#235 Next Up, Apple Getting Into Augmented Reality

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iPhone-to-iPhone Augmented Reality May Soon Be Possible

Apple may soon debut an iPhone-to-iPhone augmented reality feature.

If you think the race for the best (and most) augmented reality (AR) products is gonna slow down, you’re wrong. Huge companies like Google, Amazon and Apple are scrambling to spit out as many AR products as they can develop them.

Both Google and Apple are reportedly trying to develop an AR technology that will allow two people to see the same virtual object in the same space. This bit of technology however is quite controversial and has brought out privacy concerns.

But Apple seems to have gone ahead and is ready to announce its iPhone-to-iPhone AR technology.

Sources claim that the Cupertino-based company has found a workaround to the privacy concern. The scanned data is reportedly going to be sent directly between the phones. This means Apple will not have any chance to see or record any data transmitted between two phones.

This is different from Google’s process which includes users having to scan their surroundings and store that data in the cloud.

The company has declined to comment on any of this rumours. But it has been widely speculated that there won’t be any hardware reveals this year at the WWDC. Instead, Apple will focus on software updates and and bug fixes.

If that is the case, debuting this AR feature would definitely be oen the highlights of the event. We’ve already heard about iPhones possibly being able to open doors. Adding the iPhone-to-iPhone AR would be the icing on the cake. Don’t you think so?

Google Is Bringing ARCore To China, Partners With Xiaomi App Store

The search giant is bringing ARCore apps for augmented reality (AR) experiences to the Red Dragon.

There’re really no stopping Google in their quest to expand their market in China. The search giant is making its ARCore apps for AR available in the country through Xiaomi’s App Store. The announcement was made through it’s official Twitter account.

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2S smartphones are the first to have this feature. Google will soon add more partners.

Most of Google’s core services such as Google Play are blocked or restricted in China. However, the apps based on ARCore will be able to function because it can work on devices even without cloud support. Once the apps are downloaded, China’s internet censors won’t be able to stop them anymore.

Google is also amping up its presence in the country by partnering with its local handset makers such as Xiaomi and Huawei. Both operate their own app stores which are already preloaded on their devices.

This is not the only effort that Google is doing to penetrate the Chinese market further.In recent months, the company has struck a partnership with Tencent and invested in a few tech startups. Additionally, it also announced a Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based lab in Beijing.

In September, Google is also hosting its s first Demo Day programme for startups in Asia in Shanghai.

 

Google Is Working on Standalone AR Headset with Camera and Voice Input

Google’s AR headset is said to sport a camera and voice input.

Google is reportedly working on a standalone Augmented Reality (AR) headset according to a German news site WinFuture.

Codenamed Google A65, the search giant is said to be working with Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta to produce the headset. This is the same company that produced the Pixel C tablet.

The AR headset appears to be equipped with camera sensors and microphones. The latter would be used to operate the device using Google Assistant.

A custom Qualcomm quad core IoT chip called the QSC603 will power the device. The QSC603 could enable the device to support resolutions up to 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and 1080p and 1030p video capture. Additionally, it also supports 3D overlays and Gigabit wireless, Bluetooth 5.1, and GPS connectivity, and the Android Neural Networks API.

Google’s latest headset would also feature an additional chipset codenamed “SXR1.”

There’s no timeline yet for the completion of the project but according to WinFuture, it could still be awhile. Talks with partners only started earlier this year so a possible launch is not yet imminent. Of course, Apple is also reportedly in the early stages of developing a standalone headset. We’ll have to wait and see who gets to launch first.

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Mozilla Releases Firefox Reality Browser For AR, VR

Mozilla has released this week a new version of Firefox web browser designed for VR and AR headsets. The browser which is called the Firefox Reality, according to Mozilla, is intended to be used for augmented reality headsets instead of using PC or smartphones.

 

Firefox Reality Browser For AR, VR

 

What’s good with Mozilla’s Firefox Reality browser is that it is compatible with other platforms. The browser has been developed using opensource resources and is privacy-friendly. Firefox Reality also features a special interface for VR and AR headsets.

 

The company said that the new browser was built to discuss “new opportunities and challenges of browsing the immersive Web.” Mozilla’s attempt to use the emerging mixed reality web standards allows its global users to experience games. The company’s new browser also assured the users that no apps would be installed for a particular headset.

 

“The future of mixed reality is about delivering experiences, not about building applications. There shouldn’t be friction moving from one experience to another,” Sean White, Senior Vice President, Emerging Technologies, of Mozilla said in a blog post.

 

Moreover, Mozilla’s new browser was developed using the company’s technology and web engine Servo.

 

Mozilla, in another blog, pointed out that, “From the Servo team (who recently joined the Mixed Reality team), we will gain the ability to experiment with entirely new designs and technologies for seeing and interacting with the immersive web.”

Mozilla Unveils Firefox Reality Browser for AR and VR

Mozilla now offers an alternative browser for Firefox, one that supports AR and VR headsets.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Mozilla announced a new version of its Firefox web browser. This browser, dubbed Firefox Reality, is specifically designed to be used with virtual and augmented reality headsets.

According to Mozilla, the new mixed reality browser has been built to tackle “new opportunities and challenges of browsing the immersive Web.” It is meant to be cross-platform, privacy-friendly and open source.

With the use of emerging mixed reality web standards, Firefox Reality allows consumers to use it without installing additional apps. And unlike others, the new browser will work on various devices and platforms.

Senior Vice President of Emerging Technologies Sean White explains the product in detail. “The future of mixed reality is about delivering experiences, not about building applications. There shouldn’t be friction moving from one experience to another.”

As with their desktop browser, the VR-friendly browser is open source. The company has already released its source code and developer builds for different platforms on GitHub.

There is no news yet as to when the browser will be available to the public. What we do know for certain is that it will be available with HTC Vive Focus and other headsets supported by HTC’s Vive Wave VR platform at launch.

Mozilla will be releasing more updates for Firefox Reality in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

 

Intel’s Vaunt: Discreetly Smart Eyeglasses for Sensurround Data

Smart eyeglasses are old news and with Google Glass and Snap Spectacles receiving lukewarm reception why did Intel launch Vaunt? Intel, the 50-year old company synonymous with high-speed CPUs tossed its hat into the ring of smart glass developers with a different take on what smart eyeglasses should be. First, it had to be stylish, not nerdy looking. Intel considered acceptance a hurdle since people were resistant to smart wearable that made them look geeky.

Cool designs that were lightweight (only 50 grams even with the batteries, laser, and electronics) worked with prescriptions and felt like normal glasses do debuted in February 2018 and true enough, looked pretty standard. No outlandish buttons, screens, camera, or jutting microphones for this AR gadget using Retinal Projection Technology. In fact, Intel developers bragged about being able to play games and holding a conversation with company none the wiser that they didn’t have your attention 100%. Smart, utilitarian, and subtle – what’s not to like?

The Retinal Projection Technology eliminates the screens common to other smart glasses. Low power laser considered safe for the eyes projects the images to the retina so you can discreetly read data, text, and other information discreetly without pushing buttons or gesturing wildly. Intel’s New Design Group (NDG) re-engineered Vaunt for Apple and Android and did away with the camera and other obvious touch controls. Intel’s Vaunt uses voice, head movement, eye motion, AI, and of course laser for a totally hands-free experience.

This is not the first time Intel was involved in the development of smart glasses. In late 2016, it also released the Intel Recon Jet Pro touted as the hands-free Smart glasses for the connected workforce. While Intel is releasing the Vaunt for developers so they could explore practical uses and discover new potentials, the Recon Jet Pro’s purpose was very clear: it provided smartphone functionality and hands-free convenience. It changed workflows so that by streamlining, work was done efficiently and saved companies a lot of money – while significantly decreasing errors and speeding-up tasks. Since it operated in real time, these glasses were used in activities that required mission-critical for quick decisions. But the Jet-Pro could not masquerade as your normal daily-wear, not by a long shot. The Vaunt, projected to possess the best characteristics of the Jet-Pro such as ease of use, total control, and connectivity is intended for the general public as they go about daily tasks. The Vaunt will be released to developers by the year’s end with pricing still to be determined.

 

 

 

 

Kabaq: Fast and Easy Food Choices With Snap AR Marketing

International cuisine, no longer the dominated by France is defining choices from high-end restaurants to food trucks. Kabaq, using AR technology cuts the confusion, whets the appetite, and turbo-charges selection with lifelike 3D images – WYSIWYG indeed! Intended for the whole spectrum, it sets clear expectations for diners whatever the setting.

Customers dining in high-end restaurants or ordering online are fully immersed in the experience. In fact, rather than being a passive activity, seeing the presentation makes it easier to ask the maitre d’ (or waitress, if you will) specific questions and is a great ice-breaker – literally food for thought. Choosing for a group with varied tastes is now a snap (pun intended) because the app allows you to virtually populate the table with your preferences. No more over-ordering or waiting for additional dishes after everyone else is done because the estimates fell short. Long story short, it’s great for people who hate surprises! It’s also the best option for the finicky who want their food,”just so”. And did I mention that it’s fun?

“Kabaq enable users to see virtual 3D food on their table in-restaurant and when ordering online.”  – KaBAQ

Detractors claim that it puts devices on the table and depersonalizes the dining experience. Others say it’s nothing but a menu on steroids. But Kabaq counters that would be totally missing the point. For the clueless who can’t make a decision based on intimidating menu entries (some of which are printed in a foreign language with vague descriptions), photos help. Notice how ordering Japanese or Chinese food is made infinitesimally easier when they are in full color? However, pictures on the menu don’t give you an idea about serving size. Good for one or good for four are totally relative, but “real-size” as seen on the plate prevents misses. In my experience, I’ve never nailed estimates and either went home hungry or with enough left-over food to feed a basketball team!

The app makes it easy for restaurateurs to explain their menu. Virtual 3-D models, photographed from the restaurant’s own offerings can now be superimposed on the table and their every tasty attribute discussed. In fact, it so effective than Haim Amit, the owner of Vino Levantino in New York claimed that since the restaurant used the app sales increased by 22%, largely due to the greater demand for desserts.  Seeing the tasty array makes it easier to upsell orders to higher-priced items like steaks instead of just salads or pasta – and even add on desserts, side dishes, and drinks for a veritable feast.

“Kabaq offers high quality realistic food models for augmented, virtual and mixed reality experiences.” – Alper Guler

Kabaq is the brainchild of Kabaq is the brainchild of Caner Soyer(Head of Content) and Alper Guler(CEO). Founded barely 3 years ago Guler leveraged technologies like Snap’s Lens Studio and Apple’s ARKit. To date one of Kabaq’s biggest clients, the dipndip franchise is already using it through their 100 cafes globally. It is launching two very important campaigns soon: Bareburger, a New-York-based burger joint with 50 locations starting February 2018 and a top-secret project debuting in March. With recent views at 1M for its Blue Burger, this virtual app for real down-to-earth hunger is certainly going places (and filling stomachs)!

 

How was this digital twist made possible? Kabaq’s technology is actually simple in concept and practically how Disney used to animate cartoons in 2D. Using a rotating turntable, photos are taken 360 degrees so that the user can have the option to view the image from any angle in the app. Imagine it as stop-motion animation using food as 3D objects and processed with advanced 3D scanning technologies. For sure, these images of real, mouth-watering dishes are more delectable than any computer-generated ones.

“We believe the future of viewing and ordering food will be immersive, within AR, MR and VR environments.”     –   Kabaq

Alper Guler is optimistic that this technology will be on the rise because visually appealing or “Instagrammable” dishes are the rage, and have been for years. Aside from restaurant menus and online food ordering, Kabaq can be used as a branding tool using the Snapchat platform and can be effectively used for catering presentations. The Snapchat connection augers particularly well for its growth since 40% of users are between 25-40 years old –  definitely the foodie market. With more restaurant and chains piloting the app, it won’t be a surprise if Kabaq turns out to be the restaurant menu of the future.

Sources:

What’s On the Menu? Augmented Reality and 3-D Food Models. (2017). VOA. Retrieved 1 February 2018, from https://www.voanews.com/a/augmented-reality-3-d-food-models-on-the-menu/4136235.html

http://www.kabaq.io/

The Rise of AR: Unlocking Augmented Reality for Business

The rise of Augmented Reality started with mobile games. It’s when the real world is connected with the virtual world for more exciting adventures.

But now, developers are improving AR so that it will also be available for business.

The Rise of AR

AR blends the line between reality and digital worlds. This creates a new type of environment for us to interact. Unlike VR, we don’t have to use goggles when using AR. It can be used with smartphones and tablets.

With AR available for business, it’s a great potential for advanced fields like medicine, scientific research and the like.

Nowadays, people see frequent demonstrations of AR in their daily lives, whether they realize it or not. Even when watching television, AR is already responsible for it.

With its unifying talent, augmented reality is useful in making workflows and processes more efficient.

AR is also about to be used in real estate.

Magic Leap One Headset Announced

Tech users have something to look forward next year. This comes after Google is soon to release a new device that would change the AR world. Called as the Magic Leap One, the search giant funded augmented-reality start-up will finally come out, a report from CNET said on Thursday, December 21.

Details of the Magic Leap One was shared by Rony Abovit, the founder and CEO of the company. He described Magic Leap One as a round-lensed googles that have display, audio and external camera sensors. Google’s new device is actually a handheld controller that looks like a touchpad.

What is Magic Leap One?

Magic One Leap’s touch pad is quiet similar to Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View’s phone-based VR headsets. Magic One Leap also connects itself to a round computer that works smoothly.

What’s amazing with this device is that you don’t need to tether to either a phone or PC. Given the public announcement of Magic Leap One, the company, however, did not release any details about its release date as well as the price.

The Magic One Leap is bundled with a Lightwear pair of glasses, a belt pack called Lightpack, and a controller. One of the features of Magic Leap One is its capability to track movements and at the same time map space. Other tech users are comparing the Magic Leap One to other AR headsets like the Microsoft Hololens.

What’s the difference between the Microsoft HoloLens vs Magic Leap One?

The company claims that Magic Leap One has more advanced 3D imaging features. Far more advanced that Microsoft HoloLens because Magic Leap One uses a light field technology with its specialized haptic controller.