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The fascination surrounding augmented reality will yield countless potential users in the consumer and enterprise markets, with AR adoption on the rise, businesses can use the budding technology to complement and enhance internal business processes, according to the Gartner research group.
Using AR to help identify potential workplace hazards, for example, could lead to a safer and more productive office or production facility. Location-based and computer aided vision is still developing, and it will take time for business to jump onboard, but there is great potential in the years to come.
"AR is most useful as a tool in industries where workers are either in the field, do not have immediate access to information, or jobs that require one or both hands and the operator's attention," said Tuong Huy Nguyen, Gartner principal research analyst, in a media statement. "As such, the impact on weightless industries is lower because these employees often have constant and direct access to the information they need (such as knowledge workers)."
The Oculus VR won the 2014 Best of CES prize after showing off its Rift prototype, a wearable electronics headset with AMOLED-based display and 1920x1080 resolution. CES is over and the industry looks ahead to a busy 2014, in which AR interest will continue to increase at a rapid pace - expect to see these technologies hit the market throughout the year.
Facial visualization company ModiFace now benefits from rising interest in 3D augmented reality, as the company develops its 3D Augmented Reality Makeup and Anti-Aging Mirror. The proprietary software uses either an internal or external web camera - or standalone kiosk - to allow women to virtually test cosmetic colors, and skincare product effects.
"Our new 3D Beauty Mirror is a marketing breakthrough for retailers and beauty brands, particularly for cosmetic counters," said KyungMoon Lee, ModiFace Director of Engineering, in a statement. "Shoppers who would otherwise walk by without stopping can be instantly drawn in and experiment with shades and effects virtually even if they don't have the time for a hands-on makeup session or if a salesperson is busy with another customer."
ModiFace already has a number of apps available to consumers, including digital makeover programs for a number of different cosmetics. The new 3D makeup and anti-aging beauty mirror can be used with touchscreen monitors or on tablets and mobile devices directly in the store - providing a unique way to interact with customers.
During the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Epson announced its second-generation Moverio BT-200 smart glasses that include a transparent display, head motion tracking, and Wi-Fi. The BT-200 also has a built-in camera, 960x540 resolution, microSDHC card slot, and Bluetooth 3.0 - and will be released this March with a $699 MSRP.
Epson released the Moverio BT-100 first-generation smart glasses in 2011, when the technology was still in relative infancy compared to today.
"The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses offer consumers crystal clear video as well as access to incredible new augmented reality experiences and relevant information according to their personal interests and needs," said Atsunari Tsuda, Epson Visual Products Division GM, in a statement.
Smart glasses and augmented reality continue to increase in popularity, with CES 2014 expected to see a number of augmented reality announcements.
The Oculus Rift is in my opinion, one of the biggest game changing pieces of technology to hit the PC gaming world since the introduction of the discrete GPU. Until now though, the Rift has officially been slated for the PC, but this morning a new report has surfaced that suggest we will be seeing a mobile friendly version quite soon.
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe spoke earlier this week at the GamesBeat conference held by VentureBeat, and during his speech, Iribe said that his company has plans to launch a production version of the Oculus Rift that is both PC and Mobile compatible. He went on to say that the this version would be lighter and smaller in size than the existing developer units, and that it would be compatible with any device running the Android OS.
Iribe says that Id Software founder and Oculus CTO John Carmack has been working on the mobile side of things and that development is coming along quite nicely. "We have some exciting plans on the mobile VR side as [well as] the PC VR side,' Iribe said. 'We're really looking at hitting the consumer market. We're very excited about what we're seeing," Iribe said. "We were sceptical about how good mobile VR could be on such a small platform, but it's pretty incredible what Carmack has been able to do."
Earlier this week, I reported on a new project from Jeri Ellsworth and her new company, Technical Illusions. CastAR is a new augmented reality gaming system that was partially developed by Ellsworth and partner Rick Johnson while working at Valve. When Gabe Newell decided to terminate their employment, the pair struck out on their own to create the next generation of gaming.
The team launched a Kickstarter campaign just three days ago and has as of this morning, surpassed their funding goal of $400,000 by an additional $106,000. With 27 days to go, the project has ample time to reach their stretch goals in which they hope to raise $800,000 total.I will be hosting an interview session with Ellsworth and the castAR team at the end of this month, if there is anything you would like me to ask them, drop me a comment below.
Rumor has it Microsoft is working on a competitor to Google's Project Glass. According to a rumor posted by Apple Insider, Microsoft will be introducing a Google Glass competitor sometime in 2014. This rumor comes courtesy of Analyst Brian White who predicted Microsoft's move in a investor note yesterday.
It wouldn't be surprising that Microsoft would want to develop some sort of augmented reality device to compete with Google. The way things are going, augmented reality and wearable computing appear to be the way of the future with many companies jumping on board.
It appears to us that Google has made significant breakthroughs around software applications as it relates to this new product. As such, we believe this initiative will kick off a major push into the field of wearable electronics and therefore will be closely scrutinized.
For those interested in learning more about Google Glass, Google has posted up an explainer video that was filmed at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. The video runs for roughly an hour and talks about the abilities of Google Glass and explains the Mirror API for the developers among you.
Project glass is about our relationship to technology. It's about technology that's there when you want it but out of the way when you don't. It feels like technology is getting in the way more than it needs to. And, that's what we are addressing with project glass. It's so that you can still have access to the technology that you love but it doesn't take you out of the moment.
Google is still aiming to have a consumer-ready version of Glass on the market by year's end, though Timothy Jordan, Google's developer advocate, says Glass is still in the beginning stages.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to look through the lens of Glass, what the video above as Jordan shows a video looking through the lens. "By bringing technology closer, we can get it more out of the way."
GDC 2013 - It can't be a Game Developers Conference this year without some cool augmented reality demos now, can it? Well, metaio was at GDC 2013 showing off their quite capable augmented reality technology.
Trace was treated by ex-TweakTown staff member Trak Lord, who showed off some very cool augmented reality Lego demo. As the video above shows, a Nexus 10 is used for the demo, rendering the Lego figure and his four-wheeler in real-time. Trace notes the low polygon count, but Trak says that high-quality models are definitely capable, but it would take a while for consumers to download from the Internet. Trak also noted that this is meant to be a light, accessible experience.
metaio states that they've preloaded models of entire cars or air conditioners using their augmented reality technology.
Google will be sending out invitations over the next few days to people who participated in the #ifihadglass competition. Winners of the #ifihadglass competition will be invited to purchase the Google Glass Explorer Edition package for $1,500. They will then be able to pick their pair up at one of the many events Google is planning.
The dates for when Google Glass will be available for pickup have not been confirmed. Google stresses that the Explorer Program is only open to individuals. Businesses will have to wait until Google comes up with a program specifically designed for connecting with businesses:
We also want to call out that we received great applications from businesses. At the moment, our Explorer Program is only for individuals. However, we are working on connecting with businesses in other ways.
We will probably hear more about Google Glass at Google's I/O event.
Google has made a post on the Project Glass Google+ page to confirm that future versions of Google Glass will come with support for prescription lenses. Google says that Glass will be modular, which will allow frames and lenses to be interchangeable. This will allow prescription lenses to be fitted to Glass.
The Glass design is modular, so you will be able to add frames and lenses that match your prescription. We understand how important this is and we've been working hard on it. We're still perfecting the design for prescription frames. Although the frames won't be ready for the Explorer Edition's release, hang in there -- you can expect to see them later this year.
This is good news for prescription eyeglass wearers around the world. While they may have to wait a bit longer to get a pair of Glass, they will eventually not be left out of the fun. Google expects to launch a pair of Glass that supports prescription lenses before the holiday season.