A platform helping agencies, brands and publishers creating their own augmented reality contents? Yes, that’s right: its name is Plattar and it is what an australian startup promises, now helped as well from a big investment by the colossus News Corp.
The news was in the magazines all over the world: News Corp Australia, australian division of one of the four USA communication giants, invested $843M in the startup to make a step inside the field of augmented reality.
Plattar is a cloud-based platform made of two parts: the first is an app builder equipped with multiple customizable templates and the second is a content management system for AR content. News Corp invested in this second one.
A trial project shows the potential of the technology directly on News Corp products: Plattar used the platform to create a “brand new customer experience” in which the users can scan News Corp publications for properties and then use augmented reality to see the 3D results inside the map.
The reasons that made News Corp Australia invest in Plattar, anyway, are far from the mere passion for avant garde technology, and decisively closer to reality; the company, in fact, needs new projects to help their business rise back: last data show a 20% less in its revenue, -3% coming from the newspaper field. Thinking about what is said about augmented and virtual reality, it’s clear why they chose to make a big investment right here: a report by DigiCapital predicts the AR market will be a US$150 billion industry by 2020.
Augmented reality applied to the publishing world is not new: without going to touch little projects and remaining in the circle of big names, we can have a good example from Google and its patents for books with augmented contents.
Talking about this, there are some initiatives that are not linked just only to literature, but also to the world of comics; among these, surely stands out for originality and high technological level “Faster Than Light“, saga that, right in these days, is on the first pages of every AR magazine since a tv version has been officialized.
Faster Than Light is a sci-fi comic that talks about the first, thrilling adventures of humans around the stars: mankind finds a method to travel faster than light and explore space, but not everything goes as expected. Joining adventure and fun, the stories created by Brian Haberlin and Geirrod Vandykeare are not remaining tied to the bidimensional world, using theirselves a bit of sci-fi: thanks to the augmented reality app by Anomaly, characters and settings take life in front of the reader’s eayes. The comic is published by Image Comics, Shadowline, and received awards.
Now, since of the success of the saga, soon to its 6° and 7° volume, Skydance Television put their eyes on it and decided to make it even more real, this time not through augmented reality but filming it with real actors.
“The exhilarating sci-fi universe that Brian Haberlin has created in Faster Than Light features a living, breathing narrative that we believe is very well suited for television audiences and is precisely the kind of big, bold story we love to tell at Skydance,” said Marcy Ross, President of Skydance Television.
This is an almost predicted passage for a comic so avant-garde and unique in its genre.
After the experiments with the “books that can’t be printed“, Google is not stopping in its rampage in the book world: this time the news are about two patents filed by the company that put into play augmented reality.
These two patents, originally filed in January 2015 at USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), are about technologies related to the books’ world.
The first one is about an “interactive book“, described inside the document also as a “storytelling device“. As we can read in the abstract, the device includes electronic components as light sources, speakers, a video projector or a display, and it is configured to establish a connection with an interactive book, providing story enhancement effects that are correlated to the story.
Basically, the project is about volumes with movement and pressure sensors, coupled with a round shaped device that plugs inside the spine of the book, throwing up AR-type images and the appropriate audio to recreate the setting of the story.
The second patent is about a “Media enhanced pop-up book“, a revisitation of the classic pop-up book with a sparkle of technology. Reading the filed document, we understand that Google thought to a physical book composed of pop-up pages and some content on the display of a device. For every page, the book will have a second page that will vertically open, plus some additional images appearing on the mobile device. In this kind of book, augmented reality is not as advanced as in the micro-projector case.
Of course, we are ttalking about patents, so it’s not sure that they will become products available on the market. However these ideas, if added to the experiments about the books that can’t be printed, surely say a lot about Google’s fields of interest.
It seems that Kickstarter and Augmented reality are often a good couple: only two days ago, we talked about SEER and its reached goal of $100,000, today we give some news on another project launched on the same funding platform.
We are talking about the children book “Goodnight Lad”: in 2015 to learn reading and falling asleep with a goodnight story are not the same as in the past, because now there’s Augmented Reality. How Bradley Grimm and the little Logan explain us in the video below, you just have to download the app and to aim on the book to see marvelous animations giving life to the story.
All this because, as the creator says, if children love books, they’ll be anyway distracted by smartphones. Joining the forces, books and technology will help children learning to read earlier, easier and better. Opinion of a dad!
Some days ago a new augmented reality headset was added to the famous trio Google Glass, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR: Microsoft, during its worldwide streaming event “Windows 10: Next Chapter”, presented various projects that will be developed in next months. Among the others (not less than Windows 10 and the new Microsoft’s browser) there’s a particular one which is very interesting to us: we are talking about the suite of augmented reality software called Windows Holographic and the related augmented reality headset, named HoloLens.
The Redmond company didn’t use the words “augmented reality” but “holograms”, still we know what that means: this will probably be the yet-missing mainstream AR set. In fact, at the moment Google Glass has just few AR apps, while Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR are more centered on virtual reality. HoloLens seems to be finally a true AR headset, which puts in communication our daily world with the virtual world.
As Microsoft’s Alex Kipman said: “Until now, we’ve immersed ourselves in the world of technology, but what if we could take technology and immerse it in our world?”
Kipman didn’t describe in depth HoloLons technology, but hinted that they are more sophisticated than the other headsets around: e.g. they create the illusion of depth showing to each eye a different plain image. There’s more: first, it seems it will not use markers as e.g. QR codes; second: the headset itself is very close to a pair of normal glasses, so definitely wearable and light (and why not? – even classy).
During the presentation event, Microsoft’s executives Joe Belfiore, Terry Myerson and Alex Kipman showed some examples of everyday use for HoloLens: how to adjust a broken pipe, make a Skype call directly on a wall and also how to build Minecraft buildings anywhere we want. There was also a demo on how to sculpt 3D printable models. These uses open this technology to almost every kind of people, making HoloLens, as we said before, the first mainstream AR headset; we are sure that this new product, with the related software, will be a success.
But this powerful techonology, of course, can be used even on higher levels: in fact, last but not least, Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA is working with Microsoft to see if they can use holograms in scientific research.
It’s not strange, in these times, to read on the web users saying that sci-fi is here. Yes, and it seems it just started.
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