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?

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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 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.

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“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.

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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.


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.

 


Metaio releases first true “see-through” wearable Augmented Reality, now in Metaio SDK

May 9, 2014

AR SDK update puts true AR in the eyes of wearable device users

This week we were announcing the first ever “see-through” wearable AR capabilities through the newest Beta version of the Metaio SDK, now optimized for wearable computing devices like the brand-new Epson Moverio BT-200. Instead of utilizing a camera view, Metaio’s technology allows the user to perceive reality itself with digital and virtual content directly overlaid onto their surroundings.

Real "see-through" AR on the Epson Moverio BT-200

Real “see-through” AR on the Epson Moverio BT-200

Wearable computing is on the rise, with devices like Google Glass and Oculus Rift in the public eye more and more. But in order to perform augmented reality experiences, even transparent displays like Google Glass rely on a camera video feed that duplicates reality rather than using the reality itself, potentially creating a disconnect for the user between the augmented content and the real world.

“We strive for seamless wearable AR,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. “We want to go beyond the limitations of form factors to deliver truly ground-breaking experiences.”

IMG-epson-metaio-sdk-02The Metaio Augmented Reality SDK, now serving 80,000 developers, is today equipped with optical, truly transparent Augmented Reality rendering, allowing users to view AR content as if it were in front of their eyes. Service technicians can now visualize digital maintenance information attached to systems as if it were there in real life; consumers can visualize product information in-store or at home; game developers can create immersive games that merge virtual and physical worlds.

“Working closely with premier partners such as Metaio led us to incorporate new augmented reality capabilities in the Moverio BT-200 smart glasses,” said Eric Mizufuka, product manager, New Markets for Epson America. “The Metaio SDK gives developers the opportunity to more easily bring their exciting AR application ideas to life on the Moverio platform.”

In addition to true see-through AR, the newest version of the Metaio SDK will feature high-definition rendering for iOS devices along with brand new in-Beta Face Detection algorithms.  If you need  more information about the release of the Epson Moverio BT-200s, visit the Epson website. To download the free Metaio Augmented Reality SDK , please visit: http://metaio.com/products/SDK.


Join our today’s webinar on Interactive Museums!

April 24, 2014

If you still want to join, here is the registration link.

Webinar

Today we are hosting another webinar: This time we will talk about our Augmented Reality Museums tour for the Bavarian National Museum and give you an insight into all technical details starting on Thursday, April 24, 2014 – 8am PST/5pm CET.

The webinar will contain:

  • Use case for museums and augmented reality, elaborating on specific examples from the DLD project.
  • Creative implementation- mostly the role of the Metaio Creator and Metaio Toolbox.
  • Time permitting, we’ll go over some of the technical AREL implementation that tied the project together.

Feel free to send your questions live during the show with the Twitter hashtag #metaioARmt. We will be happy to answer them in the Q&A sesssion at the end of the webinar.
In preparation for the webinar you can read through our two blogstories already:

Hosted by: Matthias Greiner, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Since 2010, Matthias has been responsible for Junaio- the company’s mobile augmented reality browser platform. He mostly works with creation, use, or  marketing for mobile AR advertising and consumer applications.

Hosted by: Kevin Nally, Junior Design Team Member

Kevin Nally is an in-house illustrator at Metaio. He joined us in 2013 to work on concept images and proposals for AR projects within the services and sales departments.

Hosted by: Nicolai Georg, Research and Development

Nico has been working for Metaio since September 2013 on the project team, where his main focus is on AREL/web technologies. His interest in augmented reality stems from his thesis work in AR Interactions and games.


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

March 24, 2014

It’s a release, yeah! 

Last week we released the long expected, newest version of Junaio for Android and iOS devices with an updated user interface that features an all-new visualization of nearby points-of-interest (POIs). With Junaio it is now possible to access GPS and location-based information from almost anywhere in the world.

“The more natural we make AR, the more mobile users will see value and return to the experience,” CTO Metaio, Peter Meier said. “It’s clear that the next step for mobile AR is location-based information in devices like Google Glass, and we’re looking to the near future in our R&D.”

Junaio has been optimized and available for wearable devices like Glass since Metaio’s InsideAR conference in October of 2013, but as of today it’s equipped with an even friendlier interface and a more contemporary style familiar to today’s app users. The brand new visualization scheme ensures that the user sees only the most relevant information to his or her surroundings, like geo-tagged Instagram photos or tweets; the best places to catch a Taxi; the nearest entertainment locations like movie theatres or concerts; or even the real-time positioning of public buses and trains.

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Junaio combines GPS, image recognition, visual search and a robust cloud-based architecture to recognize and attach digital information to nearly any object or environment in real-time. Now even non-developers can create their own Augmented Reality “channels” and even applications with the latest Metaio Creator tool, a drag-and-drop and easy-to-use content management system for AR.

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For developers who want to create mobile AR experiences utilizing location data, Junaio is now compatible with other browsers like Layar and Wikitude. Now over 20,000 Junaio developers will have access to the entire mobile AR audience and will be able to push their content directly to other applications.

Download Junaio today at http://junaio.com/download

Learn more about the Metaio Creator at http://creator.metaio.com

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Meet us at the Mobile World Congress! #MWC14

February 21, 2014

It’s time for Barcelona!

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On Monday morning the 2014 Mobile World Congress starts and we prepared thrilling demos to showcase the latest innovations in the Augmented Reality business to you – for smartphones, for wearables (Google Glass, Vuzix & Epson glasses), for any possible device. We will show 3-D camera interfaces for augmented reality along with the latest in enterprise and wearable experiences. Our visitors to the Metaio booth in the App Planet, Hall 8.1, Booth 8.1G47, will get see how Augmented Reality is truly “creating what’s next” at the world’s largest mobile conference.

tabletThis year’s Mobile World Congress arrives at the dawn of the 3-D camera. Apple has acquired PrimeSense; NVIDIA has announced partnerships with SoftKinetic for embedded cameras; and Intel has announced the future embedding of RealSense 3-D cameras in Ultrabooks and other devices. Adding depth to interactive mobile experiences will provide all new capabilities in augmented reality, including 3-D reconstruction, dynamic occlusion and brand-new tracking for consumer and enterprise experiences.

“3-D cameras will soon arrive on mobile devices,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. “Developers and businesses alike will be able to take advantage of this new technology through the support for 3-D cameras in the Metaio SDK. This year in Barcelona we are showcasing how we have adapted our core technology to support this new wave of 3-D integration, while also demonstrating the power of silicon integration, especially with regard to a wearable future. AR has already shown usefulness and value in both enterprise and consumer sectors, and we will continue to lead the way in innovation for 2014.”

3-D integration opens up numerous possibilities for everyday use: consumers could visualize products in home without the need for markers or printouts; utilize gestures to interact with their devices and the real world; reconstruct or modify entire environments; or even create 3-D models on the fly that could be pushed to 3-D printing devices.

Metaio is already working with companies like SAP and Intel to bring the next generation of augmented reality to developers and users through mobile devices, wearable technology and embedded 3-D cameras.

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(Image courtesy: Intel)

“Intel has been collaborating this year with Metaio to showcase the power of combining Intel platforms with augmented reality, which can be seen at MWC 2014,” said Prasad Modali, Intel Principle Engineer. “We look forward to continuing these efforts to further blend the virtual and real worlds in the near future.”

Metaio collaborated with Intel to produce groundbreaking apps specifically for Intel mobile devices, which visitors will experience at the Intel booth, App Planet: Hall 8.1, booth #E41:

  • “Portal Run”: a brand-new digital AR table-top game that utilizes instant SLAM tracking to allow players to play in any environment, anywhere. No board, marker (or even table) necessary.

Visitors to the Metaio booth at MWC will experience:

    • The first hands-free augmented reality maintenance utilizing wearable computing- step-by-step instructions visualized through Epson Moverio BT-200 and Google Glass
  • The new AREngine, the next generation of the first ever AR hardware IP, with 6000% faster initialization and 80% reduction in power consumption on silicon
  • Next-generation AR experiences that utilize 3-D and depth cameras for real-time 3-D tracking and reconstruction
  • The latest in enterprise and consumer demos, featuring experiences from IKEA, Audi, and Mitsubishi Electric

To try out the technology behind the booth demonstrations, sign up for a free Metaio account and download the Metaio SDK at http://my.metaio.com.

If you cannot attend MWC, you have at least the chance to stay up to date with our latest issue of the InsideAR magazine: here.

See you in Barcelona and keep following us on Facebook for pictures from MWC! 


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