2014 InsideAR Tokyo: Professor Hirokazu Kato “The Father of Augmented Reality” will join us!   

June 30, 2014

InsideAR Tokyo is just days away and we are proud to announce that we have doubled the number of attendees from last year! In addition, we have tripled the number of speakers and workshop presenters including AR leaders from Intel, Epson, Canon and more. We are also especially pleased to announce that Professor Kato joins us at InsideAR Tokyo 2014 with his presentation: How should we improve AR for making our future better? So what exactly does it take to earn the title of “Father of Augmented Reality”?

Professor Kato

Professor Kato

In the late 1990’s a new toolset became available to Augmented Reality researchers around the world. The toolset was open source, meaning it could be used freely by anyone. It provided a common set of software libraries by which AR researchers could work together and publish new findings. The name of this software was the “ARToolKit” and since its release has been downloaded over 160,000 times. In 2012, the creators were honored with a “10 Year Lasting Impact Award” by the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR). Those creators; Professor Hirokazu Kato and Professor Mark Billinghurst today are known as the “Fathers of Augmented Reality”.

ARToolkit HIT lab

Courtesy: University of Michigan Human Interface Lab

Being heralded the “Father” of something is no small achievement and when it comes to the field of Augmented Reality, it is possible to make a strong case for why Professor Kato fits the bill. Professor Kato was responsible for writing the most widely cited paper in the field of Augmented Reality, and created an open source library that has enabled thousands of researchers and businesses to further the field of AR to the point that it is today. The ARToolKit even contributed to the beginning of what Metaio is today. According to Metaio CEO and co-founder Dr. Thomas Alt:

“When we founded Metaio, the ARToolKit was the first available resource for Augmented Reality. The ARToolKit has inspired a great amount of both academic and industrial research in Augmented Realty. One can truthfully state that the ARToolKit has been the inception point for what is now the vibrant and growing industry of AR as we know it today”.

These days Professor Kato continues his pioneering research into AR at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in his Interactive Media Design Lab.

Join us at InsideAR Tokyo from on July 9th for a chance to hear from the “Father of Augmented Reality” himself. Professor Kato will be presenting his speech and directly following will join other AR leaders in a panel discussion. In the meantime you can see Professor Kato’s 2010 ISMAR presentation here.

InsideAR Munich Update:

InsideAR Bejing:

Registration is open now, learn more here and register today!


So long, and thanks for all the Augmented Reality.

June 27, 2014

I remember the first time I saw it.

Almost 5 years ago Brendan Scully walked into my room in the house we shared in college. I was trying desperately at the time to devise a most insidiously clever first tweet, which as I recall was something along the lines of “destabilize the discourse” (though Twitter itself belies these memories, I can assure you that was the original). Rudely, Brendan interrupted my most-important mission, demanding my attention.

“Trak. Trak.”

“…”

“TRAK.”

“…”

“TRAAAAAAAAAA-“

“What?!”

AugmentedReality.”

(Interestingly enough, this would later become Brendan’s chosen icebreaker for nearly any conversation or situation. Standing in line in 2011 for what was to be a godawful post-WWDC party at the Roe, Brendan once proposed that we run up and down said line shouting, “AUGMENTED REALITY,” to “see what happens”.)

Brendan ushered me into his room, where he took print-out of a funny-looking bar code and displayed it in front of the webcam of his computer, only to have the object burst into a multi-colored 3-D animation of varying sizes of geometric shapes.

By today’s standards, the frame-rate was intolerable; the latency was more than noticeable.

It was beautiful.

That one moment was the first in a series of events that led myself (along with Brendan) to join Metaio. This was, in retrospect, not the first time I encountered AR: Bladerunner, Terminator, Predator, Minority Report, Iron Man, comics, science fiction novels, video games; as a society we had always manifested our dreams for technology in popular culture. And we will never lose sight of those dreams and expectations- it’s only a matter of time.

But in that moment, sitting in the only flat-roofed house in New Hampshire in a poorly-lighted room, the glow of the monitor illuminating our grinning faces in the graininess of the camera view, I saw the future.

And I wanted to be part of it.

That is why it is with heaviness of heart that I announce that I am leaving Metaio. The last three years have been nothing short of wondrous. But in the spirit of this blog, and because I said I was going to do it, I will now interview myself.

Where are you going?!

I am going to Google, where I will join the Waze team. More on this later, but I can tell you that position doesn’t have anything to do with augmented reality.

Are you done with AR?

Not in the least. I still hold a childlike fascination for the magic of computer vision, and just because I’m moving on doesn’t mean I won’t stop writing about it, either. In fact, depending on my schedule I will still try to write about technology, including AR, in my blog that I literally just started today. Please feel free to keep up with me there, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter.

from Brendan: Is Humanity ready for AR? 

I would counter that question with “Is AR ready for humanity?” It’s the decathlon of technologies, and it takes years of training for a human to run a decathlon. That being said, technology is only going to improve, so expect in the next few years to watch former barriers crumble beneath the might of optimization. I know for a fact you’re going to see some great things from Metaio in the very near future.

What was your favorite part about working for Metaio?

(Other than every InsideAR and AWE ever) Four things:

1) The Team

2) The Technology

3) Traveling

4) Talking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For anyone considering working in Augmented Reality, you really can’t get better than Metaio. I have been so fortunate to work at a company full of such fun, passionate and determined individuals. I have traveled all over the world with them, and many will be lifelong friends.

To all of you I’ve met along the way, It’s been a blast.

To the Metaio Team- you all know who you are, and you’re the best. I know that I would not have been able to accomplish anything in the last three years without your support.

To Augmented Reality- don’t think I’m done with you yet.

 

 

 


Last reminder AR Toys Competition & a new jury member

June 27, 2014

Weekend is coming and exactly 3 days are left to join our AR Toys Competition!

Logo_AR_Toys

The competition is open to everyone including developers, non-developers, parents, AND children all over the world. The competition features two categories: the “AR Toymaker Award” which is specifically targeted towards adults and the “AR Junior Award” is open to children and entrants under the age of 18. Each category requires the participant to submit a concept of an augmented reality game or toy.

New jury member Rolf Kosakowski

Portrait Rolf Kosakowski_finalWe are happy to introduce our latest jury member, Rolf Kosakowski to you: 46 years old he has been an entrepreneur ever since he left school. He is a huge fan of technology, in fact, there is a load of gadgets in his office and he can answer any questions related to digital tools.

Since the age of 17, Rolf has managed his own advertising agency, KB&B – The Kids Group. The company now has 25 employees, and Rolf operates it together with his wife, Julia. Throughout their international marketing activities, they have consulted customers such as; Super RTL, Sony Entertainment, Lufthansa, MIGROS, and many others in the children and family market.

Children and family marketing by KB&B – The Kids Group

By analyzing the children market trends and developing individual strategies – from TV-Spot to website, online, offline and apps – they have developed international advertising campaigns. Rolf is very proud of KB&B’s latest baby: The Lufthansa children app “Take-Off – The fun-packed journey for little passengers”, is now ranked among the top 10 free iPad apps for kids on the iTunes Store. Rolf’s Motto is: “Crazy enough to be taken seriously by kids! Serious enough to make adults understand that it’s not crazy!”

Why do you support the competition?

“App development is our most important new business field at KB&B – The Kids Group. Augmented Reality presents  a huge opportunity for all kinds of app development. Merging real life and fictional storytelling is just the perfect concept for any kind of toy. I am very happy to learn more about the ideas, and especially curious about the concepts the young participants hand in. Maybe I will be spotting some new talents?”

In your words – what’s the potential in Augmented Reality for kids?

“Kids have a huge benefit when compared to adults: They are very curious and adapt to new technologies quickly and joyfully. I believe that Augmented Reality can teach in a way that has not been possible before.  Furthermore, AR has the ability to lift kid’s fantasies to new a whole new level. I see a lot of potential in AR-apps.”

What would you like upcoming apps for kids to be like?

As with any kind of app, childrens applications should also be technically high performing, entertaining and secure. It is self-evident that they may not implement salecalls, since this in inappropriate for children  and, not to mention, illegal. They should address kids at their level: If the target group is preschoolers the app must operate without text. If it is for teenagers, then safe communication tools should be included.

But most of all, I wish that the new concepts that come out of this competition are mind blowing, creative and fresh; in other words, something that we have never seen before. So, Good luck to all the competitors. I am excited to learn about your ideas.


Augmented Baseball – Bringing Legends to Life

June 26, 2014

If you build it, he will come. 

legends to life screenshot

ltl phone screenshot1

In the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, a farmer named Ray Kinsella risks it all to build a baseball field in hopes of discover who’s voice it was that told him “If you build it, he will come.” When the field finally comes together, it becomes a sanctuary for a small group of players. The catch? They’re ghosts, Ray’s field is the only place where they can play, and he’s the only one who can see them.

Although the movie Field of Dreams was entirely fictional, the actual baseball field in Iowa where filming took place became a popular tourist attraction. To help bring the movie to life on the field, Design Mill, Inc. wants to create an augmented reality experience that brings the Ghost Players from Field of Dreams to life. The Legends to Life Project will be a channel addition to an already existing app, Insite™. After recognizing the baseball card below, Insite™ opens the channel and allows you to place a virtual Ghost Player in the real world. Currently, the app uses SLAM to drop the Ghost Player into reality and Design Mill, Inc. has plans to incorporate even more content such as iconic scenes from the movie that have been reimagined as a digital experience.

In order for the Legends to Life Project to fully to reality, Design Mill, Inc. has launched a live Kickstarter open for donations until July 13th. The funds will go to the channel’s development including 3-D modeling & animation, mobile development, graphic design, and marketing to help relive Field of Dreams and bring to life the entire team of Ghost Playersboth on the field and through trading cards. They need your help to do it!

To learn more about the Legends to Life Project be sure to visit (and support!) their Kickstarter page and Design Mill, Inc.’s website. You can also try out the experience by downloading Insite™ through Google Play and/or iTunes, selecting the “Legends to Life Project” channel, and scanning the card below.

ltl baseball carddmilogo_jpg


Metaio R&D Lab Releases 6D Augmented Reality Holodeck Technology to Developers

June 25, 2014

Yesterday we were revealing the world’s first 6D Holodeck technology that places virtual environments directly in the real world allowing smartphone users to explore them with their on-board cameras. We are now offering two sample source codes for the technology to developers so that they may build immersive and interactive experiences like next-generation augmented reality games.

IMG-Metaio-6D-AR-Experience-001

“Virtual and 360 experiences need true immersion,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. “If you’re in a virtual environment, you should be able to move around as if it were the real world; that’s what we want to enable with our 6D technology- we want to enable the Holodeck.”

But how does it work?

The 6D Augmented Reality Holodeck technology (or 6D-AR, for short), utilizes the latest Simultaneous Learning And Mapping (SLAM) algorithms working in tandem with the on-board motion sensors (IMUs) to anchor a virtual environment local to the user. Once the virtual environment is attached to the real world, the user can move and navigate in and around the virtual area as if it were there in real life, needing only the camera of their smart device.

IMG-Metaio-6D-AR-Experience-005

Metaio is releasing the source code of two 6D example projects on its developer’s portal. We are hoping that these examples inspire our developers and creatives to design next-generation augmented and virtual reality experiences, like an action game someone could play in reality itself, or immersive educational experiences like visiting foreign places or navigating an electron shell of an atom at close range.

The source code for the 6D-AR Holodeck examples is now available. Developers can download the Metaio SDK and the source code here.


Weekest Links – End of June

June 23, 2014

Tensions are high in the San Francisco office as USMNT pits off against Germany this week. Tears will shed, blood will boil, and friendships will break as the future of Group G will be decided this fateful Thursday.

Courtesy of Bloomberg TV

Courtesy of Bloomberg TV

Metaio | Junaio recap

See Asbury Park through augmented reality [App.com]

ARchive LAPL – Augmented Education [Augmented Blog]

Featured Channel: Aiguamolls Emporà – Mira què s’amage by DaH! [Junaio Blog]

Wearables Get a New Interface [EE Times]

Augmented Reality Usage – Student Survey [Augmented Blog]

Metaio is Bringing Interactivity to Every Surface [The Gadget Flow]

Augmented Reality News

Podcast Episode 40: AWE2014 Recap with Ori Inbar [AR Dirt]

Wiless Controls Inc. Acquires Next Galaxy [The Wall Street Journal]

How Technologies are Likely to Fare this Year [DataQuest]

Toronto Condo Project Uses Augmented Reality To Reach Global Buyers [Opp Connect]

Revenue generation through AR on a positive rise [Exchange 4 Media]

Google Glass goes on sale in the UK for £1,000 [Engadget]

The CNN10 Inventions: Skully [KSPR]

The Future As We See It [U of T Magazine]

Artist Turns Mondrian Works into Augmented Reality Paintings [Artnet News]

Virtual Surgery: The Operating Room Goes High-Tech [Bloomberg TV]

Wearable Technology Will Be Big In The Business World, Says Salesforce [Mobile Commerce Press]

Testing Technology: How Augmented Reality Helps Museum Visitors Appreciate Paintings [University of Chicago]

Augmented Reality Tablet Enables Designers To Sketch In 3D [Mobile Commerce Press]

Wearable Tech Is Bigger Among Developers Than Consumers [Mobile Commerce Press]

Epson’s smart glasses do AR better than Google Glass [ITBusiness.ca]

Augmented reality application released to App Store [Solid Thinking Interactive]

Upcoming Events

Webinar – Location Based Channels [Register Here]

Wearable Technologies Conference 2014, July 8 – 9 [Register Here]

InsideAR Tokyo, July 8th [Register Here]

Pick of the Week

When it comes to surgery, future wearable devices paired with augmented reality could change the way operating rooms are managed. Recently, Bloomberg interviewed Dr. Selene Parekh, one of the earliest adopters of Google Glass in surgery, who gives his thoughts about how Google Glass can be used in hospitals. Check out the video below to see what he thinks the future of health care could be with Google Glass.


ARchive LAPL – Augmented Education

June 20, 2014

ARchive LAPL

You may have seen the Junaio blog post about Professor Robert Hernandez’s class “Augmented Reality and Journalism.” The class successfully created a Junaio channel for the Los Angeles Public Library to make visits to the library more interactive. But once they were done, the students wanted to do more.

That’s when they brought in design firm Neon Roots. Neon Roots worked together with the students to transform the Junaio channel into a standalone iOS app. The end result app, ARchive LAPL, has all of the original content from the Junaio channel, plus a few added touches to give the app a little more flavor. You can use it in the library to participate in a scavenger hunt as you solve riddles and search for various augmented treasures hidden throughout the library.

ARchive LAPL is available on the App Store and you can visit the AR Journalism website for images to test out the app but to get the best experience you’ll have to visit the Los Angeles Public Library. Hopefully we’ll see you there!

neon roots banner


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