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 Whether it’s Google Glass, Oculus Rift, or some as-of-yet unreleased or unpublished device, Metaio will be sure to evaluate it for the future of interactive technology.

 

 


Weekest Links: First Week of April

March 31, 2014

We have to March into April first

Peter Meier 2

Peter Meier discusses the future of AR in light of the recent Facebook-Oculus purchase.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

#MetaioWearsEpson Sweepstakes! [Augmented Blog]

Virtual Technologies are on the move & Mark Zuckerberg dreams of Augmented Reality [Augmented Blog]

AVK Terway augments Tamaris’ Spring/Summer Collection [Junaio Blog]

Movin’ Klee: A Paul Klee ARt Installation [Augmented Blog]

SLAM: It’s about tracking and mapping your world [Augmented Blog]

Augmented Reality News

One of America’s Largest Hospitals Brings Google Glass to the ER [Fast Company]

Turning the Snake Game into a Location-Based Exergame that Encourages Walking [Youtube]

John Carmack speaks up about Facebook buying Oculus VR [Polygon]

This cool pad and pen lets you sketch in 3D using augmented reality [SPLOID]

Jeri Ellsworth talks castAR’s accidental beginnings and its augmented reality future [Engadget]

Tomorrow’s Cargo Ships Will Use Augmented Reality to Sail the Seas [WIRED]

How Real is Real Time Marketing [Gartner Blog]

From science-fiction to reality — augmented reality that is [Deseret News]

Seebright Headset Creates Smartphone-Powered Virtual Reality [Tom's Guide]

USC is Offering a Google Glass Course for Journalism [Mashable]

Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion [The Verge]

Augmented Reality Is About to Turn Football Into a Real-Life Videogame [WIRED]

Upcoming Events

AWE is just around the corner, will you be attending? [Augmented World Expo]

No webinar this week folks, apologies. Did we mention our giveaway?

Pick of the Week

Even with all the buzz surrounding Facebook’s purchasing Oculus VR and Sony’s Project Morpheus, we can’t help to be excited about the Yelpulus Rift. We’re well on our way to producing some amazing applications for this state of the art device. Look out Oculus and Sony, Yelp’s got your number and they’re coming for you!


Virtual Technologies are on the move & Mark Zuckerberg dreams of Augmented Reality

March 28, 2014

It’s a decisive time for tech industries and we were overwhelmed and thrilled by the announcement of the Metaio AREngine, the developer version of the  Google Glass, Apple buying PrimeSense and Intel announcing RealSense. Intel’s proclamation in Las Vegas to integrate our 3-D tracking technology into the RealSense platform was a huge step for us.  We’ve noticed an tremendous growth in usage, development and interest in Augmented Reality and two major topics around AR dominated 2013: Enterprise and Wearble Computing. The purpose of all these technologies is after all to make our life easier and more natural. But it still takes more money and brains to come closer to this vision.

Oculus Rift at 2013 InsideAR

Oculus Rift at 2013 InsideAR

This week  two announcements rocked the market: HTC bringing out the new HTC One (M8) with a depth-of-field sensor and great possibilities to AR makers. And the huge giant Facebook  who surprised with the announcement two days ago that they will buy Oculus VR, the company developing the Oculus Rift HMD. 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, says: “By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.” For sure!

We’ve asked Peter Meier, CTO and founder of Metaio and a visionary by heart, to talk in an interview about the latest news and to consider them in the context for Augmented Reality:


The Case for Wearable Computing

March 20, 2014

When Metaio began offering productive augmented reality solutions to the automotive industry, there was already interest in wearable devices. In fact, one could trace general interest in wearable devices back to the science fiction pop culture of up to 50 years ago. From campy space odysseys like the original Star Trek to futuristic CGI-fueled endeavors of today like Minority Report, it seems as though humanity has always had the understanding that the use of vision in user interfaces was not a dream or a fiction but rather an inevitability. That one day we would peruse the digital world through cameras, unfettered by anything other than line of sight; that the technology would be as ubiquitous as the medium.

Wearable Computing

Smartphones, to some degree, put that dream on hold. Lulled into a blissful dependency on shiny devices that promised the world (just look at the original home screen of the iPhone), we settled for leaving the digital in our pockets. To be immersed in mobile is to avoid eye contact on the subway; to navigate the streets of a city, head down and feet marching toward an invisible red beacon; it’s attending a concert, only to see the rise of 10,000 smartphones when the lights go down and the band takes the stage.

This last example proves to me that wearable computing is more feasible than we realize. People already experience the most culturally significant events through their smartphones – concerts, political upheavals, sport events – why not make the next step to accessing and documenting information through the eyes? Photo and video capture are however only small aspects of a wearable ecosystem- it’s augmented reality that brings it all together.

We’re not the only ones who believe this- according to a recent Forrester Research report by Sarah Rotman Epps, 21.6 million US consumers are willing to wear augmented reality eyeglasses from a trusted brand. In 5 years, potentially 1 billion people could be experiencing the digital through a wearable device.

Metaio has always seen value of smart glasses for augmented reality, and our R&D department has worked with multiple head-mounted display devices and prototypes. But until recently, the form factors, limited usability and cost have prevented massive adoption by industry or consumers. Most wearable devices were tethered or otherwise anchored to a PC in order to run the software, restricting the possible movement of the user – solutions to the problem of mobility ran the spectrum from creative to wildly infeasible, including back-mounted personal computers complete with antennas, GPS satellites and inclinometers.

Many of the devices we used were originally designed as video display glasses, only to be retrofitted and “hacked” to allow for real-time rendering and tracking. While this was perfectly productive and useful for industrial applications, it was far from ubiquitous.  Today, Metaio has an ever-increasing supply of new and upcoming wearable devices, but challenges remain.

Epson Moverio BT-100

Epson originally released the Moverio BT-100 line as video display headwear, it didn’t take long for someone to strap a camera to the top and hack it. Now Epson is actively involved in encouraging developers to create apps and experiences for wearable devices. Metaio recently sponsored a hackathon at Epson’s Long Beach, CA, where developers competed for cash prizes and Metaio software licenses. Some notable creations included: an app that could recognize and label anything in the real world; a hands-free cooking assistant; and a fitness app that projected running avatars just a few paces ahead of the user.

CNET described the BT-100s as “wearable window into a whole other world of entertainment.” For good reason- one of the most outstanding features of the Moverio line is the full-field semi-transparent view, and companies like APX Labs and ScopeAR are utilizing the wider frame for next-generation augmented reality, targeting enterprise, defense and industry for commercial applications. Keep an eye out for future iterations such as the  BT-200, to be released in  early April, which Metaio has already developed a maintenance app in conjunction with Mitsubishi Electric.

Google Glass

Probably now one of the most famous devices in the world, Google Glass has propelled wearable technology to new heights in media and entertainment. The lightweight and minimalist form factor is very approachable, and it ships with access to one of most successful mobile ecosystems. Although the current Explorer version isn’t the best-suited device for AR, Google will undoubtedly continue to improve upon their original design.

metaio-augmented-reality-google-glass-car-manual-designboom03

Recently, ReadWrite contributor and Google Glass Explorer Joshua Merrill wrote of his experience of his first 100 days wearing them, and that it was unfortunate that Google hadn’t unlocked the full potential of the form factor: “Glass needs to be a platform for augmented reality. When I see text in a foreign language, translate it. When I look at a house for sale, tell me the asking price. When I look at a product, scan the barcode and tell me if it’s cheaper online. When I’m standing in a public place, let me travel backwards through time using Street View.”

Glass should be commercially available in the next 1-2 years. Metaio has already had phenomenal results developing for Glass (just check out the video), but we’re looking forward to (much) longer battery life, better cameras and maybe even multicore CPU and GPU.

Vuzix

Founded in 1997 in Rochester, NY, Vuzix is one of the of the longest-running wearable devices company. Vuzix is known for their diverse array of products, from full-immersion VR glasses to their line of AR eyewear. The latter includes the upcoming M-100, a monocular virtual display aimed at the enterprise market. Vuzix and SAP recently collaborated on a concept for wearable devices in a warehouse environment, where the device pushes inventory and shipping request directly to workers. These workers can also receive support help for machinery, real-time maintenance overlays and scan boxes to fulfill “picking” queries- all served to the M-100.

Vuzix has been dedicated to creating usable, productive AR eyewear for quite some time. As CNET reviewer Scott Stein wrote after trying the M-100, “Forget Google’s concept of keeping screen separate from reality — Vuzix wants full augmented overlay.” Metaio has worked very closely with Vuzix for many years, and we’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration.

Foresight

There are still challenges to be overcome — form factor, enabling technologies, and battery life are just the beginning. Metaio anticipated these obstacles however, and has since been working on hardware acceleration for augmented reality experiences. We designed the AREngine hardware IP to be modular in order to fit any semiconductor platform, with more than smartphones in mind: vehicles, smart applications and of course, augmented reality eyewear. Look at nearly every pop-culture representation for AR and you’ll see experiences that could never run on current hardware platforms. Metaio is out to enable the always on, always augmented experiences we were promised. The Augmented City isn’t a dream- it’s a vision. Wearable computing can make that vision a reality.


Weekest Links: Mid February

February 18, 2014

Even the Simpsons are getting their AR on. 

Image from Buzzfeed.com

Image from Buzzfeed.com

Metaio | Junaio Recap

Metaio featured in BBC Click and ARTE Futuremag [Augmented Blog]

InsectARium – Beyond a Bug in a Box [Junaio Blog]

OGC, Wikitude, Layar, and Metaio invite Mobile World Congress attendees to AR Interoperability Demo [Wikitude]

Augmented Reality Across the World

Savvy Brands Are Using Apps Instead of Ads to Get Messages Across [Time]

Making Computing More Human with Wearable Tech [Designers of Things]

Beyond Glass: Inside Epson’s Scheme to Make the De-Facto Smart Glasses [SlashGear]

Augmented Reality is a Missed Opportunity for Marketers [The Guardian]

The latest marketing issues blog, brought to you by The Marketing Agencies Association.

Only Genuine Augmented Reality Eyewear App to Deliver Richest Experience for Motorcyclists [Digital Journal]

Augmented Reality Innovators, 6 Companies to Look Out For [Neon Tommy]

castAR rocks the Augmented World [AR Dirt]

Upcoming Events

Mobile World Congress. Come visit us next week in Hall 8.1 booth 8.1G47! [Mobile World Congress]

Webinar –  Continuous Visual Search: A Basic Introduction [Metaio Developer Portal]

Pick of the Week

There isn’t anything as fun as hanging out with the guys from BBC Click. Check out Dan Simmons’s trip to Audi’s research headquarters here and at 14 minutes in the video below.


Metaio featured in BBC Click and ARTE Futuremag!

February 12, 2014

It was a very fantastic end to last year and a very cool start to 2014: German-French TV station ARTE and the BBC came to visit us to get excited about Augmented Reality applications from Metaio. Both shooting teams traveled to Munich and were interested in the hottest topics in the tech business: valuable Augmented Reality applications with actual use cases for wearables like Google Glass – we showed them everything!

BBC_12 Foto_1

See the results in both videos below:

BBC Click programme

With BBC journalists Dan Simmons and Nick Kwek, we enjoyed two exciting shooting days preparing a feature for the popular BBC Click programme showing a proof of concept for a Car Manual on Google Glass (featuring the Metaio SDK 5.0), which we presented at the InsideAR Conference in Munich, the Audi eKurzinfo application as well as the Window to the World, an innovative visualization concept with real-time interaction developed by Metaio and ART, which combines the physical and the virtual world to evaluate results immediately.

Take a look into the BBC movie yourself – the Metaio part starts from minute 9:19. It’s quite entertaining!

ARTE Futuremag programme

ARTE wanted to prepare a feature about new technological innovations and asked us to show valuable Augmented Reality use cases for different devices and in particular for Google Glass. The result is a very informative Futuremag feature with a deep look into the possibilities of our future. All Metaio related footage starts from minute 7:20. Enjoy!


DLD Conference and Augmented Reality Experts at Metaio presented interactive Museum Tour in Munich

January 22, 2014

In collaboration with the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference taking place this week in Munich, we presented a guided and interactive tour through the Bavarian National Museum. On January 19th DLD visitors and journalists joined us for the chance to see live how Augmented Reality builds a bridge between historical pieces of art and the digitalisation of our everyday lives.

DLD visitors were able to experience Augmented Reality with mobile devices and even a pair of Google Glass to get additional information about the art pieces on show. Five exhibition pieces from different periods and artistic styles were augmented with rich virtual information via the latest 3D object tracking technologies from Metaio.

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For us, the most amazing piece of art was the St. Maria Magdalene statue: Legend has it that Maria Magdalene lived for years as a penitent in the desert clad only in her long hair until her entire body became hirsute. In the 18th century, objections around her were raised and she was removed from the famous Riemenschneider altar in 1756. We wanted to show St. Marie Magdalene in her original setting so we reconstructed a virtual altar visible around her. And the result is amazing! 

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DLD Panel Discussion: “From Museums to Playstations”

On Tuesday morning, Dr. Thomas Alt, CEO and Co-Founder of Metaio, joined  curator and museum director Max Hollein from Frankfurt as well as Sophia George, an artist from Great Britain,  on a panel at DLD Conference to discuss the possibilities of integrating Augmented Reality in museums. “Building virtual exhibitions doesn’t do the trick, ” Thomas Alt said: “What Metaio is trying to do, is to teach mobile devices to recognize the environment. The idea behind is to create context for the user in a real environment and to offer them additional content.” He also emphasized that Augmented Reality cannot replace the real object in a museum, but it can actually enrich the visitor’s personal visit and experiences.  

DLD Conference already celebrated ten years of bringing together the most influential opinion-makers, industry leaders, start-ups and digital giants in Munich. We were very proud to join them as partners this year and want especially thank Steffi Czerny (the very charming organizer of the DLD Conference), her great team and in particular the National Bavarian Museum to realize this idea so fast! 

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Post-Thanksgiving Weekest Links

December 2, 2013

So long, and thanks for all the tryptophan. 

Mirage: illusions of grandeur.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

  • Metaio CEO Thomas Alt discusses augmented reality for smartwatches, Google Glass and more [TechCrunch]
  • Junaio featured on US TV Channel ABC 6 In Philadelphia through “Virtual View” [Junaio Blog]
  • Xcope – creating an immersive AR experience [Augmented Blog]
  • Satisfying consumers with Augmented Reality [Augmented Blog]
  • SCARLET: Interactive learning for augmented reality [Junaio Blog]
  • Enabling AR with stronger hardware[Augmented Blog]
  • Vanatur and Warner present AURYN’s augmented reality debut [Augmented Blog]
  • The new Metaio Creator – the perfect tool to optimize AR scenarios [Augmented Blog]
  • Cars, cars, and more cars – Junaio & Automotive augmented reality [Junaio Blog]

There are things that are happening

  • CastAR and the promise of augmented reality games [Gamasutra]
  • Apple Confirms Acquisition of 3-D Sensor Startup PrimeSense [AllThingsD]
  • Augmented Reality: General Electric meets Google Glass [Wired: Beyond the Beyond]
  • The “AR Rift” – Grad Student William Steptoe hacks the Oculus Rift into a 360 augmented reality machine – check it out [Project Website]
  • Visionary – Google Glass moves from concept to clinical care [Forbes]
  • Epic Google Glass Douchebaggery 101 [VentureBeat]
  • Current TV Founder Michael Rosenblum writes of his first two days with Google Glass [Huffington Post]
  • Seattle restaurant boots Glass-wearing patron [PCMag]

Events

  • Catch Metaio at the APPNATION V “Garage”, December 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA [event site]
  • Going to the 2014 CES in Las Vegas? Don’t miss Metaio CEO Thomas Alt’s panel, “Augmented Reality: Next Big Thing or Information Overload?” [link]

Pick of the week: Augmented Reality Super Mario [Kotaku]

No, it’s not real. Yes, we wish it were. No, not really possible with current technology. But still fun to watch.


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

November 26, 2013

Trak:

Today in TechCrunch, Metaio CEO Thomas Alt sits down with Jay Donovan to discuss the state of augmented reality and wearable devices. Read on and learn all about the exciting announcements and developments that have happened since InsideAR 2013!

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Augmented Reality pioneers Metaio hardly qualify as a startup these days (being incorporated since 2003 and funded by a stream of project work from the likes of Volkswagen and IKEA), but they behave very much like a startup and are constantly inventing new systems for their considerable augmented reality SDK.

Many of their yearly announcements come from an annual event called insideAR that they host in their hometown of Munich, Germany.

This year there were many announcements. Everything from their new “Edge-Based Tracking” methodology to the new augmented reality browser they built for Google Glass called Junaio Mirage. The event took place in October, but I recently had a chance to speak with Metaio CEO Thomas Alt and discuss some of these announcements in greater detail along with his viewpoint on the general state of augmented reality today. You can read the interview below (or just skip to the…

View original 1,882 more words


Weekest Links November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Note from the editor: As much as I love puns and defunct British game shows, I’ll be renaming “Weekest Links” in the near future. 

LeVar Burton [Geordi!] on Google Glass: “It disturbed me.” [engadget

Metaio | Junaio Recap

  • Augmented Reality has changed the gaming universe [Augmented Reality Trends]
  • The Metaio Creator 3.0: A user’s experience [blog]
  • Xcope: Virtual & Augmented Reality Headset [Kickstarter]
  • Brendan Scully talks about how AR will revolutionalize maintenance and information transfer [video]

There are things that are happening

  • Smartphones + Smart Glasses: Augmented Reality to jump 333% by 2018 [VentureBeat]
  • Google Glass second-hand sales no longer disabled [SlashGear]
  • Six new technologies set to lift off in 2014 [StartupSmart]
  • Augmented Reality projection turns windshield into navigation screen [PSFK]
  • Google’s augmented reality game Ingress is coming to all Android owners next month [FastCompany]

Events

  • Did you miss InsideAR 2013? Check out photos from the event and catch up on what you missed! [photos]
  • All the InsideAR presentations from Day 1 and Day 2 are available on Metaio’s YouTube page [youtube.com/metaioAR]

Pick of the week: Blow Up Traffic App

I’m sure some of you out there appreciate this. I’m looking at you, people who drive in Connecticut.


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