Videogames lovers, this news is for you: imagine you can take you favorite shooter to your work desk and being able to play it between your coffee cup and the computer screen. It is possible thanks to Unreal Engine 4, and a video published by the developer Ádám Horváth demonstrates it:

Unreal Engine is a graphic engine for videogames created by Epic Games and known for the videogame Unreal and its famous follow-up Unreal Tournament; its code is open to the developers, so they can create applications and develop entire videogames using it as a base.

The actual version is Unreal Engine 4, presented in 2013 and released in 2014, and it is the one we can see in action in the incredible video by Horváth: the developer himself shoot with his phone a video in which we can see some character with very good graphic fight one with each other among common use objects placed on the desk. We can’t stop looking at the fighters, but actually the true main character of the scene is augmented reality. It is thanks to the Augmented Reality plugin for Unreal Engine 4 that developers can use the engine to create AR experiences.

There’s more than the highly detailed characters’ graphic: for sure two things standing out are the perfect and real-time shadows and some kind of collision detection, as one thug hits a mug and slumps to the floor.

It seems that the future of videogames is already here: if not in our hands right now, for sure it is just around the corner.

Do you know CES (Consumer Electronics Show)? It is a tradeshow that takes place every year in January in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it’s one of the most important and awaited events dedicated to global consumer electronic and consumer technology.

Technology fans from all over the world gathered yesterday, as the gates of Las Vegas Convention Center opened for the inauguration of CES 2016 edition; the event will be held until January 9th.

This 2016 edition seems pretty full of news for augmented and virtual reality fans: already from the first announcements there have been no doubts about the hot topics of this year, first of all with the opening of the Augmented Reality Marketplace, a space completely dedicated to augmented reality, in which more than 40 exhibitors will showcase immersive multimedia for alternative realities systems and environments. A big guest will be Oculus Rift for virtual reality, while returning to AR there are two important nominations, respectively for Innovation and as Top Product of the mobile section, to the Vuzix headsets and to the ODG R-7 smart glasses by Osterhout.

Since we already followed the event’s opening day, we know that the first news related to augmented reality has already been revealed: yesterday, in fact, Intel presented its new AR headset. It’s called Daqri and, on the opposite of the other similar devices as HoloLens and Google Glass, it’s oriented to the industrial and professional market: it will help the wearer to receive more information, such as diagrams, schematics and problem areas that need fixing, directly in the field of vision while he works. Of course, being Intel, it’s meant to be pretty powerful.

Daqri headset is only one of the many news expected to be unveiled during this CES edition: we can’t wait to discover them all.

Do you remember Google’s Project Tango? It is the project of a platform working on the Android operative system that joins augmented reality, 3D technology and mobile. Google calls it “mixed reality“. Created some time ago, in 2014 it was opened to the developers so they could have the chance to create projects and products fully capitalizing on its possibilities; with it, Google created two devices for the tests, the Peanut Phone and the Yellowstone 7-inch tablet.

Let’s take this base of information and actualize it to this last period, in full Star Wars mania: what could possibly coming from it? Of course nothing less than a perfect union of augmented reality and the movie characters!
A group of developers, going under the name of Trixi Studios, released a video showing Project Tango in action…with a bit of Star Wars! Here it is:

In the video we can see the digital version of the famous BB-8 drone and also some Stormtroopers and Boba Fett: a user goes around some indoor and outdoor ambient of a place that seems a mall, and in the while he fights groups of enemies on his tablet. The scene is recorded in a video taken directly with Google’s mobile device: we can see different real locations all around the characters, completely immersed inside them; the various scenes of the videogame come to life directly inside the real space, with pretty amazing effects, as the Stormtrooper coming out of the portal.

Star Wars fans, don’t be mislead: the video is not a teaser for a product we will see on the market, but just a simple demonstration; as we can read in the message at the start of it: “This video does not demonstrate an actual product in development; it is just to show possibilities of available Mixed Reality Technology. No copyrights is claimed in content. We are just huge fans of Star Wars!
All footage is captured live, and recorded directly on the tablet device (which resulted in some framerate loss). No post editing was done to the video imagery.”

Developers, are you curious to finally experience HoloLens live, so much that you can’t wait the official release on the market? Microsoft has an awesome surprise for you…if you can travel to New York!

In its shop in the Big Apple, in fact, it is possible to try the famous headset, taking home with you the unique experience of seeing a preview of a little piece of the future! After the tour, started in New York and then continued around 11 cities in the U.S., HoloLens finally stopped in the Big Apple and it will remain there for an unknown, surely longer than before, period. This will make possible to try the device before the launch on the market, expected for the first Q of 2016 in the developer version.

The developers who will be able to get one of the inviations and to enter the long waiting list, will have the possibility of visiting the store to watch a video about the device, but most of all to experience a live test of the headset; they will see HoloLens in action on three demo: a game one, in which you shoot hologram alien robots in front of you, one is a demonstration of the technology’s potential in presentations and sales using a luxury watch as an example, and the third one highlights HoloLens’ graphical and editing capabilities.

The idea at the back of the showroom is to help the developers starting to know better and become familiar with the headset, so when they will finally receive the version in 2016 they already had a taste of it.

Talking about the shop in New York, Alex Kipman, Microsoft spokesperson, said: “In New York, developers will get a taste of how HoloLens can enable new ways for people to communicate, create, work and play”.

Those who won’t be able to reach New York or that will not enter the test list, will have to wait few time anyway: it’s only a question of months.

Excellent period for German automotive market and its embarking in augmented reality: after Volkswagen, in fact, it’s the turn of the auto component manufacturer Bosch.

While Volkswagen few weeks ago started its experiment with smart glasses in its Wolfsburg branch (with big hopes to make them soon 100% operative), just few days ago came out the news of the acquisition of a stake in the augmented reality startup Reflekt by Bosch. Bosch itself published the news.

The world of automotive and the augmented reality one seems to go together thanks to the big advantages that this new technology can bring inside the production factories: thanks to smart headsets, the workers have the possibility to see production and assembling instructions directly in front of their eyes, remaining at the same time with hands free from devices or manuals.

Hans-Peter Meyen, Bosch spokeperson, thinks exactly this: “In the future, augmented reality applications will be used in many areas of our lives. In the industrial sector and the automotive aftermarket, AR applications will save time and reduce costs”.

The pact between Bosch and Reflekt is not completely unexpected: the two companies during last two years already experimented a winning partnership, that involved the introduction of augmented reality in the development of production, service, training and marketing applications inside Bosch’s productions; Wolfgang Stelzle, Reflekt’s CEO, says about this: “We are convinced our long-term partnership with Bosch will be strengthened by this investment. The reputation and market position of Bosch will accelerate our international expansion and product development.”

Polaroid nostalgic, this is your moment: with the expansion of mobile photography and a world every day more connected and fast, the instant print of the pictures is coming back. Actually there are some different possibilities on the market, and today we present you a particular one: its name is Prynt and it is a smartphone case with integrated micro-printer and an augmented reality feature!

The first prototype came out at the beginning of the year, collecting the interest of gadget fans; its Kickstarter campaign had incredible results: in few time it reached and passed the $50.000 goal, collecting no less than $1,5 M, becoming also the most successful French-produced Kickstarter campaign ever.

More in detail, Prynt is a case adaptable to the most famous smartphone’s models transforming them in a true Polaroid-style camera; the case makes it possible to take digital pictures and to print them straight away. The integrated micro-printer doesn’t need electricity since it uses the Zink technology (well known by the fans of instant prints), that develops the pictures on a special paper using heat.
In the past we already saw micro-printers appearing (and unluckily also fast disappearing) on the market, but Prynt seems to have that extra oomph: it is augmented reality. The pictures printed with the case, in fact, can be focused with the smartphone and a special app to see short videos appearing on them.

Prynt can be ordered on the official site and for now is compatible with iPhone 6/6S/5/5s/5C and Samsung Galaxy S4/S5, but soon it will open also to other models.

 

One of the most famous augmented reality headsets (even if it’s not yet sold to the public) is surely Microsoft HoloLens; here on Experenti’s blog we talked about it more than once: from the news saying it will be soon on the market to the important collaborations (we talked just few weeks ago about the last one with Volvo for its augmented showroom), to the crucial partnership with NASA for their use inside the International Space Station ISS.

Specifically, we followed the interplanetary sequence of events step after step: in June it was announced the SideKick program to launch the famous headsets to the ISS together with the supplies, and also were announced the tests held during the underwater expedition NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) to understand until what point HoloLens could be used in more complex missions, as the ones on Mars.

During last days some other HoloLens headsets reached the ISS, and astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko answered to some questions asked by the magazine Popular Science on the use of these devices in space.

Kelly declared:

“You know I actually got the opportunity to try that out before I launched, and it seems like there are certain capabilities that would be good for us onboard the space station. One would be, you know right now we look at the computer or an iPad to look at procedures. And if you could have a procedure right in your field-of-view, something that was command-able with your voice, you know where you could scroll through the different steps, that would be helpful. It also has this capability where somebody on the ground perhaps could be looking basically at what you’re looking at, and be able to write in your field of view. So let’s say we’re working on a piece of hardware, and we’re not that familiar with it, but we have an expert on the ground, you know that person could basically see what we’re seeing and make annotations, point to things, and kind of lead us through a particular activity. You know that’s one of the many capabilities of that, or similar hardware, that we’re excited about.”

You can watch the video with the complete interview here.

Continue to follow us for more stories about augmented reality 🙂

You love theatre and dream of Paris, but your French is not good enough? The Team of Theatre in Paris found a solution to this problem thanks to augmented reality, with an idea that could be the revolution in the theatrical world.

The project is still being tested and at the moment is active for few plays, with a reduced number of devices and seats; practically, with the help of augmented reality smart glasses, the viewers can see “surtitles”, written translations of the plays superimposed above the stage. With this system, even the non-French speakers or those not having a native knowledge of the language can go to the theatre and enjoy the plays.

Carl de Poncins, co-founder of Theatre in Paris, said: “We are a service that is dedicated to the expatriate and foreign community, as well as tourists, allowing them to overcome the language barrier and experience Parisian life as a Parisian would.”

He explained he had the idea watching the bored tourists at night: why don’t make them part of Parisian night life, in which theatres are a big part?

There’s also a personal experience part in his idea, since he added: “While I was studying abroad in Oxford, I went to a Shakespeare performance and after a few minutes, said: what is ‘thou’? I know that even if you speak another language well, it’s sometimes hard to understand and get the most out of their theatre.”

Theatre in Paris’ smart glasses have been created in partnership with the digital service company Atos and the eyewear company Optivent, and the surtitles project, at the moment available in 6 different languages, has been presented last summer to the Avignon Festival. For now the service is reserved to tourism professionals and English-speakers, but de Poncins hopes that 2016 will be a great year for its development.

 

What if we say that your living room could soon become pretty different from the concept you have now, being transformed in an “augmented” room with the help of holograms and avant-garde technologies? We are not in a sci-fi book, this is reality: during last days, in fact, two Amazon’s patents related to a system that could change forever your living room habits have been discovered.

The first patent is about “object tracking” and consists of a description of how light beams can be used to project holograms inside a room, revealing at the same time the movements around them. More in depth, the patent describes: “A room equipped with computerized projection and imaging systems that enable presentation of images on various objects within the room to facilitate user interaction with the images and/or objects.”
Think about the possible application of this system: no more remotes, for example, because all the devices will be controlled with the movement of a hand.

The second Amazon’s patent is titled “Reflection-based depth mapping of a scene” and describes how the depth of one or more objects within a scene may be determined utilizing a system that includes a single light source, a reflector, a shutter mechanism, and a camera. This system is pretty innovative because it permits, on the opposite of the previous one, the use of a single source of light, cutting costs and eliminating the need to frequently re-calibrate multiple light sources.

These two patents have been created by Lab126, Amazon’s corresponding department to Google X and Microsoft Research Labs, a laboratory already famous for developing the augmented reality part of the failed Fire Phone .

Deja-vu? You have all the reasons: these two patents reminds pretty close Microsoft’s RoomAlive project (former IllumiRoom); watch the video below to know something more:

 

After the emission crisis Volkswagen is back in the news, but this time for other (and luckily better) motivations: the German automotive colossus, in fact, reached the first pages of online and offline press in the hi-tech field thanks to the introduction of new augmented reality smart glasses in its Wolfsburg factory.

The benefits of the headsets’ use in production chains aren’t a mystery anymore: the amount of important information that this system can give to the workers, added to the comfort of leaving their hands free, is transforming the use of new devices in a trend.

These are among the motivations that drove Volkswagen too in considering smart glasses as a solution;  consequently they started tests (at the moment active on a limited group of 30 workers) related to their benefits and appreciation, preliminary to the potential adoption in the rest of the plants.

As we can read on the article published on the company’s official site, the benefits of 3D smart glasses are evident: the workers automatically receive all the information they need, such as storage locations or part numbers directly in their field of vision, and a camera in the glasses is also a barcode reader, showing the right and wrong ones, avoiding in advance a great number of mistakes. Thanks to the voice and touch controls, also, the workers’ hands are free.

Digitalization is becoming increasingly important in production. The 3D smart glasses take cooperation between humans and systems to a new level”, said Reinhard de Vries, Head of Plant Logistics at Wolfsburg.

For now the use of smart glasses (that, judging from the first pictures, remind closely Google Glass) is voluntary: the interested workers receive the device and are gradually being introduced to the new technology. Volkswagen declared also that, since of the current positive experiences, other departments, plants and brands also plan to use the glasses.