Calling all 3D buffs! Metaio Teams up with Pinshape for a Halloween 3D Printed Model Competition

October 5, 2014
Sumbit your best 3D model!

Submit your best 3D model!

3D Printing is a hot topic these days, and over here at Metaio we are big fans of the technology. Since Augmented Reality is heavily tied to 3D, we can’t help but get excited when digital 3D modelling and printing gets thrown into the mix. This is why when 3D model & printing site Pinshape approached us to support their latest competition we jumped at the chance. We’ll be awarding a free Creator license to the winner, and that’s on top of other great prizes like the newest Kast 3D printer, six months of Loot Crates and more! How do you participate in this exciting competition? See below:

The Competition:

Seeing as Halloween is almost upon us, the theme for this competition is – you guessed it – spooky creatures. To enter, just upload your own 3D creation (it can’t be one already on Pinshape) fitting the creatures theme, and check the box saying “Submit this model to the Creature Design Contest.” Once your design is entered make sure to share it on your social accounts get people voting for it! The designs with the most likes (top 10%) will be put into the final evaluation round. Once your design reaches the final evaluation round, judges will evaluate the entries based on:

  1. Design: Overall quality, novelty, innovation, detail.
  2. Ease of Printing: Compatibility with the Kast 3D Printer, description of settings needed to print included and accurate.
  3. Presentation: Design description (What is it? What is the backstory? What inspired it?), high quality design pictures (Get bonus points for including photos of real printed items!), inclusion of tags.


The Rules

  1. Entries must be submitted before 23:59:59 PST, October 31, 2014
  2. Entries cannot have been previously submitted to Pinshape
  3. Entries must comply with Pinshape’s content policy
  4. Entrants must be registered with Pinshape to enter
  5. There is no fee to enter the challenge
  6. Entrants can submit as many unique entries as they would like
  7. Object must be deemed 3D printable by Pinshape
  8. Design should fit in 20cm x 15.4cm x 30cm (X,Y,Z) build area
  9. Contest open worldwide

So what are you waiting for? Get creating and enter the competition now!

As we lead up to the competition deadline, don’t forget to join our special edition webinar featuring Pinshape which will cover not only how to use AR to preview your 3D models, but how to augment them once printed too! The webinar takes place on October 23rd. Learn more at:


Don’t have 3D models? Try 2.5D!

August 26, 2014

Many of the best AR apps incorporate 3D effects in some way or another. Embedded videos, link and images are cool, but it’s that 3D content that really delights the user visually. Why then, isn’t everyone implementing more 3D content into their apps?

The problem lies in content creation. Even in this high-tech day and age, it is still relatively difficult for the average person to create 3D models. While companies such as Autodesk have made great efforts to bring 3D authoring tools to the masses, there is still a way to go before impressive 3D content can be created quickly and easily by a casual user.

That being said, there is a nice alternative that can be used by just about anyone to create a 3D effect without actually having any 3D modelling skills or even owning 3D graphics software. By arranging traditional 2D images in a 3D space, we can achieve pretty neat 3D effects – 2.5D if you will (“faux-D” anyone?…..anyone?). Shown below is a great example of “faux-D” in action:

Metaio Xmas card using 2.5D

Scan with Junaio !

So what does it take to create a 2.5D experience?

It’s actually very simple – with some basic image editing skills and knowledge of Metaio Creator, it is possible to build a 2.5D experience very easily. Here’s a quick guide:

Step 1: Gather your image assets.

Your images are the most important part of the experience. Unlike standard image files, we want them to have a “cardboard cutout” effect. In order to achieve this, a little photo-editing is required. In your favorite editing tool (I like – intuitive, powerful, and free!), simply trim around the edges of your illustration or photo and save it as a PNG file with transparent background. This means that when the image file is viewed, all of the “white space” will be completely transparent. If this is already starting to sound scary – don’t fret! There are some great tutorials available online like this one.

Step 2: Arrange your scene.

Using Metaio Creator it is possible to quickly arrange a 3D scene using your images. Firstly, fire up Creator and choose your tracking marker. You can then go ahead and import your images. They will appear to sit flush on the page to begin with.

Images flush to marker

Images flush to marker

From here, make sure you are using the 3D view mode which can be activated in the left corner.

In the 3D view mode, you are presented a 3-dimensional axis that allows you to drag your image in any direction. From here we can begin arranging the content not just upwards and side-to-side, but also back-and-forth. Varying the depth of the images will create our 3D effect. Remember, if you need to rotate the images, you can click on the blue circle to cycle through translation, rotation and scaling functions. Give it a try!

Manipulate with the 3 arrows

Manipulate with the 3 arrows


Step 3: Experiment

Try experimenting with different depths and angles of your images for the best 3D effect. If you need some more inspiration, check out this really great work done for Starbucks Japan or check out the video of the AR Children’s book created by Junaio developer Daniel Ortega:

Note: The demo in this post can be accessed via this tracking pattern: 2.5D marker

Intelligent computing meets augmented reality: Brutus guides you through the Ohio State’s Campus

May 14, 2013

As promised last week on our junaio Blog, we decided to provide you with more information on the incredible application ‘Find Brutus’ created by Bradley A. Henry, Software Developer/Engineer at Ohio State University. The app helps students to explore the Ohio State Campus through their mobile Android devices. Named after the school’s mascot, Brutus Buckeye, the augmented reality application cleverly uses voice recognition, geolocation, artificial intelligence as well as intelligent tutoring systems to provide the service to the campus community.

In an interview given exclusively for metaio, Bradley A. Henry is speaking about the idea behind, the technical facts and the ongoing working processes.

What actually is ‘Find Brutus’?

In technical terms: Find Brutus is an Intelligent Mixed Reality (IMR) application using a Virtual Tour Agent (VTA – patent pending) framework. An Intelligent Mixed Reality (IMR) application is the inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR), voice-recognition (VR), geolocation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) into a mobile accessible user experience.

In broader terms: Find Brutus is a Mobile Virtual Tour Guide designed for incoming students and visitors to the Ohio State University designed specifically as a graduate research project. A user will explore campus through pre-defined target locations on campus. As the user approaches the location 3-D Brutus will appear in mobile view as the indicator that they are approaching the first target. When the user identifies the location, as seen through their mobile device, the user will prompted with a few questions, including hints, about the target to answer. As the user answers each question they will then move to the next target. Version 2 is where VTA gets really exciting, see below.

Is it already a working application and in which context did you create it?

Yes, the beta version is complete. We used the free version of the Metaio SDK for Android. We are going to begin working on the iOS application over the summer as well as for Google Glass. Because the most exciting news is that this project is also part of the Google Glass Explorer pilot. We will be using Google Glass with the application to study student interactions and cognitive processing. The design of this version is study the affect of an incoming student to the university. The goal is to increase the students knowledge of the university campus and resources while acclimating them to their surroundings. If successful this should increase the students experience their first year attending The Ohio State University.

How many people were involved in the development on the application?

Find Brutus is the framework for my PhD thesis. But nevertheless a lot of players are involved: It is truly a community of engineers working on this application. I have counted over 80 people that have touched this project to some degree, currently over 8 of the Colleges and 6 departments at the university. To me this is what it looks like when organizations and people work together.

Included was also the College of Engineering Capstone project, which just won the CETI best in class project. This was a pretty extraordinary surprise, considering the level of competition. I have been blessed to work with some of the most amazing individuals. I was overwhelmed that the project was selected.

henry brad

Virtual Tour Guiding has been a dream of metaio for a long time now and we are sure to bring the concept of the “Augmented City” into real life. In which fields do you feel a real value for VTG?

Long-term objectives for it is to use the framework as a mechanism for navigation of locations, and buildings and as an educational device that will include simulations that work within real-world environments. Example, educate professionals or students, such as nurses or doctors in their work environment. How this would work, using an emergency room, fully equipped, a learner would wearing a pair of Google Glasses and would be required to resolve simulated problem-based scenarios that interact with the environment. A doctor would interact with a virtual nurse using to perform surgical procedures.

Could you think about other examples of using AR and Virtual-Tour-Guiding in educational environment?

Another example could be the Thompson Library Foundation Stones Tour (Submitted idea in the OSU AR Hackathon): A student would view the foundation stones through their mobile device. The stones would provide information, such as origin, ethnicity, world regions, and text and voice translation capability. The student could tour the stones, seek information on specific origins, request information such as publications, videos, research that is available through the OSU library or tour the library. An additional concept idea submitted by the University Archives includes a historical view of the campus through time. Using AR a user can explore the campus in any given decade using Glass. Example, you can be on the oval wearing Glass and prompt the VTA to view the campus in 1850. As your line of site moves images, and information, of the campus in 1850 would appear in the glasses.

What future projects are already in the line?

We are also putting on a one day display at the Columbus Museum of Art, fellow students, the Ohio Film Commission and Columbus Fashion Week will are also participating. We are currently discussing a fall project. In addition, we are also discussing a live DJ event with augmented reality later in the year. I work with a very creative group of people.

Thank you Bradley for the interview!

Website of EduTechnological

Version 1 capabilities:

  • Mobile accessible
  • Augmented reality
  • Geo-location notifications
  • Includes the first approved 3D Brutus Buckeye through OSU licensing.

Version 2 capabilities:

  • Voice activation (Siri type functions)
  • AI/Intelligent computer interactions (Collaboration with the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology)
  • Geo-location direction service (ask for specific outdoor directions from your current location)
  • First scanned 3D Human Agent
  • Web Accessible Agents (Collaboration with the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology)

Free At Last: the metaio Mobile SDK

December 9, 2011

We are pretty darn excited.

Back in September, CEO Dr. Thomas Alt announced that we’d be releasing a free version of the metaio Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK) in an effort to both ensure and encourage the massive development and adoption of mobile augmented reality by 2014.

In that time, we researched and developed like crazy to make sure that our software would be the most advanced mobile solution available. We implemented Gravity Aware Feature Descriptors, a patented technology that makes image recognition and tracking faster and more robust. We benchmarked our technology by winning the 2011 ISMAR Tracking Competition. We integrated Unity3D for hardcore game developers and designers. And most importantly, we embarked on collaborative research partnerships with chipset providers like ARMST-Ericcson, and Texas Instruments. It’s been a busy fall.

As a result, we have for the entire mobile development community a powerful, advanced and industry-proven SDK, free of cost right from the start, with unlimited app-deployments for iOS and Android. A built-in advanced 3D rendering engine means you can start developing immediately. And it’s not a watered-down piece of shareware- this 3D rendering engine has been used in over 70 professional mobile apps, including our Augmented City demo.

This is the same software that has driven over 10 million downloads and enables millions of magazines delivered every month with mobile AR content.

We’re either completely crazy- or very, very passionate about what we do. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Read the press release.

Download the SDK.

Get excited.

AR Services for the City of Basel at the ISMAR 2011

October 21, 2011

From October 26th to 29th, the city of Basel in Switzerland is host to ISMAR 2011, the international conference on research, technology and application in Mixed and Augmented Reality. Part of the conference is the very interesting AR-4-Basel project, organized by PEREY Research & Consulting and its partners.

Model by VirtualcitySYSTEMS

The purpose of this project is to establish a framework in which creative professionals can push the envelope of what has been done in Smart Cities with 3D data sets and to showcase the first generation of services that are available to the public with smartphones during the ISMAR 2011.

The project coordinates resources in the city of Basel and internationally for the purpose of implementing real world mobile AR services, and receives the support of businesses, government agencies, municipal service providers, private and public institutes of learning. In order to help build AR based services for people in Basel and visitors to the conference, the project provides datasets of 3D city models (see image above). This is an interesting challenge for researchers and developers in the field of Augmented Reality. We at metaio are curious to see what our colleagues will present.

Current technology is advancing rapidly. While having a readymade 3D Model available is certainly useful for projecting AR overlays correctly aligned onto buildings or street views (we have been using those lots of times), our current approach at metaio however goes a step further. We now have technologies which can in fact create a model of reality on the spot, dynamically and at the very instant the user looks at the world through his smartphone camera. By using very advanced 3D optical recognition and tracking technologies we are able to capture and reconstruct the environment around the user without having to rely on a prefabricated city model. 3D objects can then be directly inserted into this “live” three-dimensional space in perfect perspective, alignment and occlusion.

It will allow people in the near future to walk through any cityscape with their smartphones and benefit from correctly aligned digital overlays and useful Augmented Reality information services as a completely natural experience. We call this the “Augmented City”. You may have seen this video, but we show it once more to illustrate the point:

Survive THE THING in New App from Universal and metaio

October 13, 2011

Mobile devices are evidently the warmest place to hide.

metaio had the opportunity to develop this very cool mobile application with Universal Pictures to promote the highly-anticipated prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter cult-classic of the same name, out in theaters October 14th. We wanted to create a game that drew on the same suspense, horror, and isolation of the film while generating excitement for its release.

After downloading and launching the free THE THING: Flamethrower application for Android or iOS, players assume the role of one of the surviving Antarctic scientists, trapped in a virtual laboratory and assailed from all sides by creepy alien hybrid versions of their former colleagues.

Sounds like fun, right?

We really mean all sides, because this game is played in 360 degrees- players will have to move their mobile device in real life to defend themselves from the attacking aliens. FYI- it’s dark, the lighting quality is very poor, and you only have a limited amount of flamethrower fuel.

Try to hold out as long as you can, but as fans and people familiar with the film know- it’s very difficult to survive THE THING.

After playing, check out the INFECT YOURSELF feature that uses our advanced Facial Recognition AR capability. Watch as THE THING literally rips your face apart. Even Danika of @twitt_AR fame succumbed to the crafty invasive life form:

This game utilized metaio’s advanced Mobile SDK, the most comprehensive solution to create Augmented Reality applications for iOS and Android. Featuring a high-level API and the latest image recognition technologies, it allows developers to produce high-quality applications with low effort. And best of all: we’re releasing a free version in the near future.

Once again- the film hits theaters this Friday, October 14, so get out to your local cinema and happily cringe to this great horror thriller that more than does justice to the 1982 film.

For more info, check out the press release and don’t forget to download  this amazing game.

Download for Android

Download for iOS

Unifeye Design 2.5 Now Available

October 10, 2011

metaio is pleased to announce that the latest version of our Design software is now available for download.

Once again, AR is neither a sci-fi fantasy nor something limited to gimmicky one-off applications. Our design software enables anyone with a Windows PC to produce rich, interactive content. Our clients and partners use Design in trade shows, integrated marketing campaigns, classrooms, commercial applications, internal demonstrations and much more.

If you’re not already familiar with Design, you may have heard about our wonderful project with LEGO, now deployed in every LEGO-branded store in the world.

For the new 2.5 update we’ve rolled out the following updates:

  • New features:
    • Facetracking: for tracking a users face and overlaying3D content (e.g. hats, glasses etc.)
    • Extensible tracking: for tracking in unknown environments the system automatically creates and updates an internal map of features for tracking based on the camera image. This allows you to move around freely with your camera and the system adjusts on the fly.
  • Markerless tracking: Improved performance and stability
  • Licensing: Licenses can be moved to another PC (only full version)
  • Uses new version of BsContact renderer ( For a list of features see the release notes on the Bitmanagement website.
  • Several bugfixes for Unifeye and the Workflow Authority GUI

For more information, please see our web store and our extensive documentation on all of our software.


A Design license (post-activation) is bound to the user’s PC, so moving / transferring the license is not allowed. There are however cases where a user would need to transfer a license, such as when uploading to a new machine. Starting with Design 2.5, license holders will have the ability to transfer their licenses twice. 

To send a request or purchase a license dongle, contact sales (at) metaio (dot) com.

To transfer your license, go here. Enter your activation key and click Get Licenses.



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