Quali sono le funzionalità principali della Realtà Aumentata?

  1. Migliora la VISUALIZZAZIONE delle informazioni: fornisce una sorta di visione a raggi X per visualizzare particolari caratteristiche che non sarebbero visibili ad occhio nudo. Questo permette una riduzione degli errori e della richiesta di assistenza tecnica.
  2. Ridefinisce l’ISTRUZIONE e l’addestramento: riduzione dei costi di formazione ed apprendimento del personale mettendo a disposizione suggerimenti in tempo reale con una modalità interattiva (non come nei video statici). Quindi è possibile anche prestare assistenza tecnica a distanza, riducendo il numero delle visite ripetute.
  3. Arricchisce l’INTERAZIONE con i prodotti: grazie all’utilizzo di strumenti Smart, è possibile eliminare i controlli fisici dei prodotti (tasti, manopole, …) in favore di un’interfaccia virtuale tramite lo smartphone o il tablet. In questo modo si migliora l’esperienza d’uso del consumatore.

Nonostante sia ancora poco diffusa, la Realtà Aumentata è destinata ad entrare rapidamente nelle nostre abitudini personali e lavorative. Si stima che nel 2020 la spesa in AR sarà superiore ai 60 milioni di dollari. Questa rapida crescita è dovuta al moltiplicarsi di Prodotti Intelligenti ed Interconnessi (Smart Connected Products) soprattutto Smartphone e Tablet, che permettono di utilizzare app che sfruttano questa tecnologia.

Questo innovativo strumento sovrappone dati e immagini digitali al mondo fisico, creando una nuova interfaccia tra esseri umani e macchine. Mettendo le informazioni direttamente nel contesto in cui verranno applicate, l’AR facilita la nostra capacità di recepirle ed utilizzarle.

Come possiamo prendere decisioni che riguardano il mondo reale tridimensionale, quando possiamo interfacciarci solamente con supporti bidimensionali? La grande quantità di informazioni che si riferiscono ai prodotti sono sintetizzate in pagine digitali, limitando la capacita degli individui di scegliere razionalmente. Questo è appunto il principale problema della tecnologia attuale, al quale la Realtà Aumentata (AR) potrebbe dare una soluzione.

Per incrementare la capacità di SIMULAZIONE del mondo fisico, Realtà Aumentata può essere combinata con la Realtà Virtuale (VR) che sostituisce alla realtà fisica un ambiente creato artificialmente. Questo permette agli utilizzatori di oltrepassare la distanza (simulando ambienti lontanissimi), il tempo (ricreando contesti storici passati o futuri) e la dimensione (consentendo l’accesso in ambienti troppo grandi o troppo piccoli).

Grazie quindi a queste nuove tecnologie, sarà possibile iniziare una nuova era del digitale, sempre più amalgamato con il mondo fisico e vicino e alle esigenze degli esseri umani.

augmented reality

Fonte: Porter, M. E., & Heppelmann, J. E. (2017, Novembre). Perchè a ogni organizzazione occorre una strategia per la realtà aumentata. Harward Business Review Italia, 13-25.

As it would be clear to many, especially if you follow social media news and you were among those stuck to the screen during the conference that Facebook held some days ago, The Social Network is touching every day more fields, often falling outside the purely social one.

As of now, Facebook has wide plans to take internet to the countries that can’t afford it (the Free Basics project), a big one about virtual reality (the Oculus Rift headset) and, of course, 360° videos and augmented reality.

In the annual F8, the Facebook developers’ conference that was held in San Francisco some days ago, Zuckerberg himself talked about the advancements of alternative realities and the importance they will have in the future for our everyday life.

In particular, talking about virtual reality, the one on which the platform made its highest bet for now thanks to the Oculus Rift headset, Facebook’s CEO defined it as the one that “has the potential to be the most social platform” since “you just feel like you are right there with another person“.

Talking of another Facebook product, the 360° videos, Zuckerberg added the emotional side to a possible use of this technology, saying that he wants to use it to capture his daughter’s first steps, so the ones who will watch the memory in video will feel exactly ad they were in the same room. During the conference was also made clear as Facebook won’t  produce the complex camera used to take these videos, but will make the project available to those wanting to build it to test and use the technology.

Last but not least, Zuckerberg, while talking about Oculus, made some considerations on the future of weareables: headsets as the Facebook one or Microsoft HoloLens for now are the best on the market, but surely in the future we will see new versions, more comfortable for the wearers, similar to normal eyeglasses in which there will be integrated both virtual and augmented reality. But, without doubts: “It will take a long time for us to make this work”, added the CEO.

Google patents augmented reality books

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.

Today we talk again about Mobile World Congress, the conference on the new technologies related to mobile that was held last week in Barcelona, and this time we do so to talk about Epson’s new headset, Moverio BT-300.

The first version of Moverio dates back to five years ago, when things in the augmented reality world were pretty different, and in fact the viewer was not comfortable to wear; then we saw the second generation of the device, the Moverio BT-200, less bulky, but still a bit heavy.

The prototype presented at MWC, instead, is a pretty enhanced version: as first thing, it is 72% lighter than the previous model. The device features a 0.43-inch Silicon OLED HD display with 1280×720 pixels resolution and is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom X5 processor and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system. The smart glasses also come equipped with a 5MP camera. Processor and controls are included inside a little box, that works as controller with some Android-based buttons.

Moverio, on the opposite of Google Glass, is a device created from the beginning thinking about the business field and not the consumer market; this version follows the same path and through it augmented reality will be helping mostly workers. Another of its applications seem will be the control of drones: drones operators at the moment have to control their devices mostly with smartphone apps; useless to say that this is not the most comfortable way. Moverio BT-300 will make possible to control them through smart glasses, with commands overlayed to reality, directly in front of the operator’s eyes.

Epson BT-300 is available for pre-order from company’s website priced at $799 and the shipping will begin later this year.

Project Tango is again on everyone’s mouth: this time, the “mixed reality” project by Google is the main character in the operation by the Italian-American company Fiat Chrysler.

The connection between augmented reality and automotive is not a news: we already saw examples of different uses in this field, from the factory to the driving, from BMW, MINI and Volkswagen to say just only few names. Now it’s the turn of Fiat Chrysler, automotive group producer of the brands FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram Trucks, Mopar and SRT, to launch its project: thanks to a collaboration with Accenture Interactive, the colossus developed an application based on Project Tango that will let the buyers try the car before the purchase, exactly as they would try clothing in a changing room.

One of Tango’s peculiarities, in fact, is the ability of depth and distance sensing in the ambients in which it then inserts augmented reality; there’s more: this ability is not based on GPS, but on a new, exclusive technology that works also indoor.

The app by FCA, through a mobile device, will let the buyer see a full-size car in front of his eyes, so he can “try” it; it will make possible, as well, to see it in different colors and also to check whether or not they will fit in a parking space or the garage.

“Augmented reality is set to transform the way car-buyers choose and configure vehicles through the provision of immersive technology because it provides an enjoyable, delightful experience for customers,” said Luca Mentuccia, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Automotive practice.

FCA’s app has been presented at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and for now it is still a prototype; the launch of the final version is awaited before the end of the year.

META 2 AR headset unveiled at TED 2016

Maybe not everyone knows that TED is actually an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Said this, how being surprised about the fact that this year the official conference has been conquered by augmented reality? Just few days ago we wrote about Alex Kipman’s speech presenting Microsoft HoloLens, but it wasn’t the only headset guest of the event.

February 17th, in fact, another appreciated guest was on TED’s stage talking about augmented reality: we talk about the headset META which, after collecting early last year $23 million, remained silent for a long period. After a year of work, they decided to present their new version of the product in an illustrious frame as TED.

The headset, called META 2 AR, was worth the wait: it is a new generation augmented reality device and it is a vastly improved version.

The device, presented on the stage by the company CEO Meron Gribetz, in the design reminds HoloLens and many other similar devices. Gribetz showed some demos for the META, among which there was one showing an hologram of a person that, thanks to the device, appeared in front of his eyes and was even able to hand him an augmented reality model of a brain to demonstrate the utility of this device, for example, in the surgery field. “If we can put a digital layer into the real world imagine what that could mean for storytellers and brain surgeons” said Gribetz.

During his speech he highlighted also the importance of headsets and wearables for our future, in which will not be necessary anymore the use of bulky screens: “Today’s computers are so amazing that we fail to notice how terrible they really are,” said the CEO. “The future of computers is not locked inside screens. It is right here, inside of us… You are the OS, you live between windows.”

HoloLens conquers TED: Alex Kipman’s speech

Would you like to see a member of ISS in front of your eyes? Or maybe you’d prefer to walk in the middle of a landscape completely different from the one you are used to.

Sci-fi? Not really: all this is pretty near being made possible thanks to Microsoft HoloLens; actually, to be fair, for the lucky ones that got the Developer version of the headset this is already reality. We, mere mortals, can just watch the presentations of this Microsoft’s product all around the world and be amazed.

Last speech was the last week’s one at TED Conference 2016 where Alex Kipman, the creator of Kinect, decided to make an incredible entrance: wearing a HoloLens headset and projecting on a screen what he was seeing through his own eyes, showed to the people the potentiality of augmented reality and, consequently, of Microsoft’s new product.

Kipman, among other things, brought the viewers with him inside an enchanted landscape, then made it rain and finally made appear the hologram of a NASA scientist to have a chat. Furthermore, he called his family live from a virtual screen, and this made us all think about the future of TV and displays. All this, of course, happened virtually inside the headset and not in reality.

The emotion wasn’t just only in the visual factor, but also in the speech: Kipman commented his demonstration with words that made all of us think. Augmented reality is just at its start, and only a little part of its application is known and studied: “We are like cave people in computer terms; we barely discovered charcoal and started drawing the first stick figures in our cave.”

His advice, as well as an anticipation of the future, is to free ourselves from the bidimensional space to embrace the digital space, in which we have the “superpower” of displace space and time.

We wait for the HoloLens’ consumer version: even if there isn’t an official date yet, we are sure that it’ becoming closer, speech after speech.

Room2Room: Skype meets augmented reality

Skype, the most famous video calls app in the world, changed our lives in a significant way: maybe many of us don’t realize this, but the possibility of calling friends and family living far from us and looking in their eyes while we talk is a think that wasn’t taken for granted until some time ago. The advent of Skype, plus an internet every day more available, wide and fast, changed and improved our habits.

Now Microsoft, owner of Skype, is working on a new step in the ongoing change process: imagine you can go beyond the screen while calling someone on Skype, and to have the possibility of seeing the other person in front of you, as you were comfortably sitting in the same room. Microsoft Research division is working to make all this possible: the project is called Room2Room and will create holograms of other people in front of us while calling them.

How? It will be possible thanks to a system of projectors and Kinect sensors, plus the help of another Microsoft Research’s product, the augmented reality project for videogames RoomAlive.

Tests are already ongoing from some time, and the results highlighted how this system, even while still not being perfect on the side of space perception, is more productive than the normal Skype’s version. A test was about the solution of a puzzle by seven couples in different rooms: reading the data published on MIT Technology Review, when the couples worked face to face the solving time was 2 minutes, when through Room2Room was 7 minutes, while with traditional Skype was 9 minutes. In the researchers note in the paper created by Microsoft Research for the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing conference in San Francisco: “Quantitative results suggest that, predictably, face-to-face communication is superior in terms of task completion time, sense of presence, and efficiency of communication”.

For now there are no news about a launch on the market soon, but for sure Microsoft will use this technology for something amazing.

Just two days ago took place one of the most important and awaited annual events in the United States: all America gathered in front of the TV to watch the traditional Super Bowl.

Super Bowl means sport fans with their eyes on the TV, and, as a consequence, small and big brands racing to have a place in the advertising broadcasted during the event to be noticed.
Microsoft, being also one of NFL (National Football League) sponsors, found a truly original way to be part of the awareness race: the company left the Americans speechless with a video showing Super Bowl as never seen before, with the promise of making this a reality soon.

Imagine to get ready like you are about to see the event live: you dress up with your team’s colors, you wait for your friends to meet at your house…and then you can just sit comfortably on your living room’s sofa, watching Super Bowl as it was anyway in front of your eyes. This is what the designers at Microsoft imagined it could happen if using HoloLens technology and augmented reality, and they released a video about it:

In the movie they show some examples of the application of augmented reality to the Super Bowl night: in addition to a wider TV screen, there are holograms of the players, and the viewers can watch replays on their table or 3D live recreations of the match’s data.

As we already know, HoloLens technology isn’t yet available to the public, but soon it will become part of our daily life. Saying it with the words of Brian Rolapp, the executive vice president of media for the NFL: “This stuff is coming; it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when”.

PTC buys Vuforia and brings AR to enterprise

It’s not an isolated opinion anymore to think that the web is coming to a turning point: two of the most valued trends for 2016 are in fact Internet of Things and alternative realities, and step after step they are coming to an harmony.

This is the thought also of Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO of the company PTC: “The digital and physical worlds are converging,” he said last week during the live-streaming of Thing Event “This convergence is transforming everything. It’s transforming how we design and manufacture things, how we operate and service them.

PTC is a company known for software design that now, after these considerations, decided to wide its competences following the two trends we just talked about. In Happelmann’s opinion, the change we are seeing is not just about the Internet of Things, but also related to an area that is yet not fully developed: how people interact with the devices. In this field there’s still a void space and augmented reality will fill it. This is why the company is betting on this new technology and proved it by buying the augmented reality platform Vuforia for no less than $65 million from Qualcomm.

PTC aims for the creation of a business for enterprise: in Happelmann’s opinion, one of the main potentials of augmented reality is being able to help employers working better.

At the moment the company already put into practice its ideas about augmented reality with two big brands as Deere & Co and KTM; these two realities are using PTC’s new technology in their business as support to the technician in the difficult work of fixing and maintaining complicated machines.