Friday, June 12, 2015

Augmented World Event - Superpowers to the People

This past week was the Augmented World Event. Themed 'Superpowers to the People', this year's event showcased the hardware and software augmenting our lives. The event featured over 200 companies leading the charge in augmented and virtual reality, wearable tech and the Internet of Things. Over 3,000 tech professionals engaged in over 20+ workshops, 200+ interactive demos, a VR experience powered by UploadVR and 100+ AWE-inspiring talks from industry leaders and pioneers. AWE is focused on turning ordinary experiences into the extraordinary and empowering people to be better at anything they do in work and life.

Hands down this is still the best event for the commercial side of immersive technologies that brings together industry leaders from all over the world. There were plenty of folks from Europe, Israel, Asia, and all over the U.S.A. Monday was a day full of workshops with Tuesday and Wednesday being the speaker sessions and expo days for the event.

As usual I was moderating the Enterprise track all of Tuesday, but I got to see some great presentations and plenty of goodies on the expo floor. The expo featured several AR platform providers and about a dozen different AR and VR headset manufacturers. There was standing room only in several of the speaker sessions and great panel presentations including my favorite one on the closing day, 'VR vs. AR' where Amir Rubin of Sixense became my hero for how he held it down.

Subscribe and stay posted to the event's Youtube channel for the videos that will be released of this year's conference. Superpower your life and definitely check out the event for yourself next year. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Augmented Reality Pioneer Metaio gets acquired by Apple

So Apple has bought the German augmented reality company Metaio. I learned of the announcement via Tweetdeck and Magdalena Rogl's Twitter account where she posted a picture of this document.

I send a huge congrats to Metaio's founders Thomas and Peter. Metaio has been around longer than a decade and continued to push the limits of the AR envelope with their computer vision and tracking technologies. I have been a fan of Metaio's technology for some time now as seen in the videos below.

It definitely doesn't come as a shock that this company got acquired as they have great augmented reality tech and some good AR patents, but I am shocked it was by Apple and I am curious to see what they do with this technology now. With such big players like Apple, Facebook, Google, and others coming into the AR & VR space, our lives are about to get a lot more mixed with the digital world. Strap in and hold on!

*scan this image with the Junaio mobile app

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Getting creative with Immersive Tech

I just wrapped up a fun weekend at a Virtual Reality Hackathon here in San Francisco. Located at Galvanize's downtown campus, the event brought together the diehards of virtual reality this Memorial Day weekend. Folks came from all around to work together and create some pretty amazing VR projects.




The winners and categories were:

Best Web-based VR Project Winners 
1st place: Team VR Party
2nd place: Team Planet Chase

Best Mobile-based VR Project Winners
1st place: Team OKVR
2nd place: Team GoPro on Steriods

Best Looking VR Scene Winner
1st place: Team Mole Quest
 2nd place: Team VRecover

Best VR Project of Show Winner
1st place: Team Wilderness Road VR

Best X3DOM VR Project Winner
1st place: Team Dog Chase

Best Samsung GearVR Project Winner
1st place: Team VR Transit

A big thanks to the amazing San Francisco VR community and the sponsors for making this another great hackathon. The next VR Hackathon is coming up next month in Seattle and I can't wait. See you there!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hacking on the Internet of Things

I just wrapped up presenting at the Internet of Things World Event and being the Master of Ceremony for the event's hackathon here in San Francisco.

For those that don't know, the Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable it to achieve greater value and service by exchanging data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure.

Watch this video from Mashable below for a very basic explanation.

More about the event can be found at the event's webpage and while I did get a chance to walk to the expo floor, most of my time was spent in the hackathon area. The IoT hackers were going after two categories, Best Consumer IoT Project and Best Industrial IoT Project.

Participants were encouraged to use a variety of hardware resources provided by some of the following sponsors.

 And the winners are...

Best Industrial IoT Project:
Team iTrashed created a robotic trashcan. This autonomous device knew via sensors when it's full, can open a garage door and drive itself to the curb. When it is empty, it opens the garage and drives back inside. The team demonstrated the garage door opening with an automated mini door a teammate held.

Best Consumer IoT Project:
Team Silent Safety created an application for deaf people that used the Philips Hue smart bulb colored light and its different colors to indicate when someone was knocking at the door or when a window or door was opening.

This was a super fun event and I highly recommend it for roboticists, makers, and IoT developers.

Augmented Reality company DAQRI Acquires AR Pioneer ARToolworks

Augmented Reality company DAQRI has acquired AR software pioneer ARToolworks, makers of the open source AR platform, ARToolKit. It has been years since I have used the platform myself but this is interesting news. 

Here is the news via Business Wire:
DAQRI, the leading augmented reality/4D company, today announced the acquisition of ARToolworks, pioneers in the field of augmented reality and creator of ARToolKit, the world’s most popular library for AR application development. DAQRI, already a leader in 4D hardware and software, will make all of the features of ARToolKit’s commercially licensed Pro version, such as the markerless, natural feature tracking libraries, iOS, Android and Unity versions, available free and open source under a LGPL v.3 License, as of today. This includes a commitment to expand ARToolKit, with DAQRI’s state-of-the-art industrial and mobile tracking technologies. 

 “My original vision for AR involved a future where this technology was part of our everyday lives, providing a layer of information over everything in the world around us. When ARToolKit was released, it inspired a whole generation of augmented reality development. For over 15 years, when people entered the space, ARToolKit was one of the first things they picked up, and it helped them learn what AR was all about,” said Brian Mullins, founder and CEO, DAQRI. “We believe that it’s important to have free and open source software at the core of an industry. We’re hoping that with this acquisition, and our commitment to developing ARToolKit in the future, we can kick off the next AR revolution and inspire a whole new generation to pick it up and make things that haven’t been imagined yet.” 

 Founded in 2001, ARToolworks was an early advocate in making cutting-edge AR technology available commercially. As the creators of ARToolKit, the company has continued to develop AR technology and expanded into a robust slate of customized software. ARToolKit is one of the most widely used AR tracking libraries, with close to one million downloads to date and is available on all major operating systems and programming languages. The ARToolworks’ team will join DAQRI, with CEO Ben Vaughan and CTO Philip Lamb leading the newly created open source division. 

 “My original vision for AR involved a future where this technology was part of our everyday lives, providing a layer of information over everything in the world around us,” said Vaughan. “Now we are on the cusp of that vision becoming a reality. ARToolKit’s existing open source partners created an array of derivative products that helped drive the early growth of the AR industry. With DAQRI, we will be offering the community a host of new features and in-depth support to encourage a second wave of development.”

3D Web Fest - Act 2: Art on the 3D Web

In a post earlier this year I wrote about a 3D Web Festival and its goal to bring together performance artists and Web 3D developers to create new types of art-meets-tech web exhibits. To recap, the 3D Web Festival showcases websites that are the best mixture of music, art, and technology by those inspired by what’s possible from the best of the best of the 3D Web. The festival will, "bring together the best of the 3D Web - presented as Live Performance Art – amazing, delightful, surprising and at times disturbing".

We just finished up the first show held Wednesday May 13, 2015 in San Francisco and what a success it was. There were creations by selected artists and developers of all kinds showing off their best 3D web sites live with musical accompaniment. Guests got to participate in a panel session with selected performers on the future of the 3D Web including audience Q&A. Also, in true support-the-arts fashion the ticket proceeds from this event went to the oldest working theater in San Francisco, the Roxie Theater.

Check out the six videos on the 3D Web Fest Youtube Channel to watch the entire show!

The program of artists was as follows:
1. TONE PONG / R.Yagiz Mungan - site
2. CHARACTER STUDY FOR WEBGL GAMES / Samuel Girardin - site
3. GRAVITY / Xiaohan Zhang - site
4. A PARTICLE DREAM / Nop Jiarathanakul - site
5. MARATROPA / Marpi - site
6. MTV EMA 2012 OPENER / Mate Steinforth - site
7. SEEMORE / Will Eastcott - site
8. MOUNTAINS OF MOUTHNESS / Goo Technologies - site
9. RAINBOW MEMBRANE / Isaac Cohen - site
10. ARTERYS / Fabien Beckers, John Axerio Cilies - site
11. JUST A REFLEKTOR / Vincent Morisset - site
12. LIGHTS / Carlos Ulloa - site
13. (OUT) LOOKING GLASS / Ben de Leeuw - site
14. CHAMELEON / Mate Steinforth, Tom Kombüchen, David Kamp - site
15. NYUMBLIES / Garth Morgan, Micah Berons - site
16. SKAZKA / Goo Technologies - site
17. VR DATA LANDSCAPE / Weidong Yang - site





It was a great show with a packed house and standing room only at the Folsom Street Foundry. I give a big thanks to all the artists that submitted work, the selection committee, performers that made the show, and to my fellow organizing team that made this THE event of where art meets the 3D Web. So if you are an artist looking to use the 3D Web as a new medium for your work, make sure to submit a project for the next festival and I hope to see you at the one next year!