Xenium Digital: Augmented Reality made in India

July 30, 2014

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

AR Therapy for Cancer Patients

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

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

From 3-D oil in action to TIGERTRAC

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

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

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

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

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Lekar Hum Deewana Dil

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

Watch the video here:


Become a Beta tester for Junaio on Android

July 25, 2014

junaio-on-android-devicesBeginning today anyone can become a Junaio Beta tester – no legal papers necessary – and for free. We publicly publish Junaio Beta releases (for Android) on a regular basis within the beta tester group before the releases are submitted into the Google play store.

How can You Join?

Simply join our Junaio Google+ Group and as soon as you are accepted as member of group you can request access to the beta testing group here. Note: we recommend that the Google + account matches your Google Play account.

Why should every Junaio developer participate?

As a member of our group you get early access to all Junaio Beta releases and learn about new features, improvements and bug fixes in advance.
Use the chance to test your current projects with upcoming releases/features to avoid any surprises with the official release.

Help us improve the stability and robustness of upcoming releases by identifying bugs and errors as early as possible.

We are looking forward to welcoming you as a Beta tester for Junaio!

 

Junaio-Around-You-360


Vectorform shows visionary sales application for Google Glass

July 24, 2014

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

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

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

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Identify internal and external values ​​with Google Glass

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

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

Framework thought as an important element

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

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

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

July 24, 2014

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

2nd edition rocked: InsideAR Tokyo tripled its attendees

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

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

 

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

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

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

The workshop presentations are available to download on our website.

 


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And what says the team?

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

Dr. Irina Gusakova, Senior Product Sales Manager:

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

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

Matthias Greiner, Senior Business Development Manager Junaio:

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

Thomas Berton,Software Engineer

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

Sudhanshu Kapoor, Business Development Manager OEMs:

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

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

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

Tokio_4

A guestpost by Dr. Irina Gusakova


Doing Magic with Augmented Reality… for real!

July 17, 2014

A guestpost by Andreea Raducan

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

What is the mystery behind the “AR Money”?

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

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

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

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

trial 2

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

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

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

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

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

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


Metaio Presents Augmented Reality for Smart Watches

July 9, 2014

Metaio is announcing the first ever object recognition solution for smart watches today. We are releasing a video that demonstrates a computer vision-based health & lifestyle app for wearable devices implemented using Metaio technology as well as a solution for retail to quickly scan products to purchase and request delivery to your home.

SmartWatch_1Smart watch manufacturers are still struggling to find the balance between simplicity and functionality. By adding computer visual recognition functionality, the goal of fast and effective interaction with a smart watch is achieved. Utilizing the camera of a smart watch, users snap an image which a companion smartphone then checks for matches using Metaio visual search technology. When a match is found, data is returned to the user in the form of glanceable information on the watch, or rich, interactive data on the smartphone.

“When we gave phones and glasses the ability to see the world around them, it opened up huge opportunities for all kinds of mobile apps”, said Metaio CEO, Dr. Thomas Alt. “We can see that smart watches are going be a huge part of the mobile computing revolution, so we wanted to make sure that we could bring the power of computer vision and augmented reality to this form factor.”

SmartWatch_3There exist millions of objects in our environment that can be scanned by a smart device, but it is not always convenient for users to be constantly removing their smart phones from pockets or purses. Placing object recognition capabilities on the wrist allows for convenient access to visual search and augmented reality applications that already exist today.

Metaio presents a video showing a working demo of a health & lifestyle application. Rather than entering nutritional information manually; users simply scan the food package from the wrist, which automatically populates a daily nutrition diary on a companion device. The video also illustrates smart watches being used in retail to quickly scan products to purchase and request delivery to the home.

According to Metaio the technology can be implemented on existing smart watches currently on the market and will be running a live demo of the application at the upcoming InsideAR Munich conference,  on October 29th and 30th, 2014.

Read the interview with Thomas Alt on TechCrunch: “Metaio CEO Thomas Alt Discusses Augmented Reality For Smartwatches, Google Glass And More”

 


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!


Metaio unveils thermal imaging R&D for future use in wearable augmented reality headsets

May 23, 2014

Yesterday we announced a very new technology, a never-before-seen user interface that combines thermal imaging with augmented reality. We prepared a video illustrating potential applications of  Thermal Touch interface along with current examples of the working prototype.

“Everyone is talking about wearable computing eyewear like Google Glass,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier, “but no one is talking about the best way to actually use those devices. We need natural, convenient interface to navigate the technology of tomorrow, and that’s why we developed ‘Thermal Touch’.”

Consisting of an infrared and standard camera working in tandem and running on a tablet PC, the prototype registers the heat signature left by a person’s finger when touching a surface. Metaio’s AR software then supplements the experience with AR and computer vision to allow the user to interact with digital content in all-new tactile way.

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Turn your world into a touchscreen!

The best graphic user interface (GUI) for wearable headsets has yet to be determined – device makers have so far experimented with voice navigation, companion devices and even projection, but in order for consumers to adopt new technology on a massive level it needs to be convenient and, above all, accessible in countless scenarios.

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Thermal Touch: Read a magazine and directly interact with the real objects in a virtual world.

With “Thermal Touch”, a wearable headset user could turn any surface into a touch-screen: Imagine pushing directions to your device simply by touching a static map in a shopping mall, building complex or airport; children could bring play to new levels and launch digital content directly from their toys; design professionals could visualize their digital and 3-D creations on their real world counterparts; and service technicians could pull up information just by touching an object in real life.

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Thermal Touch: An endless variety of possibilities.

“Thermal Touch” is a prototype and far from everyday usability. Metaio released the demo to educate the community on the possibilities of computer vision. It is likely that in 5-10 years infrared cameras may join a multitude of advanced sensors being integrated into devices everyday, including the wearable augmented reality headsets of the near future.

We will display the “Thermal Touch” prototype at the 2014 Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, May 27-29. Though “Thermal Touch” may be 5 years away from reality, attendees to AWE will nonetheless get the chance to see the latest automotive, consumer and enterprise AR apps that are driving innovation and value in 2014. To learn more about Augmented World Expo, visit the AWE website and in case you haven’t registered yet, we are offering a 200.00 discount with code METAIO4AWE at registration.

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Get your tickets now!

 

The Thermal Touch prototype will be also presented at 2014 InsideAR -the Augmented Reality conference – in Tokyo (8th of July), Beijing (5th of September) and at InsideAR Munich 29th/30th of October). Wearable eyewear and other technologies will be the focus of the conference this year, including the latest 3D optics and Augmented Reality applications. See you at InsideAR! You can already register for your tickets now.

 


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.


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.

 

 


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