made the 2013 InsideAR an overwhelming success! The next conference will be scheduled for Fall 2014. Additionally, we are again planning InsideARs in the US and Asia again. Stay tuned!

All of the speaking sessions from InsideAR are now available in our YouTube channel: Day 1 and Day 2.

Find more pictures on our English and German Facebook pages.   

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