SLAM: It’s all about tracking and mapping your world

March 25, 2014

In this post we examine a technology with a cool name, and some pretty neat uses. SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. Since expanding on the abbreviation does little to demystify the meaning of the term, we have asked Metaio computer vision researcher Darko Stanimirovic to explain what SLAM is and why it’s important.

Darko Stanimirovic, Computer Vision Research at Metaio

Darko Stanimirovic, Computer Vision Research at Metaio

Q. In layman’s terms, what is SLAM?

Darko: “The camera found on your smartphone is essentially a “dumb” device which simply captures the light in form of numbers. A video sequence then is simply an array of images containing again, nothing but numbers. In order for a smart device to know where it is an environment, it must be able to make sense of this stream of numbers. So, to help this “dumb” camera, a dedicated computer algorithm must be used. One such algorithm is called SLAM. The SLAM algorithm consists of “localization” and “mapping” tasks. Here, “mapping” refers to a process of charting a map of the environment, while “localization” refers to camera position tracking in the space. Both of these tasks benefit from each other: the better we know the map of the environment, the easier it is to determine the position of the camera and vice versa: the better we know the camera position, the more accurate the map is going to be. That is where the “S” in SLAM comes from, because both tasks are performed in the same time, i.e. simultaneously.”


SLAM demonstrated from a remote quadracopter flying over a village

Q. Where can we find SLAM being used?

Darko: “SLAM technology is found in a variety of state-of-the-art inventions. Whether it is Google’s self-driving car, your little robot vaccuum, or even Autonomous Mars rovers, SLAM is being used to help these smart devices learn and navigate in real-world environments.”

Q. Why is SLAM important for Augmented Reality?

Darko: “The magic of AR cannot work without knowing where the camera is located, and SLAM is an important technology for determining where a smart device actually is. For example, if an AR experience is based on a holding a smartphone up to a poster, then the device needs to know where it is in relation to that poster in order to realistically “stitch” digital content into the scene, and SLAM is one of the key technologies that allow this.

SLAM can also be used to extend the known world around a smart device. SLAM helps to fill in additional details that exist in the environments of all the different users out there. We see this in IKEA’s 2014 catalogue app where a piece of virtual furniture “pops” out of from the cover of the catalogue (the known piece of information), and then the device begins to learn the environment in order to place the virtual furniture into the room in a realistic way.”

SLAM tracking technology is one of the many 3D tracking capabilities of the Metaio SDK PRO, making it the most powerful Augmented Reality development tool on the market. For more information about the Metaio SDK, check out the SDK page here

Weekest Links: Mid February

February 18, 2014

Even the Simpsons are getting their AR on. 

Image from

Image from

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.

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.


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! 


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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Merry Christmas to all Metaio partners, developers and friends!

December 19, 2013

Dear Metaio and Junaio developers,

2013 was a very exciting year for Metaio, with many highlights: We announced the AREngine at the 2013 Mobile World Congress; we hosted the largest InsideAR conference ever; we launched some amazing projects with fantastic partners, from augmented catalogs to entire cars; and we finished of the year by winning the Volkswagen Tracking Challenge 2013! We are looking into a very exciting new year 2014 starting with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in the beginning of January and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. There will be great announcements, more cool amazing projects and new partnerships in 2014 – for sure!

We wish all our partners, developers & friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2014 – always on, always augmented!

Here is our Metaio Christmas card for you. Thanks to Ian O’Shea, the artist from Ireland who designed it! Visit his blog to view more.

To view the AR content just download the Junaio App  and scan the image below!


Metaio wins 2013 Volkswagen Augmented Reality Tracking Challenge

December 10, 2013

Last month we competed with three other teams from countries around Europe in the 2013 Volkswagen Augmented Reality Tracking Competition. We are very happy to announce that we won overall by excelling in two of four tracking scenarios!! We were very successful in  the following scenarios: “Tracking in various lighting conditions” as well as ” Tracking changes to a vehicle’s interior”.

We are very proud of our team! Special thanks to Darko, Thomas, Christian and Luca!


Tracking, or the ability to recognize and continuously overlay or attach digital content to a real-world object as it moves through space, is perhaps the most important aspect of any augmented reality technology. Volkswagen began the Augmented Reality Tracking Competition in order to evaluate and determine the best technology available for industrial and high-precision environments. Metaio competed with universities and research firms on key criteria like accuracy, robustness and practicality.



To see augmented reality tracking in action check out Volkswagen’s MARTA project, which offers 3-D service support for the Volkswagen XL1 using augmented reality:


The Tracking Challenge consisted of an unknown environment where the participants would utilize their respective technology to find their way with a device camera with image processing algorithms and visual search engines in order to identify different features and positions in real-time and overlay them with virtual data.


The challenges of Tracking Challenge were split this year to four scenarios and dealt with the marker-less tracking under varying lighting conditions, the transfer of tracking data to new vehicles, the tracking based on virtual data and the tracking changes to the vehicle interior.


Volkswagen will renew the Augmented Reality Tracking Challenge in 2014 with a new set of objectives and scenarios. For more information about the competition, please visit If you want to find out more about Metaio, visit our website:


Satisfying Consumers with Augmented Reality – A Review from InsideAR 2013

November 27, 2013

Why yes, this is quite amazing.

As augmented reality becomes more capable, businesses have discovered more and more possibilities to enhance the consumer experience. Today we’re sharing Maria Ekberg Brännström of Ikea, Peter Lemm of McDonalds, Larissa Laternser of Ball Packaging Europe and Gerald Bumann of Villeroy and Boch experiences with augmented reality and their consumer base.

Maria Ekberg Brännström, IKEA: Serving and Creating a Great Experience for the Consumer

Maria Ekberg Brännström took the challenge three and a half years ago to become Global Catalogue Manager for the IKEA catalogue. Previously she was leading various positions within IKEA in Sweden and Spain as Sales and Commercial Manager. She loves the challenge of finding new ways of developing the IKEA catalogue to be even better and more relevant to consumers. She’s daring and demanding, and completely convinced that most things remain to be done.

Peter Lemm, McDonald’s: A New Way to Communicate Sustainability – McDonald’s McMission

Before joining McDonald’s Germany in 2013, Peter Lemm earned his extensive media-savvy at a renowned German radio agency as Senior Editor and later as Head of Marketing and Sales. As Department Head Corporate Affairs, External Communications at McDonald’s, he is responsible for Brand and Media Relations, bringing the brand and its values closer to the public.

Larissa Laternser, Ball Packaging Europe: Tomorrow’s Point of Sale – Driving Sales with Interactive Packaging

Larissa Laternser studied Media Communications Technology (BEng) in London and New York, and completed her Master of International Business (MIB) at the University of Queensland, Australia. She worked in TV production and journalism, before founding her own IT Service company. Her hobbies include autonomous flying objects (founder of and street art (organizer of For Ball Packaging Europe, one of Europe’s largest can makers, Larissa has strategically activated Consumer Communications through New Media. She now works as Business Manager Soft Drinks in Zürich, Switzerland.

Gerald Bumann, Villeroy & Boch: Villeroy & Boch Puts Virtual Baths in Customers’ Homes Before Any Purchase

Following the wholly positive feedback for the demonstration version of the AR app at the ISH Trade Fair in Frankfurt, Villeroy & Bosh soon realized that they wanted to make it an innovative form of product presentation available to their sales partners and customers. With the AR app they are blazing a brand new trail in the bath segment. They are extending the boundaries of the retail area while reducing long-term costs. The use of the app also generates added value during the selling process –  for dealers, installers, architects and salespeople alike. Now customers can experience their new bath at home in 3-D before they make the purchasing decision.

We’ll keep you posted with more reviews from InsideAR 2013. Want to see it all now? Check out our Youtube page for all the event videos.

November 4, 2013: Weekest Links

November 4, 2013

Remember remember the fourth of November. 

I remember this from that one night in college.

Metaio | Junaio Recap

  • Augmented Reality: Ikea Catalogue and beyond [Econsultancy]
  • New Webinar: Learn all about the new features in the Metaio Creator 3.0 [video]
  • CastAR: A future in Augmented Reality and Videogames [blog]
  • InsideAR 2013: The Future of Wearable Computing [blog]
  • AR Dirt Podcast: InsideAR Recap [AR Dirt]

There are things that are happening

  • Google gesture patent would let Glass wearers “heart” real-world objects [engadget]
  • Virtual Reality: All you need to know about input devices for the bright new future of gaming [Gamasutra]
  • The rise of Augmented Reality in gaming [IQ Intel Blog]
  • Peering into the future of Augmented Reality Gaming [Gamasutra]


  • Trak Lord will present at this year’s Visual Media Alliance in San Francisco, “How to: Augment Reality into a Real Thing”, November 6 [event site]
  • Brendan Scully will participate in a panel on AR at the 7th GeoWeb Summit, November 7 in New York City [50% discount]
  • All the InsideAR presentations from Day 1 and Day 2 are available on Metaio’s YouTube page []

Pick of the week: Pixelstick – Light Painting Evolved

For those of you who don’t know about light painting, it’s basically twirling around gigantic light-saber type things to slow-capture large digital impressions on reality. Maybe not computer vision, but extremely creative and visually stimulating. Enjoy the video- more on their Kickstarter page.

Metaio to Celebrate 10 Years of Augmented Reality at InsideAR 2013

September 5, 2013

InsideAR_10In a little more than a month, hundreds of attendees from around the world will gather in Munich, Germany at the Kleine Olympiahalle on October 10th and 11th, to get a glimpse into the future of mobile augmented reality technology. Celebrating the first and the next 10 years, Metaio will highlight the latest in developer projects and consumer apps while showcasing the future of innovation in the form of wearable computing and enterprise projects that drive the industry. With speakers from all over the world and break-out workshops for attendees, this will be the most illuminating InsideAR to date and will show that “Always On, Always Augmented” is more than just a vision.


Though InsideAR 2013 will cover all aspects of the AR industry, this year Metaio will highlight the overwhelmingly successful enterprise applications that brought augmented reality to the forefront while looking to the future to the wearable computing that will determine the future of user interfaces. Arriving just a short time after the release of major international projects like the 2014 IKEA Catalog, the McDonald’s McMission app and the Audi eKurzinfo interactive user manual, InsideAR will feature these projects and more on stage and on the show floor.

InsideAR_5Thought-leaders and professionals from all over the world will journey to InsideAR this year to share their insight, including representatives from IKEA, Ball Packaging Europe, Constellation Research, Audi, Intel, Mitsubishi Electric, APX Labs, Volkswagen, NVIDIA, Disney, Deloitte, Epson, Vuzix, ABI Research and more.

Attendees are encouraged to participate in select workshops where they can learn from experts and discuss strategies and best-practices in development, marketing and enterprise environments.InsideAR_1

Metaio will also present the winners of the first-ever Metaio International Developer Competition, with the Best AR Solution, Best AR Game, Best AR Content and Best Junaio Channel all announced on-stage.

“InsideAR is more than just a technology conference,” said Dr. Thomas Alt, CEO & Co-Founder of Metaio. “It’s truly an opportunity to learn the past, present, and most importantly, the future of Augmented Reality.”

For more information, and to register for InsideAR 2013 please visit the conference website at

For exhibitors, speakers or sponsor inquiries, please contact insideAR(at)

InsideAR_9 InsideAR_7 InsideAR_6 InsideAR_4 InsideAR_2 InsideAR_11

August & Everything After Weekest Links

August 26, 2013

Round here we augment very very very very late. 

Metaio | Junaio Recap

  • Vote for us at South by Southwest 2014! [vote!]
  • Audi’s eKurzinfo app uses augmented reality to sidestep A3 owner’s manual [engadget]
  • IKEA app projects virtual furniture into your living room [The Verge]

There are things that are happening

  • Seriously, vote for Metaio at SXSW 2014!! [please please vote!]
  • Your Children Will Learn And Play In This Sandbox Of The Future [BuzzFeed]
  • Google Glass update hints at what final product will be like [Fast Company]
  • Leap Motion and their million downloads [Wired: Beyond the Beyond]
  • A look into the mind-bending Google Glass of 2029 [CNET]


  • I will find you. I will find you and ask you why haven’t voted in SXSW 2014. And it will be weird. [vote?]
  • Epson dangles $1,000 bounty to attract augmented reality apps [we were there!] [engadget]
  • Brand new InsideAR 2013 Website- check out all the new content, and don’t forget to register for the most exciting augmented reality event out there! [Oct 10-11, Munich]

Pick of the Week Time I’ve Been On Vacation: XKCD Takes on Google Glass

Courtesy of & Randall Munroe

Courtesy of & Randall Munroe

Check out the full site for more webcomics “of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”.

We’re so excited and just can’t hide it! – The new IKEA Catalog App 2014 has Metaio inside

August 7, 2013

We are very proud to be part of this very great project!

Update: The new Catalog and the App 2014 are now available in Germany! 

Image courtesy IKEA

Image courtesy IKEA

Amazing media coverage!

““Our customers want to be able to test out whether the products they’ve been inspired by in our catalog will work in their own homes – particularly when it comes to larger pieces of furniture. Offering a way of using mobile technology to enable to test products means the technology has a practical purpose and really helps customers visualize the way their homes could look.” says Peter Wright, Country Marketing Manager, IKEA UK and Ireland.

With the help of cutting-edge software, IKEA is looking to make interior decorating more fun, efficient, and less wasteful. By cutting down on returns, the company can potentially save money and energy in shipping and production costs. Sadly, you still have to go to the store in person to visit the cafeteria.” 

(Quote taken from

“By any measure IKEA is an innovative brand and when they team up with Metaio, one of the leading Augmented Reality(AR) technology companies something interesting is bound to happen.

The 2014 IKEA Catalogue app for Android and iOS will let you place, move and share over 100 pieces of furniture in 3D AR. IKEA’s internal research showed that 14% of their customers have in the past purchased furniture of the wrong size and 70% do not know the size of their own rooms. Hence the app was created to allow consumers to visualize the size, shape, colour and positioning in situ (video below). At its worst an AR app that allows customers to see how IKEA’s products would fit into their own homes should reduce the returns of ill-fitting furniture and at best it could provide a significant increase in online sales.”

(Quote taken from

“Ikea has developed a killer app for AR”

(Quote taken from

Further articles on the Augmentedblog:  

Thank you IKEA for this amazing video! 


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