augmented reality


'augmented reality' Articles

Rumors Persist About Triple-Lens Rear Camera System With Advanced 3D Sensing on 2019 iPhones

While we're still two months away from Apple's widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones, the rumor mill is already looking ahead to next year. iPhone with triple-lens rear camera mockup via iDrop News Much of the early discussion has centered upon the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones, with multiple reports claiming it will be a triple-lens array with advanced 3D sensing for augmented reality capabilities. Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News says as much in a pair of reports today, claiming that the rear-facing camera on 2019 iPhones will feature "more advanced" sensing than the front-facing TrueDepth system on the current iPhone X, with a triple-lens setup capable of stereoscopic imaging. With stereoscopic imaging, two of the sensors would be able to capture images of a single object from different angles. A triangulation method would then be used to obtain the distance between the iPhone and the object. The third lens would also likely enable 3x optical zoom on an iPhone for the first time, enabling users to magnify the image in the viewfinder by up to three times without a blurry reduction in quality like digital zoom. Bloomberg News last year reported that Apple aims to include rear-facing 3D sensing capabilities in its 2019 iPhones. At the time, Apple was said to be evaluating a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a 3D image of the environment. While the exact implementation remains to be seen, it's clear that the rear camera could play a big role in the augmented

Apple Announces New USDZ Augmented Reality File Format Coming in iOS 12

Apple today announced a new augmented reality file format called Universal Scene Description (USDZ) during its keynote event at WWDC in San Jose, California. Apple explained that USDZ was developed alongside animation studio Pixar and is an open file format optimized for creating and sharing 3D Augmented Reality assets in a compact, single file. This means that the format is optimized for sharing AR objects in apps like Messages, Safari, and Mail, while retaining powerful graphics and animation features. USDZ is based on Pixar’s Universal Scene Description and makes it easy to experience AR nearly anywhere in iOS. In conjunction with USDZ, Apple detailed a new feature called "Quick Look" for AR that allows users to place 3D objects into their real world surroundings "to see how something would work in a space. Adobe VP Abhay Parasnis was introduced on stage during the keynote to confirm that it will have native support for Apple's new AR file format in its entire suite of Creative Cloud software applications, and will also be adding a new AR design app to CC with easy-to-use tools for creating new

Gene Munster Shares WWDC Predictions: Beats Product With Siri Integration, Improvements to AI and AR

Ahead of next week's Worldwide Developers Conference, Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster today shared his predictions for the features and services that Apple will unveil during the event. Munster expects Apple to debut new Siri, AR, AI, and Digital Health functionality, including a Beats-branded accessory (presumably a speaker) that includes Siri integration, much like the HomePod. Some of Munster's predictions have been previously covered in rumors shared by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, but Siri integration in a lower-cost Beats product is a new prediction. We expect Monday's keynote to be highlighted by extending the reach of Siri (most likely adding new domains, opening HomePod to more capabilities, and integrating Spotlight), along with additional AI tools (new Core ML extensions). We also anticipate new features around digital health (privacy and device management) and ARKit (development tools). Expect Siri integration with Beats. Collectively, these announcements advance the ease of use and intelligence of Apple's mobile and desktop experiences.According to Munster, Apple may be planning introduce a $250 Beats-branded product that will offer Siri integration similar to the HomePod, allowing Apple to "advance its digital assistant ambitions" with a more affordable option. Apple currently sells a Beats Pill+ speaker for $179.95, and the device has not been updated in some time. Apple is going to announce a new "Decade Collection" at WWDC according to a Best Buy leak, but that collection is limited to existing headphones in new colorways and does not

Google Maps Gaining AR Street View, 'For You' Recommendations, and More

Google today outlined several new features coming to Google Maps at its Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California this morning. First and foremost, this summer, Google Maps will be updated with a new personalized "For You" section that offers up recommendations based on your interests. The Maps app is gaining a dedicated "For You" tab that is designed to "tell you what you need to know about the neighborhoods you care about." It will feature new restaurants opening nearby, trending spots, and more, based on places you've rated and places you've visited. For You will be accompanied by a new "Match Score" that predicts which restaurants you're most likely to prefer based on your personal preferences, which is designed to help you to choose between multiple restaurant suggestions. To facilitate making plans with others, Google Maps is gaining a feature that will let you long press on any restaurant or location to add it to a shortlist that can be shared with friends to get their input. Once shared, your friends can add additional suggestions to the list and vote on the place they'd most like to visit to find a group favorite. Google also announced a new augmented reality feature that's coming to the Street View version of Maps for walking directions. When you're using Google Maps to find a location that you're walking to, you'll see an AR overlay with specific directions on which way to go and information on exactly what's around you, reimagining walking navigation. Google says it is augmented GPS with VPS, or a visual positioning

Snapchat Launches 'Snappables' Augmented Reality Games That Can Be Played With Friends

Snapchat today announced the launch of Snappables, which are new Snapchat Lenses that are designed to allow Snapchat users to play augmented reality games with their friends. Interactive Snappable lenses are located right near other Snapchat Lenses in the Lens Carousel and can be accessed by tapping the icon on the left side of the capture button. To use a Snappable, tap the Snappable icon and then follow the on-screen directions. Some of the available Snappables let you create a dance party or a rock band with friends, while others are more game-like in nature and can be controlled through facial expressions, touch, and motion. You can play a game where you fight virtual aliens, for example, and then send a Snap to a friend to play along. According to a Snapchat spokesperson, Snappables are the beginning of a new type of augmented reality experience on Snapchat. Prior to now, Lenses have focused on transforming your look or the world around you, while Snappables are sharable AR experiences. In other Snapchat-related news, Snapchat parent company Snap is said to be planning to introduce new Spectacles later in the week. Little is known about the new glasses, and it's not yet clear if they will feature major design changes. Snapchat can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Developer 'Survios' Details Process of Porting VR Title to iMac Pro, Says Apple Has 'A Lot of Passion' for VR

When Apple launched the iMac Pro last December, virtual reality applications and content creation were headlining features for the high-end computer. Prior to that, the company focused on Metal 2 and VR-based content as major additions to macOS High Sierra during WWDC 2017, also announcing multiple game studios putting their support behind Mac-based VR experiences, like Valve and Epic using the HTC Vive headset. Today, another VR studio backing Apple's efforts in this space has become the focus of a new report by Ars Technica. The studio, called "Survios," was approached by Apple to port its new software "Electronauts" to macOS, part of many VR apps aimed at showcasing the iMac Pro's top-of-the-line capabilities. In the new interview, Survios studio head Mike McTyre and software engineer Jason Meisel discussed the "nearly painless" porting process, what working with Apple was like, and the important distinction between Apple's focus on AR vs VR. According to Meisel, Apple focused on ease of portability and ensured that early VR Mac developers wouldn't hit roadblocks during the porting process. Right now on Mac, VR experiences are supported using an optimized version of Valve's SteamVR platform and Survios developed Electronauts in the Unity game engine, which "can build directly to a multitude of platforms" spanning macOS and Windows. "Essentially, what they've done really well is that they've been working with Unity and with Valve to make that whole process of porting a game that already exists using Unity and just get it running on the iMac," Meisel added.

Apple Joins Group Investment in OLED Microdisplay Company eMagin Amid Ongoing AR/VR Efforts [Update: Not True]

Update: EMagin's Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Lucas told Bloomberg that Apple has not invested in the company, despite the document filed with the Securities and Exchange commission. Emagin listed the companies in the document because it "has had discussions with them at industry events." Lucas says Apple did not actually invest in the company and the filing was misinterpreted. Apple has joined a group of companies investing in OLED microdisplay maker eMagin, believed to be part of Apple's overall virtual and augmented reality hardware strategy. LG, Valve, Immerex, and Stillwater Holdings have all joined in on the investment with Apple, which is said to be worth up to a total of $10.6 million (via TechCrunch). eMagin confirmed the investment, stating that it will use the money for "working capital and general corporate purposes." The company created "a new kind of display" to use in VR headsets that allows for sharper images, which it believes will help fuel the "next generation" of AR and VR devices. eMagin’s technology is notable in that it has created a new kind of display that can be used in VR headsets, which provides a sharper image by using a denser layout of lines (versus the pixels commonly used in existing products). This helps reduces the so-called “screen door” effect on the display and makes what you see up close through the headset much sharper. “We believe that our direct patterning technology is a key differentiator for enabling next generation AR/VR hardware for the consumer and enterprise segments because of the brightness and

Tim Cook Thinks Retailers Will Find Augmented Reality as Key as Having a Website

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes there isn't any sector or industry that will be untouched by augmented reality going forward. Tim Cook via Alastair Nicol for Vogue In a recent interview with Vogue, Cook said he believes the technology will transform everything from fashion runway shows to shopping."If you think about a runway show in the fashion world, that's a great application of AR because some of these, you want to see the dress all the way around, you do not want to just see the front." That kind of experience is all the more important now that runway shows are catering to a wider consumer audience watching online, and not just those seated in the front rows, he added.Apple's chief envisions a world where customers will essentially be able to "point and buy" products. If your friend is wearing a pair of shoes you like, for example, you could point your iPhone at them, and a shopping app could instantly bring up information about the pair with the option to purchase them online."We don't have a plan to collect all of these objects, but I know companies who are working on that for their products," Cook said. "If you think about companies that offer a fair number of shoes, and [if a customer] sees a shoe and goes I want that one, you just want to point and [buy]. That will be a part of the shopping experience of the future, it absolutely will."Cook is so confident in augmented reality's future that he believes the technology will become "as key as having a website" for brands. Some retailers have already implemented augmented reality features using Apple's new ARKit

Here's a Look at the First Wave of Augmented Reality ARKit Apps Hitting the iOS App Store Today

With the launch of iOS 11 today, Apple has turned hundreds of millions of iPhones into augmented reality-capable devices thanks to the support of a new developer framework called ARKit. With this technology, iOS developers can more easily craft AR experiences for users on compatible iPhones and iPads, using each device's built-in cameras, processors, and motion sensors. As of now, the first wave of these apps are available for you to download and test on the iOS 11 App Store. The first apps range from game updates to practical everyday tools and even apps that encourage a healthier lifestyle, with more refined experiences likely coming in the future once developers get a grasp on what users enjoy with the first wave of apps. Note that to use ARKit-enabled apps on iOS 11 you must have an iOS device with an A9, A10, or A11 processor. This means ARKit apps can be launched on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the upcoming iPhone X. For iPads, you can use the 9.7-inch iPad or the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The older 9.7-inch model of the iPad Pro is compatible as well. One you have iOS 11 installed on one of these devices, head over to the new App Store and check out some of the ARKit apps listed below to see how Apple's new augmented reality technology works in your own home. Games Splitter Critters (left) and Egg, Inc. (right) Splitter Critters ($2.99) - What's it about? Use swipes of your finger to split a colorful landscape and guide alien critters back to their spaceship, avoiding enemies and

Snapchat's World Lens Filters Now Include Augmented Reality Bitmoji

Snapchat will now allow users to view their Bitmoji characters in augmented reality, through an addition to its previous "World Lens" feature. With the update, Bitmoji will be able to do yoga, skateboard, drink coffee, and more, all taking place in real-world surroundings in AR (via TechCrunch). Image via TechCrunch Similar to Snapchat's popular dancing hotdog character, the Bitmoji will anchor to a spot in the environment and allow the user to walk around the characters for multiple angles and photo/video moments. They will be able to grow larger and smaller by swiping up and down on the screen, and multiple animation options will be available for users to choose from. Some of these will last longer than ten seconds, meaning Snapchat's multi-snap feature will be needed to string longer clips together. Snapchat was featured briefly during Apple's September 12 media event, where Craig Federighi demoed a few face filters in the social media app. On iPhone X and iOS 11, Snapchat's filters -- and other AR experiences like the new World Lens Bitmoji -- will be improved thanks to the advanced front-facing camera sensors of the iPhone X, and ARKit in iOS 11. The AR Bitmoji feature is rolling out globally on iOS beginning today, with Android users planned to receive the update sometime in the future. To be able to use the Bitmoji in World Lenses, users will first have to download the Bitmoji app and create their own

Google Reveals its Answer to Apple's ARKit With 'ARCore', Bringing AR to 100M Android Devices

Google today announced a new developer platform for augmented reality apps that won't require dedicated hardware, which it's calling "ARCore." The company originally began making inroads in the AR space a few years ago with Project Tango, which required manufacturers to implement specialized equipment so that smartphones would be compatible with Tango's AR features. Now, Google is "effectively shuttering" the Tango brand, according to TechCrunch, and focusing on the ARCore software development kit. The new platform will deliver AR abilities to compatible Android smartphones, immediately turning a large swath of the Android device market into advanced AR-enabled machines, similar to what will happen with iOS 11-enabled devices following the debut of Apple's upcoming ARKit. To start, ARCore is launching on the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8 (which must be running 7.0 Nougat or above), and a wider adoption of more smartphones will come later down the line for ARCore's public launch. By that date, Google "plans to have 100 million Android devices" out in the wild that support motion-tracking AR capabilities, and as more advanced smartphones launch the company said that ARCore will only grow stronger. “We’ve architected ARCore to be able to perceive a wide variety of sensors,” Google AR/VR head Clay Bavor told TechCrunch. “We foresee, in the future, many more phones having depth-sensing capabilities and as those come into mainstream phones, that’s great, ARCore will work seamlessly with those and benefit from the additional sensing capabilities.” ARCore works by

Disney Announces AR Scavenger Hunt for 'Force Friday II', Some Star Wars Toys Coming to Apple Stores

Two years after the original "Force Friday" launched in celebration of new toys and gadgets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney is now gearing up for "Force Friday II," which will see the launch of new merchandise centered on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Force Friday II will run September 1 through September 3, with toys being sold at Apple, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and more (via Reuters). The items that will be at Apple retail locations have not yet been specified, but for the original Force Friday one of the most popular gadgets was Sphero's iPhone-controlled BB-8 droid, so there's a chance fans could see a similar toy launch next week. Force Friday II officially begins at 12:01 a.m. PT on Sept. 1, with more than 20,000 retail locations in 30 countries joining in on the Star Wars merchandise celebration, ahead of the debut of Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December. Further enhancing the toy hunt this year is a new augmented reality experience for fans shopping during Force Friday II. Anyone who downloads the official Star Wars app for iOS [Direct Link] or Android devices will be able to scan select retail standees that have a "Find the Force" logo printed on them. When scanned, fans will activate and unlock various Star Wars characters, which they can then take pictures and videos with, post on social media, and unlock that character's data chip. The more data chips collected, the more users will earn exclusive digital rewards, including Star Wars video clips and character emoji. Disney has shared a full list of retailers [PDF] that will have Find the

Latest ARKit Demo Showcases Virtual Drawing

Ahead of the launch of iOS 11, developers have been tinkering with ARKit, Apple's upcoming augmented reality platform, and showcasing the myriad ways that it can be used in apps and games. The latest demo comes courtesy of Osama Abdel-Karim, who uses ARKit to virtually paint on a notepad using his fingers. According to Abdel-Karim, an iOS 11 library named Vision was used to develop the virtual drawing feature. Vision includes an object tracking feature that is able to detect the thumbnail of a finger and track its movement to enable the drawing. Abdel-Karim has outlined the steps he used to create his ARKit demo and provided the full source code for the project. When it launches this fall, ARKit is positioned to become the largest AR Platform in the world, using the camera, processors, and motion sensors in the iPhone and iPad to create some incredibly impressive augmented reality interactions. As outlined in our video covering ARKit, the feature uses technology called Visual Inertial Odometry to track the world around an iPad or iPhone, allowing a device to sense how it moves in a room. ARKit automatically analyzes a room's layout, detecting horizontal planes like tables and floors, which then allows virtual objects to be placed upon those surfaces. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The first apps and games with ARKit won't be available until iOS 11 is officially available to the public, but we've seen what ARKit can be used for, with developers demonstrating everything from live filter applications in a recreation of

Apple's ARKit Used to Recreate Classic A-ha 'Take On Me' Video

Developers have been creating some impressive augmented reality apps and games with Apple's upcoming ARKit API, and the latest proof-of-concept video reimagines the video accompanying A-ha's 80s hit "Take On Me." The video, created by augmented reality studio Trixi, uses ARKit, Unity 3D assets, GameFlow, and animations made using Mixamo to combine real world visuals with black and white sketched characters in the "Take On Me" video style. The original A-Ha video featuring a sketched comic book character that comes to life took several months to create, but Trixi founder Chip Sineni told The Verge that the ARKit version took just a couple of days. "The hardest part was not having the all the live video receive the post effect," said Sineni. "But [we] really wanted that effect of turning your world into the 'Take on Me' experience, not a baked in experience." ARKit is set to position the iPhone and the iPad as the largest augmented reality platform when it launches alongside iOS 11. Developers have created a wide range of content using ARKit, ranging from the practical applications like room measurements and furniture placement to games. The first apps able to take advantage of ARKit will launch this

AR Startup Blippar Showcases 'Halos' Facial Recognition Feature in its Mobile App

Augmented reality startup Blippar today announced a new social feature for its image recognition app that lets users build an AR profile using facial recognition technology. Called "Halos", the feature offers users the ability to scan their face into the app and fill various bubbles around their head with personal details, such as their latest tweets, favorite songs on Spotify, YouTube videos, and animated emoji. Once the facial profile is uploaded, anyone who "blips" the user – or scans their face with the app – sees the information as a halo of bubbles suspended in mid-air. The feature builds on the app's Public Figure Facial Recognition, introduced last December, which lets users scan 370,000 famous faces to learn interesting facts about them. The Blippar app generally relies on users aiming their phone camera at everyday objects, products or images and "blipping" them to unlock helpful information, interact with brands, play videos, games, music, and more. Blippar said in a blog post that the mobile app is mainly its way of showcasing technologies for other companies interested in adopting their visual search engine APIs – or in this case, facial recognition tech, which the company claims has more than 99.6 percent accuracy. "Our faces are our most unique and expressive form of communication. Through AR Face Profiles we are making the face accessible in digital format for the first time, providing an innovative and dynamic way of expressing ourselves and discovering more about those around you. The technology lends itself to many other forms of

'Mira Prism' Headset Uses an iPhone to Power Augmented Reality Experiences

A new iPhone-compatible augmented reality headset has been announced today, called the Mira Prism, and it allows users to plug their iPhone 6, 6s, or 7 into a headset and interact with holographic images overlaid onto real-world objects. The iPhone 7 sits facing away from the user when placed within the Mira Prism, and then a pair of mirrors reflects what's on the iPhone's screen and positions it on the front glass lenses, providing the augmented reality effect. The headset's app includes a collection of solo and collaborative AR experiences that are displayed above the included Mira launchpad, and any user without a headset can see what others are seeing in AR through the iPhone app's "Spectator Mode." No plugs, computers, or wires needed. No matter where you are, simply open the Mira app on your smartphone, slide it into the Prism headset, and begin exploring the wonders of interactive holographic content. The Mira Prism comes with a motion-based remote control for interacting with the various AR experiences provided by the headset, and the company said that more games and apps will becoming thanks to the Mira SDK. Engadget had a chance to check out the Mira Prism, and described a few of the games available on the AR headset: Even though I only had a few minutes with the Prism, I was impressed with what I saw. I'm used to trying on headsets that are too expensive for most people to buy, so it was a bit of a shock that it worked at all. Beyond the initial setup experience, I played a holographic game that involved maneuvering a character through a maze, which

Latest Apps to Showcase Apple's ARKit Include Simple Measuring Tape and Minecraft

iOS developers have already gotten their hands on ARKit, Apple's latest platform which enables developers to quickly and easily build augmented reality experiences into their apps. ARKit blog Made With ARKit has been sharing even more examples of the augmented reality apps that developers are toying around with, coming a few months ahead of when the first apps will launch to the public alongside iOS 11 this fall. In two new videos shared on Twitter, developers have created useful measuring apps with ARKit, using the camera, processors, and motion sensors in an iPhone or iPad to calculate the size of various objects. In the first video, the app requires users to tap two locations and then shows the total distance between the spots as a floating number in the air. In the second video (seen above), users choose a starting point for the virtual measuring tape, and then pan to where they want the end point to be located. The video compares the virtual AR measuring experience to a real measuring tape, and then tries it out on a picture frame and armoire. The app in the second video was built by Laan Labs, and they have a few other ARKit videos on their twitter, including one where they make a 3D drawing. Gaming apps have already begun to take shape as well, with developer Matthew Hallberg building a Minecraft AR app with ARKit and Unity. The app lets players place Minecraft blocks around their real-world environment, and then destroy what they've built with Minecraft's traditional crafting and destruction mechanics. One well-known partner for ARKit is furniture

Supply Chain Evidence Mounts for Advanced 3D Sensing Abilities Coming to iPhone 8

Ahead of the iPhone 8's predicted September announcement date, supply chain reports over the past few days have indicated a ramp up of 3D sensing components that are predicted to be destined for augmented reality and biometric security applications in 2017's high-end iPhone 8. In a research note by BlueFin Research Partners, "winners" for iPhone 8 component production are said to include Finisar and Lumentum for 3D sensing modules and Broadcom for wireless charging components (via Barron's). Reports began building last week when iPhone camera component supplier Largan Precision confirmed that it will ship lenses for 3D sensing modules in the second half of 2017, while refraining from directly mentioning Apple and iPhone 8. In a recent quarterly earnings report, supplier Finisar made remarks that heavily suggested it will be "one of two or three suppliers" of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) in the iPhone 8, according to LoupVentures. iPhone 8 rendering by Benjamin Geskin Such technology could be implemented into the iPhone 8's rumored 3D sensing module and help "enrich the augmented reality experience" in the next-generation iPhone. Apple and CEO Tim Cook earlier this month detailed plans to back AR and its potential as an indispensable future technology with the reveal of ARKit, a developer platform that will provide the building blocks for consumer AR iPhone apps. Likewise, Lumentum has announced that it expects to see volume shipments for its VCSEL lasers begin in the second half of 2017, timed with the annual production ramp up of iPhone

Tim Cook Talks HomePod, AR, and How America is 'More Important Than Bloody Politics' in New Interview

Bloomberg Businessweek sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week to discuss a collection of topics related to Apple and the tech industry, including augmented reality, the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, the HomePod, and the opinions he has following his work with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bloomberg Businessweek's full interview with Tim Cook will appear in the Sunday, June 19 edition of the magazine, but for now the site has shared a few interesting snippets from the talk. One of the major talking points of the interview centered around the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-based speaker for the home that the company says will have a focus on high quality audio playback. When asked whether or not he thinks people will actually pay $349 for a HomePod, Cook pointed out the same question that gets brought up heading into the launch of every new Apple product. Image via Bloomberg Businessweek If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, “Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?” And when iPhone was announced, it was, “Is anybody gonna pay”—whatever it was at that time—“for an iPhone?” The iPad went through the same thing. We have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted. When I was growing up, audio was No. 1 on the list of things that you had to have. You were jammin’ out on your stereo. Audio is still really important in all age groups, not just for kids. We’re hitting on something people will be delighted with. It’s gonna blow them away. It’s gonna rock the house. The main iOS