Google-backed augmented reality firm Magic Leap Inc. has received a big infusion of funding to help continue their efforts to get a product to market. Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. is providing $793.5 million in funding as they valued Magic Leap at $4.5 billion. As part of the funding deal, Alibaba’s co-vice chair Joe Tsai will join Magic Leap’s board. Read more
Project Tango still isn’t a readily available consumer product, but that hasn’t stopped Google and other developers from continuing to push the platform forward. Google recently ran a contest to pick out the best available apps on Project Tango from each of four categories: best game, best augmented or virtual reality app, best utility, and an overall winner. Today Google has announced which apps have won those awards. Read more
Back in October, Google invested in a startup called Magic Leap, a company that makes specialized augmented reality hardware. Now a new patent is revealing just what Google saw in this company.
Magic Leap’s new technology is called “cinematic reality” and will offer a 3D experience not offered on any other device. It’s a pair of smart glasses and other than seeing 3D virtual objects and scenery that can be downloaded from the cloud, users will also be able to share the real-life environment around them to another user. Imagine being at a concert, a sporting event, or some other tourist attraction and being able to share exactly what you see with someone else.
The market for Google Glass-esque headwear, or smart glasses, has hardly taken off in the way the nascent smartwatch market has. Google Glass, once one of the most hyped devices in tech circles a few years ago, has lost some of its lustre. And full-blown virtual reality in the vein of Oculus Rift is still gaining traction in the minds of consumers and is hardly a household commodity.
Here is where Osterhout Design Group (ODG) comes in, having produced a prototype pair of smart glasses that bring together all sorts of “smart” functions and in a package that looks less like Google Glass or a VR headset and more like those “hidden” camera glasses you used to see on TV shows in the late 90s.
Qualcomm already has a product called Vuforia that empowers developers to make augmented reality apps for mobile devices. With over 100,000 registered developers across 130 countries, we now have roughly 10,000 apps available today on Android and iOS. Today at Uplinq, Qualcomm is taking it one stop further by announcing the Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear.
This SDK will give developers the necessary tools to make augmented reality apps for digital eyewear devices such as the Moverio BT-200 and the upcoming Samsung Gear VR. Maybe even Google Glass. With advanced computer vision functionality, these devices will be able to recognize images and objects in the user’s field of view. With this SDK, Vuforia applications will be able to dynamically adapt to a wearer’s facial geometry thanks to an easy-to-use calibration method.
Layar, an augmented reality application, has brought its services to Google Glass, allowing users to simply look at things in the real world and obtain detailed information about it through Google Glass.
A simple “scan this” command will instruct the app to find additional information about whatever the user is looking at.
Not sure what we’re talking about? Check out Layar’s video after the break.
Google’s Niantic Labs already created the augmented reality hit, Ingress, and today it was revealed that they are working on a new one based on the new book trilogy called ENDGAME by bestselling author James Frey.
The first book in the series, called ENDGAME: THE CALLING, will come out on October 7th, 2014. Each book in the series will feature an interactive puzzle, which will include clues and riddles throughout the text. There will also be a major prize for each book. For ENDGAME: THE CALLING, there will be a public display of gold that is in a bullet-proof glass case. Players will join the battle from around the world, and whomever is able to solve the puzzle, they will get the key and will be able to open the case and claim the gold. Whenever that happens, it will be broadcasted on YouTube.
Also part of this deal is fifteen original e-book novellas, and Google will be distributing six of them exclusively in the Play Store. You can expect the game to launch on Android and iOS devices in late 2014.
Full presser after the break.
Qualcomm’s Vuforia division continues to impress me each year at CES. We already showed you some of the newer apps utilizing the Vuforia platform, but now it’s time to look at the future. Qualcomm Vice President of Business Development, Jay Wright, gave me a glimpse of Vuforia “Smart Terrain” and it blew me away.
With Smart Terrain, apps can see real world objects and calculate their height, weight, and depth to build visuals for interaction. With just a few objects, you can literally create your own battlefield. Just aim a smartphone or tablet equipped with a 3D camera at the objects and this app will map out a 3D grid around them. You have to see it to believe it.
Check out this hands on video after the break and be amazed.
CES is full of hardware, but there is some really cool software as well. We always get together with the Qualcomm Vuforia augmented reality team to see what cool stuff they have, and as usual, they treated us to some very innovative stuff. Last year at this time, there were over 2,500 augmented reality apps using the Vuforia platform, and this year there are now over 4,000 (for both Android and iOS). From education to helping you decide what size TV you can place in your living room, the possibilites with augmented reality apps are limitless.
Here at CES 2014, Qualcomm Vice President of Business Development, Jay Wright, showed me a really cool coloring app for kids called CalAR Mix and Sony’s “What TV – Sony Buying Guide” that lets you see if that 75-inch TV is going to fit in your living room.
Hit the break for the very cool video.
Google’s augmented reality game, Ingress, has reached a critical mass with a relatively large following even before it’s public release earlier today.
Although the game was set aside as a minor gaming project for Google’s Niantic Labs at its beta launch, we’re finally starting to see what all of this actually means.
John Hanke, a key leader on the project and a co-creator of Google Earth, likened Ingress to a “concept project” that could eventually turn into a platform to allow anyone to create an alternate reality game of their own.