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Showing posts from 2010

WebGL Camp - Pushing forward the 3D Web

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Earlier this month was the second WebGL Camp in Silicon Valley. Organized by Henrik Bennetsen (CEO of Katalabs) and Christian Greuel (Manager of SRIGeovisualization Center), the camp is a developer focused event that aims to bring together the people who are writing the WebGL spec with those who build projects on it for some show and tell.

WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and provides a programmatic interface for 3D graphics. It provides a 3D graphics API implemented in a web browser without the use of plug-ins. It uses the HTML5 canvas element and is accessed using Document Object Model interfaces. The specification is currently a work in progress and is managed by the non-profit Khronos Group.
The event was a who's who from the WebGL community. The presentation list: Gavriel State and Daniel Koch from TransGaming provided a high level introduction to the ANGLE Project. ANGLE provides OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible API's on top of Microsoft's Direct3D. Presentation videoJohannes Be…

Google search and browse the Body

I recently wrote a post on Google's Body Browser that I saw at WebGL Camp#2 this past week. Since that post, the web has exploded with news about this application and web traffic to the blog and video (almost 10,000 views in less than 48 hours) have skyrocketed. Here is the video I took from WebGL camp where it was presented.



To experience the application for yourself, get anyone of these three browsers Chrome 9 Beta, Chrome Canary Build and Firefox 4 beta (WebGL is enabled by default) and then got to the Body Browser site.


As I have covered in previous blogs, WebGL is a cross-platform low-level 3D graphics API that is designed to bring plugin-free 3D to the web. It uses the HTML5 Canvas element and does not require Flash, Java or other graphical plugins to run.
A visit to the Google Health and WebGL team are in the near future for me. Check out the blog I guest write for to get my initial thoughts on this application.

Augmented Reality Developer Camp 2010

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On December 4, 2010 at the GAFFTA space in San Francisco, the second Bay Area Augmented Reality Developer Camp took place. Sponsored by Layar, Metaio, Qualcomm, and Makerlab, the event brought together AR professionals from as far east as New York and south as San Diego.



Presentation sessions covered a range of AR related topics. These include:
Brian Blau has an excellent write-up here on his session that covered future (2011-2014) AR applications.This presentation by Christine Perey reported on the work being done by the international community in regards to standards for augmented reality. Due to technical difficulties on the SF side, Christine wasn't able to present. I feel the attendees really missed out as what she had to share really is the reason Mike, Gene, and I decided to push the idea of an AR Dev Camp to begin with. It supports the belief that, "AR must be fundamentally open, interoperable, extensible, and accessible to all".Metaio writes how they 'rocked…

Gathering Intel

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A few months ago I posted about the Kinect device from Microsoft. Kinect, since its launch in November, has sold over 2.5 million units in less than 30 days. This makes it the fastest adopted consumer electronic device ever, surpassing the recent title holder the iPad. Now what is really impressing me is how the hacking community has gone wild with the device and I recommend visiting KinectHacks.net to see what I mean.
The technology behind the Kinect intrigues me. I know very little about 3D depth sensors and RGB cameras, so to learn more I decided to visit the Intel Lab Seattle that has been doing research in this area long before Kinect was released.

Located by the University of Washington, Intel Lab Seattle is a Center of Excellence in Context-Aware Sensor-Driven Systems. Interdisciplinary projects and an emphasis on prototyping novel systems and user evaluation drive its agenda. Led by Director Dieter Fox, the research staff are recognized experts across a range of topics from …

NEXT comes Innovation from Denmark

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At the end of this past summer, I got the opportunity to present at NEXT2010 located in Arhus, Denmark. Now you wouldn't know by looking at the site, but I promise I was there. Started by the Innovation Lab Denmark six years ago, this annual event covers the latest and greatest in a variety of disciplines. The Lab brings inspiring international speakers and incredible technology to an event that is partly conference, exhibition, cultural, and social event.
This year was the first year NEXT ran concurrently with the Arhus Festuge (festival). The week long festival, which was a blast, had engaging, futuristic NEXT exhibits around the town. I saw big cockroaches that drove robots, a Heineken beerbot, clothes that illuminated from CO2, movable toilets for seniors, a few hundred dollar cup of coffee, and a vest that provided force feedback when playing a first person shooter. Of course this was not all of the exhibits, but those that seemed to stand out the most to me.
For more informati…

Ogmenting My Games

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This past summer in New York I got the opportunity to meet up and interview OriInbar, CEO and cofounder of Ogmento, an augmented reality gaming company. I would easily say that Ogmento is a leader in the commercial AR gaming space and Ori is one of the industry's key players.
He is a founder/author at Gamesalfresco, a leading blog on augmented reality, one of the organizers of the Augmented Reality Event, and heads the Augmented Reality New York (ARNY)meetup group. His company Ogmento, with a development team in New York and a creative studio located in Los Angeles, has raised $3.5 million dollars in a first round of institutional funding from Chart Venture Partners and other private investors.
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Here is a promotional Augmented Reality (AR) app by Ogmento developed to promote the iPhone launch by Orange Telecom Israel.


Put A Spell, the world's first augmented reality learning game for the iPhone.

Many thanks to Ori for such an informative and fun interview. I look fo…

Time to Kinect with your video games

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So Microsoft has created a controller-free gaming and entertainment experience for the Xbox 360 console platform called Kinect. Originally labeled Project Natal, the device is a webcam style add-on peripheral that enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller through a natural user interface using gestures, spoken commands, or presented objects and images.


Obviously this is Microsoft's answer to the Wii and PlayStation Move motion control systems. Ole Kjeldsen, Director of Platform and developers at Microsoft Denmark, gave a great presentation on Kinect at the NEXT 2010 event a couple weeks back.
The potential for the type of games and applications that can be made from this device have very interesting possibilities. One such game Milo, is highlighted in the video below.



So even though Kinect is scheduled to launch worldwide starting with North America in November of this year, I got the chance to play with it during the NEXT 2…

Augment a part of it, New York, New York

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As part of a presentation I have next week that focuses on mixed reality, I built an augmented reality application for viewing various 3D CAD models. For the time allotted to this project I kept it simple and sweet.

I decided to use a traditional marker here as the scene had too much visual noise for image recognition with all the foot and car traffic. Markers on my iPod Touch load different levels of detail 3D models of this one building. Clicking on the model binds it to a viewpoint so the marker is no longer needed.
The example in the video is built on a 'mixed reality' framework that allows interactive models to be accessed by virtual and augmented reality applications. I will be sharing more of my work, application examples, and videos about this framework in the coming months.


AR-cadabra with the Virtual Magician

So I attended the New York Augmented Reality (ARNY) meetup on Tuesday night, which was awesome, and one of the people I got the chance to meet was Marco Tempest, the Virtual Magician. Now I am familiar with Marco by his Youtube videos that blend the latest in technology with magic for super cool presentations and illusions.



A native of Zurich, Marco has won numerous awards for his use of illusion with contemporary choreography and his television series “The Virtual Magician” has aired in some 49 markets worldwide. Marco was nice enough to invite me to stop by his workshop in New York City for a chat. As a total fan of magic and tech, this was a dream come true!
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Here is the video from Marco's Youtube Channel of the AR card trick shown in the interview.



Here is the extended version of the Magic Projection trick he presented at TEDxTokyo.


In addition to being 'wowed' by the magic and the chance to talk with Marco, he really put in perspective for me the need for AR …

What's UpNext?

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A few months back a friend told me of a 3D city map app called UpNext. Naturally being a digital city geek I downloaded the app for my iPod Touch to give it a quick look-see.
Launching the app gave me the choice of several 3D city maps (Austin, Boston, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.) to download that I could access offline which is a super plus for those with an iPod Touch. I selected San Francisco, which only took a few moments to download, and it didn't take long to become impressed with the app.
Navigation uses standard Apple interface actions such as pinch to zoom, two finger drag to tilt the view, etc. As I zoomed in from the initial bird's eye view of the whole city, the app broke the city down into its neighborhoods. This was a nice surprise as I still don't know the exact locations of all the 'hoods' in SF. Zooming further down quickly loaded simple but nicely textured 3D building models with more levels of detail as I got closer to …

TechTour 2010: Layar'ing it up

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So I just got back State-side from a seven week tour through western Europe that included a series of events and video interviews with leading players in augmented and virtual reality technologies. One of my destinations was Amsterdam, Nederlands and besides enjoying the madness of the World Cup finals, I had the opportunity to stop by mobile augmented reality company Layar's office for a chat.
Now this was super exciting for me as although familiar with Layar as a mobile AR platform, I had not had a chance to really grok with the guys, despite being at several events together, to discover what exciting things were going on with this company that is just over one year old and seeing explosive growth.
Now anyone familiar with mobile augmented reality or the AR industry has heard of Layar, but for those that have not, see the video below.



After a short walk on a very warm day from the city's centrum to their office, I met with co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald for a great conver…

Retinex - Augmented Reality Comic Book

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During the week of the ARE2010, I was given a copy of Retinex, an augmented reality comic book from the folks at SpiralConcepts. I loved comic books when I was younger so this was a real treat. Presented by 3satva (tres satva), Retinex is the first augmented reality focused comic book I have seen so far.
Yes there are comics that use augmented reality like these Star Wars comics below (AR app by Total Immersion),


but Retinex is the first I have seen that includes AR as part of the storyline in addition to having an AR application. The story is an engaging one set in the future with a dual sword wielding protagonist (not Hiro), AR, robots, nanomachines, sinister corporations, with other techno sci-fi type elements included.
The web-based augmented reality application, developed for 3satva by SpiralConcepts, gave me as the reader a way of interacting with the story that took being a comic reader to a new level. It doesn't take long for one to see the ongoing value this could add to c…

Making Sense of Virtual Worlds

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On the heels of an 'augmented' good time at the ARE2010, I headed to Denmark as a guest of Roskilde University to participate in the Making Sense of Virtual Worlds and User Driven Innovation workshop. Held at the lovely venue of Magleaas, just north of Copenhagen, this three day (June 7th - 9th) workshop, funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council KINO, brought together academics and a few industry players from all around to share with each other the research they have been doing in virtual worlds.
'SENSE-MAKING STRATEGIES AND USER-DRIVEN INNOVATION IN VIRTUAL WORLDS is a collaborative project, running from 2008-2011, that joins university researchers at two Danish universities, Roskilde University and Copenhagen Business School, and a range of different partners who work practically with virtual worlds in different organizational contexts (encompassing both public organizations and private business). The project has a practice-orientation both in the sense that the ai…

Augmented Reality Event - ARE2010

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From Canada it was back to Silicon Valley for the ARE2010 in Santa Clara.
"The Augmented Reality Event (ARE), the first global event dedicated to advancing the business of augmented reality in the US, announced today that the inaugural event will be held at Santa Clara Convention Center, June 2-3, 2010. The activities will be kicked off by a highly anticipated keynote from the “augmented reality prophet,” world-renowned author, futurist, editor and critic, Bruce Sterling.

Start-ups, developers, mobile and hardware companies along with organizations within entertainment, media, education, healthcare, government, tourism, and many more, will gather to focus on evolving the much hyped technology into a productive, sustainable and entertaining new medium. ARE will include more than 30 sessions organized into business, technology and production tracks. The exhibition floor will showcase leading companies and products in augmented reality and will also host a career fair to help kick st…

AR Dev Camp Vancouver 2010

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Saturday May 29th was the first Vancouver Augmented Reality Developer Camp. Like the AR DevCamps before it, the focus was to be a full day of information sessions, discussions, tutorials, and hacking opportunities in an open format, BarCamp style to which all interested people and organizations are invited. The goal of this event is to build on the momentum of the ardevcamp initiative, with a focus on technology sharing, collaboration, and the portability and integration of information across diverse platforms and AR environments.

Downtown Vancouver was covered with posters promoting the event which was hosted at the office of animation and visual fx studio Digital Alchemy Entertainment, conveniently in the same building as the Vancouver train station. A small and dedicated group of AR developers attended from the area and one couple as far as Portland for a full day of sessions and presentations from:
-Tagwhat - CEO David Elchoness shared with the group Tagwhat, an augmented reality so…