With the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Fransisco just a few weeks away, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Vlad Kolesnikov has announced via Channel9 (Microsoft's developer news outlet) that not only will new low-cost virtual reality headsets be coming in March to developers, but that they will be at GDC, too.
It seems to me you can't swing a dead cat near an augmented reality developer without hearing the word Vuforia escape their lips. PTC's software solution has become the go-to for most developers in the mobile AR space, and since they recently added full support for the HoloLens in Unity, I figured it was about time we learn to make something with it.
In this first part of our tutorial series on making physical objects come to life on HoloLens, we are going to set up Vuforia in Unity.
We live in a computer world full of file formats. Whether we are talking about images, videos, or text documents, there are dozens of file types for each, and there are new ones added every year to applications. Keeping in mind that many of these formats were created before the internet was widely available (at least, in infant form), the primary reason for this glut of often complex choices is competition.
Now that we've set up Vuforia in Unity, we can work on the more exciting aspects of making physical objects come to life on the HoloLens. In this guide, we will choose an image (something that you physically have in your home), build our ImageTarget database, and then set up our Unity camera to be able to recognize the chosen image so that it can overlay the 3D holographic effect on top of it.
Augmented reality software developer Maxst has made the move into hardware with the announcement of Revelio, Maxst's new untethered AR smartglasses.
The limitless applications of 3D data visualization will enable a more efficient approach to many of life's problems. Each day, developers exploring this technology are finding new ways to solve these problems in mixed reality; 3D modeling, easier house management, spinal surgery, and forest fire management are just a few recent examples of ways 3D data visualization can benefit us all.
Meta's long-awaited Meta 2 development kit finally began shipping in late-December last year, after having been delayed about six months. While very few have received a dev kit at this point, some more information about the headset has just been announced; Depth-sensing technology from pmdtechnologies is included in the dev kit headset.
The HoloLens is a natural medium for 3D data visualization, which offers a far more ideal approach over 2D screens to managing multiple resources simultaneously and grasping the bigger picture. We've already seen how management is using holograms to oversee cities, firefighters, and the military, and now training for sports teams is being addressed with VAR Football.
Students from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center have been working on an augmented reality system to help teach music in a project called Music Everywhere.
Welcome back to this series on making physical objects come to life on HoloLens with Vuforia. Now that we've set up Vuforia and readied our ImageTarget and camera system, we can see our work come to life. Because in the end, is that not one of the main driving forces when developing—that Frankenstein-like sensation of bringing something to life that was not there before?
The coming year promises to be a good one for those of us watching the augmented and mixed reality world. And the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), starting Jan. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for its 50th year, is bringing 2017 in with a bang—we're expecting a ton of great announcements on the horizon.
DigiLens, a company specializing in optical waveguide technology, recently announced that they had closed a $22 million round of strategic investment, also known as Series B funding. This round brought in Sony, Foxconn, Continental, and Panasonic, as well as more traditional venture investors such as Alsop Louie Partners, Bold Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Dolby Family Ventures.
A strange thing is happening: there are people, groups of people even, walking the streets day and night staring wide-eyed at their mobile phones and laughing like manic children. What are these people doing? Are they taking pictures? Are they participating in some new social media craze? Is their activity an omen that the zombie apocalypse is upon us?
Augmented and mixed reality started as a lofty promise that's just now taking form, but with several companies taking somewhat different approaches, it's hard to understand what's what. Let's take a look at the three big players and what they're doing: HoloLens, Meta, and Magic Leap.
Many new developers are diving right into the Microsoft HoloLens, but augmented and mixed reality are fairly big subjects in terms of learning. There's a lot to cover and, unfortunately, very few places for someone brand new to Windows Holographic to begin lessons.
Now that we've got all of our software installed, we're going to proceed with the next step in our HoloLens Dev 101 series—starting a fresh project and building it into a Holographic application. Then we will output the application to the HoloLens Emulator so we can see it in action.
We've been hearing some interesting rumors in the last few days that are stirring up all kinds of speculation about the potential upcoming consumer release of the HoloLens. However, MSPoweruser has speculated a bit further past the consumer HoloLens release to a possible HoloLens 2 as soon as Q3 2017.
3D modeling is usually a very long and complicated process. Manipulating the thousands to millions of vertices, faces, and triangles to the correct shape you want is just the first part of the process, and can take a good while depending on the level of detail needed. From there, you need to texture the model by applying the UV coordinates and placing the textures in the correct places. And all of this isn't even including the process of creating normal maps.
Magic Leap, the mysterious Florida-based mixed reality start-up, announced on Wednesday that it would be opening a 260,000 square-foot expansion in Florida, and bringing along with it 725 new jobs over a five-year period. To make this happen, they will be making an $150 million capital investment, with government incentives, of course.
DAQRI, a company mostly known for its odd but fun-looking industrial Smart Helmet, unveiled their new Smart Glasses product at CES 2017. Their smartglasses look like a strange attempt to answer the Microsoft HoloLens, and the price tag of $4,995 for the developer's edition reinforces that notion.
Once mixed reality technology is more widely available and realistically priced for consumers, using the tech to create the illusion of a larger space, will likely be a favorite use for mixed reality in places where real-estate is expensive, people tend to live in smaller homes and work in tighter offices.
These days, if you walk through Best Buy, you will see an entire area designated to smart home technology. Thanks to the interest and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), this exciting new technology has finally entered the mainstream. Appliances, thermostats, and even the lighting throughout your house can be controlled from your computer or smartphone. You could also use artificial intelligence; Simply tell Amazon's Alexa what you want your house to do, and she will do it.
A new contender has entered the mixed reality ring. San Fransisco-based Occipital has just released an "Explorer Edition" of Bridge—an iPhone-based mixed and virtual reality headset that uses their popular Structure Sensor. At a fraction of the cost of a HoloLens developers kit, this could be a place many curious people use to find their NextReality.
In addition to trying to give Pokémon a life on the HoloLens, Sky Zhou, a founding member of mixed reality studio Matrix Inception, won Microsoft's Actiongram Fantasy Contest Quest last month for his video concept on slaying dragons. But fantastical creatures aren't the only thing Sky can whip up on the HoloLens.
In response to the flurry of doubtful headlines about Magic Leap today, set off by an unflattering article from The Information, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz released a short blog post quickly detailing what to expect from the company over the next year. The gist comes down to this: big things are happening in 2017.
There's a reason that YouTube continues to be the most popular video sharing site on the planet—ever since its purchase by Google, they've always made sure to load YouTube up with extra features to keep it ahead of the pack.
Another innovative use of augmented reality - we've seen transparent walls, t-shirts that play Rock, Paper, Scissors, an iPhone operated video game drone; and now, a tattoo that comes to life. Just tattoo a simple "barcode", point a webcam at it, and a flying animated dragon will appear, hovering.
If you want free Poké Balls and eggs when playing Pokémon GO, you can find them at PokéStops in variation locations around your city, which are marked with towering blue icons on your map. Once you're at Level 5, they'll also grant you Potions and Revives to help you in your battles against other trainers, so they're definitely something you should be visiting whenever you can.
Gotta catch 'em all, right? That's easier said than done, considering that Pokémon GO has region-specific characters that you may never get a chance to see. Sure, you can spoof your GPS location to make the augmented reality game think you're at a different spot on the map, but Niantic Labs seems to be catching on to this method, and some users have been soft-banned for a few hours after trying it.
Thanks to Project-Infrared, there's now a pretty straightforward way to add motion tracking to the HoloLens: Connect it to a Kinect.
Windows Insiders running Build 14971 of Windows 10 in the Fast Ring can now look for the "Windows Holographic First Run" app to check to see if their PCs are up to the task of running Windows Holographic. It won't detect your VR headset yet, but at least you'll be able to see if your computer will be compatible.
When the "Just another day in the office at Magic Leap" video was released last year, it was called a mind-blowing, stunning, and breathtaking take on mixed reality gaming. It was a great presentation of what the technology could be, but not for a second did I think it was anything other than a concept video, and I'm not the only one who thought that. This was a goal to reach for mixed reality, not the reality.
Well, we have some potentially good news for those wanting to experience Magic Leap. The ultra-secretive company seems to be planning a big year in 2017.
The HoloLens is the world's first untethered holographic head-mounted computer, which Microsoft has been rather proud of—and they have every reason to be. Of course, as soon as we developers get adjusted to the idea of keeping the scope of our projects inside the bounds of the HoloLens' processing power, Microsoft hits us with the Holographic Remoting Player.
We've experienced the HoloLens, learned a lot about the Meta 2, but almost nobody knows exactly what to expect out of Magic Leap's mixed reality headset. Thanks to a patent dug up by Quartz (which we saw first on Tech Insider), we now might have a better idea.
With the release of the HoloLens, Microsoft has put itself in both a great position while giving the competition a serious target to aim for. This is normally the case for anyone that is first to the market with a new idea, and now we've finally got a good competitor HoloLens coming. Stereolabs, a company known for its impressive 2K stereo camera, will be entering the mixed reality head-mounted display space with a Developers Kit as soon as early-2017.
Microsoft's HoloLens comes with helpful features for capturing video and photos, but sharing whatever you record isn't as straightforward as you might expect. So here are the many ways to get your media off the device to share with the world.
True innovation tends to come from the places we least expect as developers. The Microsoft HoloLens is still a very new product, and some of the other headsets are still just ideas, so the rules for mixed reality are not set in stone. That means all the real problems to be solved are yet to come.
Augmented, mixed, and virtual reality are all a little bit different, but as many expect—including Metavision—the continuum of our next realities will converge and give us one head-mounted display (HMD) platform that can do it all. If Vrvana, a Canadian company building AR and VR headsets, succeeds, that convergence could begin as early as next year.