My recent neglect of the Augmera blog can be attributed to an exciting new project I’ve been working on over the past several months. This project is focused on the augmented reality smart glasses market. The AR glasses industry is still in its infancy. It is predictably fragmented as the products themselves take on different form factors, utilize an array of features and exhibit a range of technological sophistication. It may take several years for the marketplace to sort out what AR glasses should do, what they should look like and how much they should cost.
To address this uncertainty, I have developed the Augmented Reality Glasses Buyer’s Guide. The guide is a free, interactive online knowledge base that explains the key technological components and their roles in rendering AR experiences. The guide currently contains over 45 products that are on the market today or are in development and have promise to hit the market in the near future. At the heart of the guide is a database that I have been developing for the past several months. This database contains nearly 50 data points about each product. Users can interact with the guide to filter the products across many criteria. The guide also facilitates the side-by-side comparison of products by these features.
The Augmented Reality Glasses Buyer’s Guide is to make its official debut at the 2016 Augmented World Expo on June 1. It is officially published by AugmentedReality.org who also puts on the Expo. It’s founder, Ori Inbar, inspired me to create the guide and provided invaluable guidance, feedback and promotion.
The marketplace is certain to continue to move quickly and I plan to keep the site up to date to include new products as well as update existing products. Companies that make AR glasses can provided new and updated information by communicating this to me at info@ARGlassesBuyersGuide.com. I also intend to expand the number of data points that are being tracked in the database to include the more esoteric specifications.
The site is now live and you can view it at www.ARGlassesBuyersGuide.com. Be sure to come back to this post to let me know what you think. Happy browsing!
I kicked off this blog by exploring the definitions of augmented reality. It turns out there is no one universally accepted way of doing so. While most definitions revolve around visual input, I make a point of recognizing a definition that encompasses other sensory input. Lara Jongedijk, Researcher, Instructional Design at University of Calgary states, “Augmented reality (AR) is an environment where a real life is enhanced by virtual elements in real time. The purpose of AR is to enhance the information we naturally receive through our five senses, by adding superimposed, constructed virtual elements to bring complementary information and meaning that may not be possible by natural means.” This came to mind recently when I read about a KickStarter Campaign that is currently underway for a product called Gest. Read More →
The assertion that the pornography industry has always been at the cutting edge of the adoption and exploitation of new developments in communication technology has pretty much reached axiomatic status. Perhaps the most storied example of this is its fateful selection of VHS over the superior Betamax because of JVC’s decision to lower the cost of the tape duplication machines for production companies. But the demands of the porn industry are also often credited for the accelerated adoption of other technologies such as Polaroid photos and Super 8 film; pay per view and interactive TV; camcorder, DVD, and Blu-Ray; World Wide Web, VoIP, e commerce payments, and video chat. Arguably the Internet itself would not have grown so quickly without the bandwidth demanding, low friction, high privacy enablement of porn consumption.
The question at hand (pun intended) is whether the pornography industry will now step up and push the agenda for virtual technologies? Will pornography change from something we view to something we experience? Can augmented and virtual reality expand the way humans communicate and experience their sexuality? What are the technologies that will play a role in this transformation and how will they be used? What will be the social impacts of the availability of these experiences and how will they change society? These are all very heady questions that I intend to explore in this post.
[Warning! This article is NSFW] Read More →
In my previous post I published a survey of nearly 70 different devices that are in development or already available on the market that can be used to perform some form of augmented reality. A great deal of research went into this exercise and I learned a lot about the head mounted display market and technology while conducting it. In this post I will distill this information down to provide a better understanding of the essential elements of AR technology that are integral to enabling the ideal experience. Read More →
While Google Glass seems to be the hardware that gets all the attention, it turns out there are many, many entrants in the AR head mounted display (HMD) field. Some are recent entrants to the market while others preceded Glass by years. As part of my survey of the state of the AR industry, I thought I’d put together a comprehensive list of the hardware I could find. Read More →
Today the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune published an essay entitled “Google Glass is the creepy innovation we didn’t want“. The following is my (brief) response as published in the website’s comments section under my nome de plume, RonPadz.
You may pronounce Glass dead but it would be a mistake to write off augmented reality (AR) entirely. You are correct in stating that Glass was missing the killer app, this much is true. We don’t need to walk around with cameras mounted on our foreheads. GoPro got it right by marketing a POV camera to be used when we are doing something truly worthy of sharing with others. Where I believe Glass went wrong is that it was touted as an always-on technology. Even though in society today we are constantly on camera everywhere we go, it turns out that it freaks people out when those cameras are mounted on the heads of others. Augmented reality is not about taking video and photos. The next generation of AR glasses will be intended for task-oriented usage. There will be times when AR will enhance our experience and then, and only then, will we don the glasses. For this to happen, AR must fulfill the promise of enhancing and enriching whatever it is we are doing. Whether at a museum or a ball game, if AR meets this criteria we won’t feel stupid looking like a cyborg while we do it. Then we’ll take the glasses off and go about our day. There are several companies out there with glasses in development that are far more advanced than Glass and along with their arrival will arise the use cases we’ve been waiting for. Until then, Glass should not be ridiculed for its failure, but rather it should be lauded for starting the conversation. History will credit Glass for taking AR out of the lab and sparking innovation that we likely have not even thought of yet.
Like most new technologies, augmented reality was born in the labs of researchers working at various institutions by identifying and approaching the various technical problems that need to be solved. These researchers reside in universities, non-profit research institutions and government-industry joint partnerships and have had a very important role in the emergence of AR. Many early-stage technologies are, by their nature, broadly enabling. Therefore, companies would not likely be able to realize all of the R&D benefits themselves if they were to invest in this research. To remain competitive, companies with limited R&D budgets must focus strictly on what is going to benefit them rather than what will be broadly enabling. Research institutions bridge the gap between high risk ideas and practical implementation.
In this post I aim to cover many of the important institutions currently conducting important research responsible for laying the groundwork for augmented reality to achieve its full potential. They are listed in alphabetical order. Please feel free to reach out to me or leave comments about additional entities that may belong on this list. Read More →
Conferences provide the opportunity to assemble like-minded people together to share and disseminate knowledge and ideas. They provide a place for people to meet face to face and learn about what each other are doing and thinking through formal presentation and informal dialog. They serve as a catalyst for ideas to recombinate and minds to meld and often result in the advancement of research or commercialization.
There are a number of conferences around the world that are focused on different aspects of Augmented Reality. The number of events and their far flung locations point to the fact that AR is truly a global phenomenon. Some of these are commercially oriented, some are scientific while others are focused on the social aspects of the technology. I have listed conferences that are either centered on augmented reality or prominently feature AR in their program. In my research I found that there are many other conferences that are adding sessions and topics on augmented reality in order to introduce their audiences to the future of what’s to come within the context of their respective industries and disciplines. These conferences where AR is a merely tangential topic are not listed here. Also not listed are the meetings of standards groups. All in this list are known to be currently or recently active.
Read More →
[Updated 7 january, 2015]
My preceding posts have been about defining augmented reality, how it’s used and how it works. From here I intend to cover the state of the AR industry. This includes how it is evolving, how it is organizing, how standards are arising, how it is collaborating, and who the players are.
I think a good place to start this section would be to cover the ongoing process of standards development. Without standards, the industry would be a fragmented and disorganized mess, doomed to never being able to fulfill the technology’s great promise. However, my research indicates that the stakeholders have been doing an excellent job of carefully and deliberately collaborating to design the arena in which they shall all compete. It’s exciting to be here at the dawn of the era where I can witness the hardware and software technologies converge and the new technology begin to emerge. Read More →
In my previous two posts I discussed how hardware, software and services come together to deliver augmented reality experiences. Many AR apps are designed to perform specific functions within specific contexts. For instance, an app designed to provide enriched information about an art museum exhibit is only of use when visiting that particular exhibit and would otherwise be of little or no value outside of that context. Furthermore, it would detract from the art if the visitor were being constantly bombarded by AR throughout their tour of the exhibit. In this example the AR experience should be triggered at certain places in the exhibit and disappear at other times. So how does an app know when to perform its intended function? In this post I will be discussing the different ways by which an app can understand context and thus trigger the intended AR experience or content. Read More →