Win $5000 developing a Junaio App

I'm usually not in the habit of posting press releases, but I imagine that some of our readers will find the next news byte from Metaio interesting:

Attention Developers: win $5,000!

With junaio’s open API, developers can create state of the art augmented reality applications. You don’t need any experience in programming for embedded systems. Challenge your imagination and contribute to junaio’s exciting world with AR Mashups, multiplayer games and scavenger hunts, interactive, indoor and outdoor exhibitions, tours with animated 3D characters or location independent gaming. All you need to do as a developer is to register for an API key and start challenging your creativity.

You can not only win $5,000 but we will also invite the winner to our metaio Technology Fair to visit with us and to attend the world-famous Oktoberfest in Munich.

All you need to do:
  • Register as a developer here.
  • Become creative and set up your own channel before June 16, 2010
  • The 5 channels with the most subscribers on June 16 will be shortlisted and an independent jury will select a winner
If you enter the competition and like to have your layer channel published over here just leave a comment or tweet me @augmented.

Weekly Linkfest

Anybody feels like sponsoring an AR blogger trip to an AR event?
There were plenty of interesting AR links to share this week, but only seven won a place in this week's linkfest:
This week's quote comes from that talk with Paige Sez:
As we’ve talked about it before, it’s amazing that marketing and advertising are helping push forward AR, and it’s great. It’s fantastic. But it’s also the worst possible thing that could ever happen because it is such a singular way of looking at an overall ubiquitous computing experience. There are other ways.
And as promised, this week's video is a demo of LookTel, it looks fantastic, and shows that there are some things that an old Windows phone still does better than a new shiny iPhone (well, at least till June):

Have a great week!

Weekly Linkfest

Yesterday we celebrated the vernal equinox, today we celebrate yet another weekly linkfest:

Well yes, looking back at it, this was quite a dry week. Anyway, here's a couple of weeks old video I just waited for the opportunity to put up in the weekly linkfest. It's AR in a shoebox, created by Kenneth Bogert, aPhD student from Georgia. You can read more about it over here.

Avez vous une joyeuse semaine de la langue fran├žaise! (yeah, probably screwed the translation up, sorry int13 guys!)

Going to the Augmented Museum

Simple, useful and probably feasible (though not on the iPhone) AR application in the following concept video by Tate Strickland an American graphic design student:

LearnAR - Augmented Reality for Schools

Augmatic the British company founded by James Alliban (you may remember him from that augmented reality business card) has launched a new tool, called LearnAR.

It is a pack of ten curriculum resources for teachers and students to explore by combining the real world with virtual content using a web cam.

Some of those demos are brilliant. The Geiger counter and physiology ones seem to provide real value when coming to teach such subjects. On the other hand, I really don't find any benefit of using the English application over a computer game. In a sense LearnAR is showing how gimmicky and how useful AR can be at the same time.

For another perspective on using AR for educational purposes, you should really check out Gail Carmichael's blog. Since she's doing her PhD on this subject, she has blogged about some very interesting concepts.

As for LearnAR, you can learn more about it on James Alliban's blog.

Locatory - Play with Gamaray

Editor note: OOPS!
Originally this post was scheduled for early December, but somehow I forgot to publish it. Sorry Locatory guys!

As veteran readers of this blog surely know, official development of Gamaray, an AR browser for Android was terminated, and its code has been open-sourced. Recently I've learned about an interesting project by a team from the Open University of the Netherlands, named Locatory, based on Gamaray's code.

The game's premise is admittedly not that exciting -

The concept of game is rather easy. Players can compete with each other and gather cards that are hidden in augmented reality. Once a card is taken, it can be dropped at a physical location (figure 3, B). When a card is dropped at the correct location, the player receives a point. (source)

but it's exciting to see that one can create (semi) augmented reality games in relative ease (especially since Locatory's own code is freely available). After all, how far is a game such as Locatory from a geo-caching game? If I were a student these days, I would have a go at it (adult life is full of compromises :/).

Learn more here.

Weekly Linkfest

Today, I'm limiting myself to six bullet points or less, let's see how it goes:
I made it! (though I've cheated with that second bullet point, and left Total Immersion's AR Luke Skywalker out (oh, I've cheated again!). Anyway, here's a nice interview with Robert Scoble about Junaio and AR in general. Apparently Scoble doesn't think AR is disruptive but fancy it a lot.

Have a great week!

Frown! You Are Augmenting Reality!

One of the hurdles in the future of augmented vision is avoiding sensory overload. In Tish Shute's latest interview, Will Wright notes (and he is far from being the first one to allude to this problem):

our senses are set up to know how to filter out 99% of what is coming into them. That is why they work, and that is what is beneficial. I think that is why AR needs to focus on… You look at what I can find out on Google or whatever, the amount of information is just astronomical. The hard part, the intelligent part, is how do you figure out that one tenth of 1% that I actually care about at this given second?

Researchers from Tokyo's Meiji University, haven't quite figured out how to build that filter but they do have a neat way to avoid overloading your senses. In the system project, the level of augmentation is determined by your eyebrows. Bend them inward (that is, frown) to make virtual objects more visible.

You may look silly, but that explains why terminators always had an angry face when hunting down Sarah Connor. More information can be found here, in Japanese.

mARtha stewARt

In December I predicted that Oprah will have an AR item on her show during 2010. My prediction is getting one step closer to becoming (augmented) reality today, as Martha Stewart has some sweepstake that involves FLARToolkit

You can try it yourself here, I didn't bother going through the questionnaire to see exactly what it's all about.

Weekly Linkfest

It's Sunday, and it's time for another weekly linkfest:
  • Tish Shute has a short interview with Sims creator (though I'll always remember him for Simcity) Will Wright. Highlights:
    • "our senses are set up to know how to filter out 99% of what is coming into them. That is why they work, and that is what is beneficial. I think that is why AR needs to focus on"
    • "definitely one of our strong interests is AR."
  • And there's a short video interview with Christine Perey.
  • and Dassault Systems launched a new iPhone app to let you try out virtual furniture in your home (see my AR in 2010 - a look indoors post for similar applications).
  • Now that you have found the right furniture, you can look for the right partner, using AR, of course.
  • Gizmodo dug out a nostalgic "mobile" AR implementation.
  • Doritos Brazil has another AR campaign, but this time it features the largest marker ever.
  • Infiniti uses old AR tricks to sell its G model.
The weekly video is not exactly a demo of an augmented reality system, but it relates well to other projected interfaces we have featured previously. It's made by Microvision, and it's pretty cool (as long as you don't have any furniture, rugs or ceiling lamps in your room) [via]:

Have a nice week!

ARWire - Your AR News on the Move

Normally, I'll wait with this kind of news till the weekly linkfest. But, hey, then I'll miss on this scoop (and I'm really hoping this will get me a Pulitzer!). Zugara, makers of the Fashionista application and ZugSTAR, have just released an iPhone application aimed at providing you with the latest augmented reality news.

Named ARWire, this app gives you access to major augmented reality blogs and AR related twitter users (yes, I'm there :)), as well as to zugara's AR group over at Facebook.

They offer an ad supported free version, and a premium version that I can't quite locate on the appstore. Now, where are my royalties?

Kooaba Now Offers Image Recognition API

The Swiss Kooaba just keeps on innovating. In January Kooaba was behind the first daily newspaper that was fully augmented. Now it is the first (as far as I can tell) that offers a public, free (though limited) to their image recognition capabilities.

Using the api, one can send up to 50 daily image queries to Kooaba's servers that cover "close to ten million" movie poster, books and cd covers. They were even nice enough to provide sample code in several programming languages to get you started writing your own application. So basically, you can make your own SnapTell (or a simple Google Goggles clone).

You can find more details about it over at Kooaba's blog. It's an interesting move, but I fear that in the long run it won't suffice to fend off Google. Google has the largest image database, and I would like to see Kooaba open up their "image uploading api" (the one that lets you enter new images to the database) in order to compete with them.

ARGO - Learn Go with Augmented Reality

Go. A game with such simple rules, that is surprisingly hard to master. It's the last bastion of humanity against the rising power of game playing artificial intelligence. And now, there's a cool projected AR board that will help you hone your skills in the game.
Presented by a group of researchers from Japan and Finland, ARGO uses a projector to show game situations, concepts and problems on top of a regular Go board.

As shown in these modes, the advantage of our approach is to allow players to get information through the original interaction offered by the Go board and the stones. By superimposing information onto the board, players can concentrate on the match at hand or self-training without fragmenting their attention towards an instructional book and etc. This is important to make it possible for the players to allocate enough cognitive resources for recognizing the situations in the game. Using original game items as the basis preserves Ma and traditional look-and-feel, such as distance between players, touch of a wooden board and sound of stones.

I really like how they used the stones to control the menus. Nice touch, and a cool project as a whole.

More information here.