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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Apple Is Releasing A Standalone Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset

The standalone augmented and virtual reality headset will reportedly have two 8k displays and will be available in 2020.


(Credit: Medium) A concept rendering of Apple’s AR and VR headset.

If there’s one thing that we’re sure of in the future, it’s the rise of augmented and virtual reality products. Every major company seems to be jumping in the bandwagon and Apple is reportedly one of them.

According to a report by CNET, Apple is making a combined VR and AR headset with their own chips. This was according to a source familiar with the plans.

The source also claims that each eye will have an 8k display, even higher than current TV displays. For comparison, the best VR headsets in the market now have not even reached 4k per eye yet. The headset will have an attached camera that detects surroundings when being used in play.

The headset will work as a standalone device, untethered to a computer or smartphone. Instead, it will connect to a dedicated box through a high-speed, wireless tech called 60GHz WiGig. A proprietary Apple processor will supposedly power the box.

Apple’s take on the AR and VR headsets will reportedly arrive in 2020. According to the source, the project is still on its early stages so it could still be changed or totally scrapped.

Do you think Apple will do a good job on the VR/AR front? Let us know below!

 

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!

 

Tamagochi lands on iOS and Android

My Tamagochi Forever (Credit: Bandai)

90s kids rejoice! Tamagochi, our beloved digital pet, has finally moved out of its err..eggshell and made its way to our handphone devices.

Here’s a brief history lesson to those unfamiliar with this pint-sized pocket pet:

  • It is created by Bandai, a Japanese toy company
  • The first Tamagochis were released in 1996 in Japan and in 1997 worldwide
  • It is a digital pet that needs tending to otherwise they actually die
  • Bandai (now Bandai Namco) released a newer, smaller version in 2017
  • It was first announced in November last year that the electronic pet will be available on mobile as My Tamagochi Forever
Tamagochi Electornic Pets

The app, now available for download for both iOS and Android, utilizes the ever-popular Freemium model where users can download the game for free but can opt to purchase or watch ads for bonuses and perks.

Although the app still has the original characters and has the same goal – taking care of your virtual pet –  it has a few differences to the electronic toy that took over the 90s by storm.

Aside from updated graphics, the app is also AR-ready. Users can explore the communal town called Tamatown where the pets to interact with others. There are also a few mini games that users can play within the app that rewards you with more coins and unlocks the different levels available in the game. You can now have multiple characters as well and you can even pick their outfits. And now with the touchscreen capabilities of smartphones and tables, users can pet and tickle their Tamagochis.

What they didn’t take away from the original game? The amount of poop that the pets can make. Apparently, this pint-sized pet can still generate quite a surprising amount from eating mostly apples and chocolate bars.

Throwback feels anyone?

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.

AvatarLab: Advertisers Snap to $Millions

Snapchat is alive and kicking as it ushers in 2018 with AR lenses that level-up user and advertiser experience with AvatarLabs. AvatarLabs, chosen as one of seven AR development partners of Snap is not a newbie in the digital world. Before developing custom Snap World and Face Lenses for advertisers on Snap, it had built a solid reputation as a full, interactive agency in film, gaming, and advertising.

“No one else is delivering creative Augmented Reality experiences at the scale of Snap and we are thrilled to be able to offer cutting-edge engagement direct to our clients.” – Bill Hargis, Creative Director at AvatarLabs

It was behind Fox Motion Pictures Sponsored Lens for its Peanuts Movie promotion which fully captured the fun behind the Charles Schultz Gen X favorite while updating it for CG-savvy netizens. Did the Snap challenge capture the imagination of teens and millennials? It was a gamble that evidently paid off after the story was picked up by the leading names in media, earning $44M during its opening, largely from the 100M or so Snap users.

Since 2011, it had leap-frogged from storytelling in social media to running campaigns for 7 of the world’s highest grossing films of all‑time! It brings to Snap its rich experience in engaging its audience through display media, gaming, and web content across a variety of social and business niches. From 2014 where it was part of top-grossers like Game of Thrones and Resident Evil, it now has Disney, Marvel, HBO, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal, ABC, NBC, WB, Mattel, Plantronics, Amazon, and major consumer goods companies as clients.

Another area where AvatarLabs excels in is the Choose Your Adventure ad, an interactive storytelling experience that is a boon to advertisers. It’s fun, takes you into the experience, and is never hard-sell. The ads are so simple, relate to a common human experience, and gets you to push that CTA button almost effortlessly.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Snap Ad Demo from AvatarLabs on Vimeo.

AvatarLabs’s expertise in augmented reality, social media, live streaming, digital storytelling, and video creation is at the disposal of today’s advertiser who wants more of filters, lenses, Snap Ads, 360 Videos and Snapchat Content Strategy for brand awareness. Use that on Snap, judged as the most important social media of US teens in 2017 (ahead of Instagram and Facebook) with a third of its 37M adult users in the 18-24 age-group, and it would seem like a marriage made in social media heaven.

 

 

 

 

Augmented reality and Google glasses for lifecasting

 

This is the future of augmented reality. If there was any moment where I would throw my money on the screen, hoping to get something, this is it. Shut up and take my money is a strong cry of many geeks and non-geeks alike upon the first glance of the concept video of Project Glass’ Google Glasses and its augmented reality interface. These fabulous glasses are said to work like your mobile phone. It allows you to text, call, navigate using Google Maps and browse using Google Voice commands on a pair of sleek eye glasses.

 

Looking at the Project Glass, people are reminded of Vegeta’s Geigar Counter, sprouting a lot of “over 9000” jokes among commenters. Some would tackle the possible future issues that may arise from this technology. Some say that having something like a mobile phone’s screen plastered right in front of you, while walking or driving, may prove to distract you and cause accidents, while you are so focused on the augmented reality interface. While these may be true fears, it’s the same thing whether it is a pair of glasses or a separate mobile phone; it’s everyone’s responsibility to be careful on how they use their gadgets.

Sample of the feared augmented reality

The previous concept video shares how Google Glasses can be used to navigate with Google Maps’ turn by turn navigation, to text, to get reminders, and make video calls using Google+. Very recently, someone had posted another possibility of usage for these glasses in the future. Lifecasting. While it may be very awkward to carry and position a mobile phone or camera in front of you to take videos or pictures of life’s moments in public while you record you life’s moments, having a convenient camera positioned right at your line of sight proves to be a very tasty treat. Not only that, you are able to perform your duties with both your hands free, while using the augmented reality interface and voice commands, all the while taking these videos and then sharing them simply by using these Google Glasses. It provides another way to share life in your shoes, in your point of view, without the need for a mobile phone in your hand.

Sample photo with Google Glasses while playing with their child

Just think of the possibilities that you are not normally able to do with your mobile phone. You can take a video of your road trip, take a video of your hands playing the piano while you give teach, or simply share a video of you spotting some celebrity in the mall while shopping. You can follow turn by turn navigation with Google Maps in you overhead display like in a video game.  All of those moments where you wish you can view something at the same time you are taking a video of it, without looking awkward or shaking because your eyes are focused on the real thing, can now be a possibility.

View the latest ‘leaked’ video of Google Glasses below: