Come on baby, light my fire: Light switches in a new dimension

April 7, 2014

The release of the BUSCH-JAEGER light switch application magically projects virtual light switches onto the walls of your home. 

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Do you want to experience the light switch of your choice on your wall even before it is installed? Now, that’s possible with the new BUSCH-JAEGER light switch app. The new 3D-LiveView transforms a marker tacked to the wall into a deceptively realistic light switch. You can then look at the three-dimensional switch from different angles – amazingly believable. In addition to the 3-D-visualization of the complete BUSCH-JAEGER light switch line, the app also uses location based AR to determine and display sales partners in the area.  2

The marketing team of Q:marketing  has developed this Augmented Reality app with the help of the Metaio SDK.

“With augmented reality applications we offer our clients a new and innovative approach to a more intense and sustainable dialogue with their customers. Our main intention is to deliver digital added value. Metaio and its AR SDK are providing us with the technical framework for bringing our ideas to live.”, says Sascha Wenning, Q:marketing, Head of Department Screendesign & Mobile Development. 

The app is intended to strengthen the brand of BUSCH-JAEGER with an innovative approach to product presentation. The app is available for iOS and Android free of charge. The marker can be downloaded via link within the app or on the BUSCH-JAEGER website.

The application enjoys increasing popularity due to the added value it provides. It will receive further updates and new functions in the future. Up next is a tablet version for iOS.  BUSCH-JAEGER will certainly expand the AR features even further.

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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.”

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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


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! 


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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Working for Metaio: Introducing Emily Wachelka

July 2, 2013

If you want to meet a strong and colorful woman at Metaio, Emily should be your first choice!

Always having a stunning smile for you: Emily as its best!

Always having a stunning smile for you: Emily at her best!

Emily studied Political Science and Italian at the Northwestern University as well as Intercultural Communication and Cooperation at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. For metaio she is working for our patent office. She’s doing the Intellectual Property Administration & Research and manages all the correspondence related to patents & trademarks and conducts research related to other patents out there in the world. Sounds quite boring doesn’t it? But Emily isn’t that at all! So let us introduce her in the legendary Metaio interview:

How did you get on your way to Metaio?

I first came to Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program, where I studied environmental politics and had an internship with a Munich city environmental group. After that, I worked in an English-German Kindergarten before beginning my Masters program and starting a job as a Patent Administrator for a Patent Law Firm. So I guess you can say I have a colorful work history. I am loving the day to day of Intellectual Property administration at Metaio – so many amazing ideas and innovations!

I heard about Metaio through a friend who also works here. Word of mouth truly is the best way to advance your career.

It's not really her working dress...

It’s not really her working dress…

What do you like the most about working for Metaio?

I love that metaio manages to have the character of a small(ish) start up but still have such diverse and international employees! I feel like every day, I meet someone from a different country.

What do you do when you’re not Augmenting Reality?

I love swimming and the water, so when the weather is nice, you can usually find me at a pool or a lake. I have tried most water related sports (in the photo, I am suited up for an Underwater Hockey match) but in the end, I’m a swimmer at heart.

Is there any tradition at Metaio which you like the most?

The group birthday singing is the best. I always get goosebumps when a bunch of people sing together. It doesn’t matter how off key we are. :-)

Which one is your most favourite Augmented Reality experience, and why?

Well, being American and all, my favorite sport is Football, and I think the USA Today augmented tour of the Cowboy’s Superbowl Stadium is pretty cool. Although I have to mention as a devout Pittsburgh Steelers fan: booo Cowboys!

Check out the USA Today Channel on Junaio here


Vote For Metaio for the 2013 Auggies!

May 17, 2013

Sorta reminds me of this.

It’s that time of year again, as the Augmented World Expo has renewed and expanded the annual award for the best of the best in the augmented reality industry, the “Auggies”. Previously consisting of only a single award, the competition now has 6 categories, and Metaio and its partners are competing in 4 of them!

For the next two weeks, awards will be open to public voting in order to narrow down the entries for each category to just 5 finalists. We’re competing against some of the best and most creative apps in the world, we’d love your support. Please take a moment to vote for our entries (individual links are listed below), or just click on one of the category buttons below to go straight to the entry.

    

And while you’re at it, we’d love for you to support our amazing partners working with our technology:

Here’s a look back at the our winning submission from the 2012 Auggies, 3-D object recognition and tracking:

Once again, thanks for your support in making Metaio the best Augmented Reality Company out there!


Free At Last: the metaio Mobile SDK

December 9, 2011

We are pretty darn excited.

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

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

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

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

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

Read the press release.

Download the SDK.

Get excited.


Read this!

February 15, 2008

3D Advertising

It might be no surprise, that my mother´s tongue isn´t english. I try hard not to sound like Boris Becker, but I think a native reader will grin from time to time while going through the entries. So, with a reason this article is only available in german. I wrote it together with my colleague Michael, and it shall give an overview about “augmented reality now”. No hype, no crazy shit – but listings, documentations and a good start if you want to develop things like our 3D advertising application, which you can see above.


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