US Army reportedly set to test AR system in 2019

The US Army is set to begin testing an AR system called HUD 3.0 sometime in 2019, according to a report in Breaking Defense.

The HUD 3.0 system reportedly consists of a helmet-mounted system that projects a range of different information onto a soldier’s field of view. The concept is based on the heads-up display currently utilised on fighter planes, which was introduced in the late 1970s.

The kind of information that would be shown to soldiers using the system would be their location in relation to the rest...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 04 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

ARKit app downloads hit 13 million in six months, says new analysis

More than 13 million augmented reality (AR) apps have been installed using Apple’s ARKit framework in its first six months according to data from Sensor Tower – with almost half of these coming from gaming.

The figures suggest a steady upward trend since the platform debuted in September last year. Previous analysis from one month after iOS 11 launched saw the number at around three million. Back then, ARKit-only gaming apps represented just over one third (35%) of all installs. Today, the number...

By James Bourne, 03 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, iOS, Platforms.

54% of VR headset owners block ads

The potential of VR for marketing has sparked a race among companies to find the best way to present users with branded content while they are immersed.

But new data from Global Web Index, who surveyed thousands of headset owning consumers, shows that a significant portion of users are not currently receptive to ads. The min use case for VR marketing would be in putting branded content in front of consumers.

Branded content is an increasing instrumental part of the marketer’s toolkit. The Global Web...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 29 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

AR could play a role in helping people understand sign language

Students at New York have developed an app that uses AR and machine learning to translate sign language into spoken words, and vice versa. Unfortunately, many deaf people still feel that they live fairly isolated lives, with things like appointments and going out often massively complicated due to the lack of general knowledge of sign language throughout the hearing population.

The ARSL app uses computer vision models to translate sign language into spoken language and the other way around in real time. The...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 28 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

App brings IKEA instructions to AR

In the pantheon of DIY tasks, putting together IKEA furniture is considered to be relatively straight forward. This doesn’t mean, however, that the process is an easy and satisfying one. On the contrary, even relatively simple IKEA projects seem to involve the ‘rage freakout’ stage that seemingly accompanies every DIY task.

While the act of throwing tools across the room because the kit doesn’t include enough screws (although they are actually under your coat) or yelling about how the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

VR could be big in schools, but teachers want more content

Say goodbye to school libraries that are little more than dusty rows of books. Slowly but surely, they're becoming “maker spaces” where kids learn through hands-on tools and technologies. Schools are stocking these spaces with everything from Raspberry Pis to 3D printers to LEGO building stations.

The latest technology to find its way into schools’ maker spaces? Virtual reality. Without leaving the library or classroom, students using VR can take “field trips” across the world and...

By Melissa Pelletier, 26 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications.

L’Oreal makes big move into AR with ModiFace acquisition

French cosmetic giant L’Oreal has announced that it has bought Canadian AR company ModiFace, signalling its intention to make a significant move into AR in the near future.

ModiFace has developed technology that allows for 3D virtual make-up, colour and skin diagnosis by tracking facial features and colour. The company’s proprietary technology is already utilised by almost all of the major beauty brands, which means this is a big move by the French company.

The company’s 70 employees will...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 22 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

HTC Vive and IGT announce casino VR deal

Slot machine maker International Game Technology PLC (IGT) has announced that it will be teaming up with HTC Vive to bring VR technology to casinos. The partnership will see the IGT, which is one of the world’s largest ‘gaming solutions providers’ leveraging HTC VIVE Studios’ content within a ‘Virtual Zone’ on casino floors.

This is not, however, a way for fatigued gamblers to gain some respite by checking out virtual experiences. Rather, the Virtual Zone is a competition...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 21 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise, eSports.

Magic Leap releases AR SDK

After years of speculation and secrecary, the last few months have seen Magic Leap spring into action. First it unveiled the Magic Leap One headset in December and now the company has opened the headset up to developers with the release of a new SDK.

A blog post on the company website states:

“These tools and resources will be the first opportunity for creators to dive...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

Scots council is first in UK to provide VR headsets to schools

VR is coming to the 30 primary and secondary schools of East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland as part of a new scheme. The announcement marks the first time that local government in the UK has specifically earmarked funding to provide VR hardware to schools.

The £250,000 investment will see pupils in the region gain access to VR via ClassVR headsets. The hardware, designed by educational technology company Avantis, the headsets are specially designed to provide pupils with hundreds of virtual and...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 19 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Devices.

Tobii and Qualcomm bring eye tracking to VR/AR headsets

Qualcomm has announced that it plans to integrate Tobii’s eye-tracking technology directly into its Snapdragon 845 VR headsets. The two companies will create a full reference design and development kit for the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform.

The development kit is based around the 845 processor, which was first used in the Samsung Galaxy S9 that launched in February. Qualcomm’s head mounted display will include Tobii’s proprietary EyeCore eye-tracking algorithms and hardware design.

The...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 16 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Zara introducing AR displays to stores

Fashion chain Zara, which is owned by the world’s biggest clothing retailer Inditex, has announced the introduction of AR displays to some of its stores from April.

The technology will be introduced across 120 of the brand’s flagship stores and will allow consumers to view products and purchase them using their phones.

Customers who download the app can access a range of content by pointing their device at the specialised display surfaces. They will be able to see a virtual representation of a...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 14 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

Microsoft details four ways it's experimenting with haptic VR

VR has gained so much traction in the last couple of years that its futuristic, sci-fi sheen has been diminished in the eyes of a lot of consumers. Most people now expect that they will be interacting with the technology in some form within the next decade.

The area of haptic feedback, having the ability to touch and feel virtual objects, is still likely to elicit shocked gasps from consumers. Unsurprisingly, there are currently a wealth of companies racing to trying to create the killer piece of haptic...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Hardware.

Bose takes innovative approach to AR with smart glasses prototype

Bose may be primarily known for their audio products like headphones and speakers, but the company is looking to make waves in to the AR market as well.

The company surprised attendees of SXSW with an announcement that it will be launching an AR platform that will be accompanied by smart glasses. Fittingly, Bose AR was described as being the “world’s first audio augmented reality platform”, highlighting the key distinction between the Bose glasses and others emerging into the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Devices.

Uber files application for VR vehicle experiences

Uber is looking to bring VR to the world of driverless cars, so that commuters can immerse themselves in virtual experiences on their daily commutes.

According to Motherboard, the company filed two patents in August 2016 relating to VR experiences for vehicles. The patents have been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office

The applications say:

“Most people travel the same routes at the same times of day over and over again and are interested in using their travel time for something other than looking at...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 09 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise.

Jurassic Park goes full Pokémon Go with AR game

It is safe to say that Pokémon Go was, however briefly, a phenomenon and the closet thing that AR has had to a breakthrough, killer app so far.

But you know what is arguably cooler than rooting out Pokémon in the real world? Dinosaurs, that’s what.

As the Jurassic Park franchise rumbles on with latest instalment Fallen Kingdom, developers Luda have teamed up with Universal to create an AR game for both iOS and Android.  

In terms of mechanics and gameplay, Jurassic World Alive will seem very...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

AR company Upskill adds Accenture and Cisco as high-profile investors

Upskill, a company focused on creating AR platforms that facilitate employee training with smart glasses, has raised a mammoth $17.2 million in its latest round of funding.

The company also added some very high-profile investors to its current roster. Accenture and Cisco Investments now join the links of Boeing HorizonX, GE Ventures and New Enterprise Associates as backers of Upskill. The company raised £11.3 million last year.

The latest round means that the company has now raised an impressive $57.4...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 07 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Enterprise.

What is the scent of virtual reality?

The following article is authored by Avery Gilbert, with contributions from Jacki Morie and Saskia Wilson-Brown

Dogs are renowned for their keen sense of smell, but the human nose is no slouch. It’s capable of distinguishing more than 1 trillion different scents, according to Rockefeller University scientists.

In fact, although that’s far more than the 10,000 that decades-old research indicated, the Rockefeller University study concludes...

Researchers test whether VR can treat phantom pain

Phantom pain is a strange phenomena whereby someone who has recently lost a limb continues to feel pain that seems to be coming from the missing limb itself. The condition can often compound the anguish that can come when a person loses part of their body.

As well as trying to understand why phantom pain occurs, scientists have been trying to find an effective way to treat the condition. Researchers at the University of Brunswick’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering are studying whether VR can help...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 02 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

MWC2018 – Experts think VR/AR will really benefit from 5G

The theme of this year’s MWC in Barcelona may have been sustainability, but it was definitely unofficially 5G. All over the mammoth conference space, there was excited talk of how the emergence of 5G networks would affect everything from IoT to smart glasses.

In a panel on the future of immersive experiences on Monday, HTC Vive’s president of Viveport Rikard Steiber said that 5G will really enable the integration of AI into a range of services. With the spread of intelligent computers, Steiber...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 01 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, AR, Developers.