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 solving puzzles in the process.

How’s AR used? Scan a flat surface and then place a fully playable version of the main game into the real world, housed within a small white box.

Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade (Free)

What’s it about? Control an Imperial Knight war machine in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and fight the evil forces of Chaos through 170 single player missions using cannons, missiles, and thermal blasts to defeat your enemies.

How’s AR used? Drop your Imperial Knight from the main game into an AR “Photo Mode” to take snap shots of the war machine in the real world.

Egg, Inc. (Free)

What’s it about? A farming simulation game focused on hatching eggs, building hen houses, hiring drivers, and researching advanced technologies to upgrade your egg farm.

How’s AR used? Take a glimpse at your farm in AR with a “Farm To Table” picture-taking mode.

Thomas & Friends Minis (Free)

What’s it about? Build, decorate, paint, and create full train sets and then control characters from Thomas & Friends as you drive through your customized train set.

How’s AR used? Bring all of your creations into the real world with the app’s AR mode, which places your train set on a flat surface so you can zoom in and around while still being able to interact with various tools and control characters.

Continue reading “Here’s a Look at the First Wave of Augmented Reality ARKit Apps Hitting the iOS App Store Today”

New iPhones may spur a surge in augmented reality

The runaway success of “Pokemon Go” last year taught the world at least two things. One: Lots of people love Pokemon. And two: Creating good augmented reality – the kind that superimposes 3-D objects into the real world and convinces people they’re actually chasing a Pikachu – is really, really hard.


“It’s not so hard that it’s impossible,” said Jeff Kelley, an iOS developer at app design and development firm Detroit Labs. “But it’s hard enough that you’re probably not going to get a return on your investment.”

Previously, if developers wanted to add augmented reality to an app, first they’d have to spend months building their own tools and performing a bunch of math to calculate how a 3-D object should look when light hits it from different angles, and how it interacts with real-world objects, Kelley said.

That high barrier to entry will all but disappear when iOS 11 launches Sept. 19 with AR Kit, a set of developer tools that takes out the hardest part of developing augmented reality experiences for the iPhone.

“As a developer, you don’t have to do all the hard math stuff to get it to work,” Kelley said. “The minimum time investment now goes way down.”

That means there soon could be a surge in the number of apps that feature augmented reality experiences, exposing more people to a technology that was once considered the purview of hardcore geeks.

Despite the enormous popularity of “Pokemon Go” last year, only 31 percent of Americans know what augmented reality is, according to a survey conducted in July by Skrite, a startup that makes a social augmented reality app.

As with its more immersive cousin, virtual reality, tech companies have for years tried to bring augmented reality to the mainstream, with little success. Google’s infamous Google Glass – a head-mounted display – was a flop that drew criticism over its conspicuous design and potential for privacy violations (the device could be used to record people).

Startups at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas year after year have hawked augmented reality screens that act as virtual dressing rooms, none of which have gained mass market adoption. And furniture stores and interior design firms have long offered tools to let people see what a sofa or coffee table might look like in their home, but these apps have been clunky or difficult to use.

Until “Pokemon Go,” most augmented reality experiences just weren’t very good, Kelley said. Even the most basic of experiences left much to be desired. Kelley recalls working on an app five years ago for wall decoration company Fathead, in which users could point a smartphone at a wall in their house and see how a Fathead wall sticker might look in their home. In order for it to work, though, users first had to print a PDF and stick it to their wall as a physical marker so that the app knew where to superimpose the virtual sticker.

With Apple’s AR Kit leveling the playing field, developers can spend less time worrying about the tech that powers augmented reality, and spend more time focusing on the experiences they want to create, Kelley said, which could ultimately lead to more experimentation and better products.

“The main push is that it’s priming the consumer field and the developer field,” said Gregory Curtin, whose Los Angeles firm CivicConnect works with city and transit agencies to integrate city data with augmented reality.

Curtin’s firm spent three years developing its own augmented reality platform, which can integrate transit schedules and commuter data so when a person opens a transit app and points a phone at a bus stop, the bus schedule appears on the screen.

Although a lower barrier to entry could mean CivicConnect will soon see more competition, Curtin welcomes it, because greater awareness of what augmented reality can do will mean more opportunities for developers in new markets.

Some challenges still will lie ahead, though.

AR Kit can solve the tech component, but many augmented reality experiences require 3-D art. Even Snapchat’s dancing hot dog, silly as it may be, had to be drawn and rendered by someone.

“For a lot of developers, that’s another difficult piece, because developers aren’t always good 3-D artists,” Kelley said.

The other challenge is that while the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X are optimized for augmented reality viewing, many phones – particularly cheaper options with lower-end cameras – aren’t. At a starting price of $699 for the iPhone 8 and $999 for the iPhone X, experiences made for those phones may exclude many potential users.

But it’ll be just a matter of time before the technology is readily available to everyone, developers said. Facebook already offers its own platform, AR Studio, for developers wanting to create augmented reality experiences for the social network, and dozens of third-party platforms such as Vuforia and EasyAR allow developers to create AR experiences across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android.

That Apple is throwing its weight behind AR Kit, with augmented reality-ready phones, is a big deal, developers said.

“I do think this will be a milestone in terms of changing the game,” Curtin said.


Explore further:
With iPhone X, Apple is hoping to augment reality for the everyman

New iPhones could make augmented reality a mainstream reality

The runaway success of “Pokémon Go” last year taught the world at least two things. One: Lots of people love Pokémon. And two: Creating good augmented reality — the kind that superimposes 3-D objects into the real world and convinces people they’re actually chasing a Pikachu — is really, really hard.

“It’s not so hard that it’s impossible,” said Jeff Kelley, an iOS developer at app design and development firm Detroit Labs. “But it’s hard enough that you’re probably not going to get a return on your investment.”

Previously, if a developer wanted to add augmented reality to an app, first they’d have to spend months building their own tools and performing a bunch of math to calculate how a 3-D object should look when light hits it from different angles, and how it interacts with real-world objects, Kelley said.

That high barrier to entry will all but disappear when iOS 11 launches Sept. 19 with AR Kit, a set of developer tools that takes out the hardest part of developing augmented reality experiences for the iPhone.

“As a developer, you don’t have to do all the hard math stuff to get it to work,” Kelley said. “The minimum time investment now goes way down.”

That means there soon could be a surge in the number of apps that feature augmented reality experiences, exposing more people to a technology that was once considered the purview of hardcore geeks.

Despite the enormous popularity of “Pokémon Go” last year, only 31% of Americans know what augmented reality is, according to a survey conducted in July by Skrite, a start-up that makes a social augmented reality app.

Like its more immersive cousin, virtual reality, tech companies have for years tried to bring augmented reality to the mainstream, with little success. Google’s infamous Google Glass — a head-mounted display — was a flop that drew criticism over its conspicuous design and potential for privacy violations (the device could be used to record people). Start-ups at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas year after year have hawked augmented reality screens that act as virtual dressing rooms, none of which have gained mass market adoption. And furniture stores and interior design firms have long offered tools to let people see what a sofa or coffee table might look like in their home, but these apps have been clunky or difficult to use.

Until “Pokémon Go,” most augmented reality experiences just weren’t very good, Kelley said. Even the most basic of experiences left much to be desired. Kelley recalls working on an app five years ago for wall decoration company Fathead, in which users could point a smartphone at a wall in their house and see how a Fathead wall sticker might look in their home. In order for it to work, though, users first had to print a PDF and stick it to their wall as a physical marker so that the app knew where to superimpose the virtual sticker.

With Apple’s AR Kit leveling the playing field, developers can spend less time worrying about the tech that powers augmented reality, and spend more time focusing on the experiences they want to create, Kelley said, which could ultimately lead to more experimentation and better products.

“The main push is that it’s priming the consumer field and the developer field,” said Gregory Curtin, whose Los Angeles firm CivicConnect works with city and transit agencies to integrate city data with augmented reality.

Curtin’s firm, which counts cities such as Palm Springs, San Diego and Mission Viejo among its clients, spent three years developing its own augmented reality platform, which can integrate transit schedules and commuter data so when a person opens a transit app and points their phone at a bus stop, the bus schedule appears on their screen.

Although a lower barrier to entry could mean CivicConnect will soon see more competition, Curtin welcomes it, because greater awareness of what augmented reality can do will mean more opportunities for developers in new markets.

Some challenges still will lie ahead, though.

AR Kit can solve the tech component, but many augmented reality experiences require 3-D art. Even Snapchat’s dancing hot dog, silly as it may be, had to be drawn and rendered by someone.

“For a lot of developers, that’s another difficult piece, because developers aren’t always good 3-D artists,” Kelley said.

The other challenge is that while the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X are optimized for augmented reality viewing, many phones — particularly cheaper options with lower-end cameras — aren’t. At a starting price of $699 for the iPhone 8 and $999 for the iPhone X, experiences made for those phones may exclude many potential users.

But it’ll be just a matter of time before the technology is readily available to everyone, developers said. Facebook already offers its own platform, AR Studio, for developers wanting to create augmented reality experiences for the social network, and dozens of third-party platforms such as Vuforia and EasyAR allow developers to create AR experiences across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android.

That Apple is throwing its weight behind AR Kit, with augmented reality-ready phones, is a big deal, developers said.

“I do think this will be a milestone in terms of changing the game,” Curtin said.

tracey.lien@latimes.com

Twitter: @traceylien

Innovators edging space dreams towards reality

Some other contender for the title of Curmudgeon of the Year may emerge before the end of December, but at the moment it looks like Mark McCaughrean, senior adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency, will win in a walk. When Elon Musk unveiled some details of his plan to create a large human settlement on Mars in the journal New Space in June, McCaughrean tweeted as follows.

“It’s a wild-eyed investment pitch, pumped up by the enthusiasm of fanboys brought up on comic-book sci-fi, wrapped in evangelism of saving humanity from itself and the problems we’ve brought on this planet, a kind of modern-day manifest destiny,” he said, waving his stick angrily in the air. (I made that last bit up.)

“I’m less concerned about making humans a multi-planetary species than I am about making the Earth a sustainable multi-species planet, before we go gadding off colonising the solar system,” he continued.

Harrumph. Science journalists always have the phone numbers of grumps like this, because every science story has to have a quote from somebody saying that it’s a bad idea – but it does sound like McCaughrean is in the wrong job.

I’m writing this now, although McCaughrean’s rant happened almost two months ago, because I’m currently on Baffin Island, just about the least hospitable place on Earth that has sustained a long-term human presence.

The ancestors of the present Inuit inhabitants arrived here a thousand years ago without even metal tools, and it occurs to me that if they could make a go of it here, then people with currently available technologies can probably make a go of settling Mars.

The red planet gets much colder than Baffin, its air is not breathable, the water is frozen in the soil, and the lack of a magnetic field lets hard radiation get through to the surface during solar storms, but a human colony on Mars is not impossible.

It may never be the million-strong settlement that Musk imagines a century from now, but he never said he was going to build that himself. What he is building is an Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) that would get people there for as little as $200,000 each. Then just stand back and watch as people with ideas about what could be done on Mars put their money down.

Musk is already building and testing elements of the ITS. He has a brilliant record as a high-tech entrepreneur (the Tesla electric car and the existing generation of Space-X launch vehicles). He has already successfully landed booster rockets, which is the key to making the system reusable. And this is his life’s work.

Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin launch vehicles are also landing successfully, so the reusability problem is cracked – which will automatically cut launch costs at least tenfold. And other blue-sky space projects are practically tripping over each other as the ideas multiply.

Russian tech billionaire Yuri Milner’s ten-year Breakthrough Listen project is buying thousands of hours of time on the world’s most powerful radio telescopes for researchers seeking signs of civilisations elsewhere in the galaxy. There is “no bigger question in science”, said Professor Stephen Hawking, who is an adviser to the project.

The 100-Year Starship project, funded partly by Nasa, was founded in 2012 to explore the technologies needed to make interstellar space travel a reality a century from now. It is now joined by Icarus Interstellar, whose Project Persephone is working on the design of a ‘generation ship’ that could serve as an interstellar lifeboat for some tiny portion of the human race if the Earth faced disaster in the next century.

Then there is the StarShot project, also backed by Yuri Milner. It’s a five-year, $100 million research programme to design a system of tiny probes consisting of single chips, no bigger than a postage stamp, that would fly to nearby star systems to do close-up observations as they sweep through.

Weighing only one gram, the SpaceChips would be put into orbit, then sent on their way by an array of ground-based lasers focussed on a small light-sail: only a few square metres. The lasers would blast them up to one-fifth of light speed in a few minutes, and then they cruise for twenty years or so until they reach their destination – in the first instance, Proxima Centauri, the nearest star

You couldn’t choose a better target, because astronomers have found an Earth-sized planet circling Proxima that is within that star’s “habitable zone” (where water remains liquid). “We will photograph it close-up,” said Avi Loeb, chair of the advisory committee. “Will it be blue from its oceans, or green from its vegetation, or yellow from its deserts? We will find out.” Get the technology right, and you could do it with thousands of stars.

Like all of these projects, StarShot will require the solution of dozens of difficult technical problems, cost a small fortune, and take years, decades or a lifetime. But it is exhilarating to know that all these projects are underway. At last, the ambitions of the innovators and the explorers begin to match the scale of the task.

 

Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries

Nvidia: From Dream To Reality – NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)

In my last article about Nvidia (NVDA) in early March, I had no doubt in stating that the company’s share price could be sustained above $100 after a small correction has ended. Bearing in mind that the assumptions were conservative and the analysis was prudent, I admitted that NVDA’s share price could be supported above that level. I also wrote in that article that it might be appropriate to add more shares on corrections in two or three installments if such opportunity could arise.

Nvidia has grown steadily and strongly in a show of great optimism for the future. Its high performance and excellent profits have to do with its great capacity for innovation. With due caution – which is always healthy in the markets – I expressed my great confidence in the future of this company and in the appreciation of its shares.

But one thing is certain: if, at that time, I had been told that 6 months later NVDA shares would reach $170, I would be amazed.

I will investigate now what has improved since then and what we can expect for the future of NVDA. Let’s not forget that each company has its own history. The $1,000 of Amazon’s level has also been achieved year after year with incredulity for some investors and conviction for others.

Therefore, I will pay special attention to the growth rates achieved in the last two quarters and in the estimates for the future. On the other hand, I’m going to look at earnings per share over the same period. By relating the two indicators, I can reach interesting conclusions.

When we talk about Nvidia, we know that its capacity for innovation has brought new decisive applications to the world of computing. Even in its core business, its development will be significant. In fact, as gamers are switching to PCs away from consoles, we find that the huge business of Nvidia’s gaming PC can still have a significant increase year after year. In addition, the company provides software development kits and offers users exclusive features that make the products even more interesting.

There is strong demand from cloud data center operators, and they are willing to use Volta, which is the last and much faster generation processor.

For Q1 2018, Nvidia reported GAAP EPS of $0.79 (+ 126% Y/Y) and revenue of $1.94B (+48% Y/Y). For Q2 (reported in August 10), GAAP earnings per share were $0.91, up 124% from a year ago with revenue of $2.23B, an increase of 56% Y/Y.

With gross margin remaining solidly close to 60% and a favorable guidance, we may estimate EPS of around $4 for the fiscal year of 2018 ending next January. As last closing price stood at $165.91, the company has a forward P/E of ~41. NVDA is growing fast and may reach $200 at the end of the year supposing EPS estimates for the next fiscal year are around $6 (forward P/E of ~33 at that time).

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Note: This chart is in semi-logarithmic scale

Looking at the 3-year weekly chart above, we may see the solid rise of share prices, which are always much higher than the EMA(50) with some minor exceptions along the way.

Conclusion

With data center potential market expected to grow to around $25B-$30B by 2020 while currently representing a small fraction of that figure, Nvidia has excellent prospects for the future. If we add gaming, AI, self-driving cars and other exciting developments of innovative new products, we may believe that growth still is the key word for the company. Given the high level of EPS estimated above, I believe that NVDA investor’s dreams may well turn into reality.

Although I believe that the company is likely to have a very solid performance in the next year and a half, competition and other market factors may play a not so rosy role. On the other hand, I think that Nvidia has the ability to show that its innovation and product developments are set for the long term.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: The author of this article is not an investment adviser and gives only his personal view and opinion, never making any investment advice or recommendation to buy or sell specific securities. Investors in financial assets must do so at their own responsibility and with due caution as they involve a significant degree of risk. Before investing in financial assets, investors should do their own research and consult a professional investment adviser.

Augmented reality: Is Pokemon Go-style technology the future of football?

See how Frickley Athletic show their match highlights… straight from the pages of the programme

Matchday programmes used to be the place to find out the two teams, discover what your left-back’s favourite film was, or see which local companies were offering a 10% discount when you visited with your copy.

Nowadays you can use your paper programme to watch videos… straight from the page.

It might sound like magic, but a forward thinking semi-professional club from West Yorkshire are making it a reality.

Supporters of Frickley Athletic, who play in the eighth tier of English football, can hover their smartphone over a page in the programme to watch match highlights which are often inaccessible for fans of non-league football.

The club’s programme sales have increased since it was introduced at the start of this season, leading to interest from Football League outfits as they explore ways of sustaining a tradition of the game which is coming under increasing pressure from new forms of media.

“I’m a football traditionalist – programmes need to be in football,” says Chris Medwell, co-editor of Frickley’s programme.

“This is a good way of keeping them alive. If league clubs with more money want to use this technology then the options are endless.”

So how is Frickley making this ‘magic’ happen? Can it keep the matchday programme alive? And what else could fans see pop up on the page?

From Pokemon Go to non-league football

Augmented reality. Never heard of it? The chances are you have used it, or know someone who has.

That’s because Pokemon Go – the mobile game that blends the real world with computer graphics played by millions across the world – is the most high-profile example.

Augmented reality (AR) is all about enhancing the view of the real world with computer graphics, allowing users to experience it on a smartphone through an app that uses the camera and sensor to overlay information on to the real-world view.

“Augmented reality is a developing tech which has been around for 10-15 years in different forms, but is now taking more of a consumer approach,” says Liam Foy, head of social at Bolton-based digital marketing company Bring Digital.

“The big Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, all use it to an extent.”

Pokemon Go became a global hit after it was launched in July 2016

Medwell, a special educational needs (SEN) lecturer at Doncaster College, started using the technology to engage his teenage students and improve their learning experience.

“It helped them take ownership of their learning because it is more interactive,” he says. “Because they thought it looked like ‘magic’, they found it really engaging.

“When I was asked to co-edit the Frickley programme, I thought it would lend itself perfectly to football.”

Using free web-based software, Medwell creates a ‘trigger image’ which is printed on to a page in the programme and recognised by a smartphone app to play the video – filmed by his SEN students – on screen.

Frickley supporters simply have to download the free app, pay £2 for their programme and then watch.

How can non-league clubs benefit?

Clubs down the English league pyramid, particularly the semi-professional ones outside of the Football League, face a constant battle to keep the books balanced as they operate on relatively small incomes.

Frickley, like all Evo-Stik League clubs, are required by the league to produce a matchday programme.

“A programme is a labour of love and often a drain on resources,” says Medwell. “They aren’t cheap to put together and take a lot of time for a volunteer.”

Frickley, based in the former mining village of South Elmsall near Wakefield and with an average attendance of about 300, introduced the concept for their opening home match of the season against Cleethorpes and sold out of programmes.

They increased the print run for their next game – and sold out again.

Medwell adds: “This is a different way of attracting the attention of fans and it is really engaging them.”

WATCH: What is augmented reality?

Frickley say the cost-free feature has caught the imagination of fans who – unlike their Premier League and Football League counterparts – do not have instant access to match highlights through websites and social media.

“Everyone in the town is talking about it,” says Michael Johnson, a volunteer who works as Frickley’s media manager.

“The response has been amazing and the interest is taking the club places it has not been before – not for a lack of trying, just time and cost.”

That exposure – boosted by increased sales – has opened up commercial opportunities with local companies expressing interest in putting video adverts in the programme.

“Cost is a massive thing for a club like ours, but we have no parameters on ideas and creative thinking,” adds Johnson.

“Now we have been able to do it through technology and it is proving to be a massive tool, asset and resource for us.”

Player interviews & touch maps – other ways AR could engage fans

Other non-league teams, keen to discover new ways of boosting programme sales and engaging fans, have contacted Frickley to tap into their knowledge, while a Championship club have also been in touch.

While Frickley use AR to show match highlights, this might not be a selling point for fans higher up the pyramid who can watch more established broadcasts, such as Match of the Day, through apps on their mobile phone.

“One of the key areas to getting football fans using it is added some sort of value to the content,” says Foy.

“In the instance of match highlights, this is a great opportunity for lower-league clubs who can’t get highlights on a regular basis.

“It could also be used to show exclusive interviews with players, managers or ex-players, or to present data and stats – for example, touch maps or pass percentages.”

Foy believes more clubs, especially Premier League sides, will start to use AR as they look for new ways to engage with fans.

“The big clubs could probably build AR technology around the stadium so fans could go to certain points, be able to interact with it and find out more information,” he says.

“This could work, for example, on stadium tours and deliver history about the club and stadium through your phone so you’re not just standing there.

“Social media is changing in terms of algorithms and content is not always being seen by people, so AR could provide another opportunity to get content and information to fans.

“The key difference here is that it gets fans interacting rather than just sitting and consuming.”

Matchday programmes continue their battle to evolve

When football programmes were introduced in the late 19th Century, their main purpose was providing the two teams and a space for fans to write down the final result and goalscorers.

After the Second World War, they became a source of revenue through advertising and developed into a way of engaging with fans through manager columns, player interviews and statistics.

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest sales of football programmes are falling, in an age where most youngsters are digital savvy.

But Chris Mortley, editor of Leicester City’s programme, says the 2015-16 Premier League champions have experienced record sales in recent seasons as fans seek souvenirs of days they never thought they would see.

The Foxes’ pre-season game against a Real Madrid side containing Cristiano Ronaldo and managed by Jose Mourinho in 2011 produced, at the time, the biggest selling programme in the club’s history.

Since then, two further editions have broken this record – the first home fixture of the 2014-15 Premier League season and on the day City lifted the Premier League title in May 2016.

“Naturally, the print run does increase for big games, whether that be against a big-name Premier League club, key matches or memorable occasions,” says Mortley, communications manager at Soar Media.

“For example, some of the highest print runs of last season were for the Champions League games at King Power Stadium.

“The club really do value the matchday programme and look to ensure that it reflects big occasions for the club.”

The programme industry, like all forms of media, is constantly evolving and looking for ways to attract new audiences.

“There was talk a few years ago to have programmes not in paper form but on a cassette in portable audio players. This never materialised,” says Steve Earl, a football programme expert.

“Some league clubs have tried to introduce bar codes you can scan in the programme for further information, but at the time it didn’t prove popular.

“However, with mobile phones now being able to do everything it will be interesting to see how Frickley’s venture progresses.”

Lenovo and Disney’s Star Wars Augmented Reality Experience

“The chosen one you are, with great promise I see.” Now that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise, the expansion of the universe is seemingly never ending. More films, more toys, and now more technology. We’re still a few years away from getting our own lightsabers [citation needed], but until then Disney has partnered with Lenovo to design a Star Wars experience using smartphones and augmented reality.

Lenovo is creating the hardware: a light beacon, a tracking sensor, a lightsaber controller, and the augmented reality headset designed for smartphones. The approach for Lenovo’s AR is different to how Samsung and others are approaching smartphone VR, or how Microsoft is implementing Hololens: by implementing a pre-approved smartphone into the headset, the hardware uses a four-inch diagonal portion of the screen to project an image that rebounds onto prisms and into the user’s eyes. The effect is that the user can still see ahead of them, but also images and details on the screens – limited mostly by the pixel density of the smartphone display.

Lenovo already has the hardware up for pre-order in the US ($199) and the EU (249-299 EUR), and is running a curated system of Android and iOS smartphones. This means that the smartphones have to be on Lenovo’s pre-approved list, which I suspect means that the limitation will be enforced at the Play Store level (I didn’t ask about side loading). But the headset is designed for variable sized devices.

In the two minute demo I participated in, I put on the headset and was given a lightsaber into a 10ft diameter circle, and fought Kylo Ren with my blue beam of painful light. Despite attempting harakiri in the first five seconds (to no effect), it was surprising how clear the image was without any IPD adjustment. The field of view with the headset is only 60 degrees horizontal and 30 degrees vertical, which is bigger than the Hololens and other AR headsets I have tried, but it still remains one of the biggest downsides to AR. In the demo, I had to move around and wait to counter-attack: after deflecting a blow or six from Kylo, I was given a time-slow opportunity to strike back. When waiting for him to attack, if I rushed to attack nothing seemed to happen. In typical boss-fight fashion, three successful block/hit combinations rendered me the victor – I didn’t see a health bar but this was a demo designed to encourage the user to have a positive experience.

One thing I did notice is that most of what I saw was not particularly elaborate graphically: 2D menus and a reasonable polygon model. Without the need to render the background, relying on what the user is in front of to do this job (Lenovo had it in a specific dark corner for ease of use) this is probably a walk in the park for the hardware in the headset. The lightsaber connects directly to the phone via Bluetooth, which I thought might be a little slow, but I didn’t feel any lag. The lightsaber was calibrated a bit incorrectly, but only by a few degrees. I asked about different lightsabers, such as Darth Maul’s variant, and was told that it there are possibilities in the future for different hardware, although based on what I saw it was unclear if they would implement a Wii-mote type of system with a single controller with a different skin attached. The limit at the time was that the physical lightsaber only emits a blue light for the sensor for now; it does go red, but only when there’s a low battery. Think about that next time you watch Star Wars: red saber means low batteries.

The possibilities for the AR headset could feasibly be endless. The agreement at this time is between Lenovo and Disney Interactive, so there is plenty of Disney IP that could feature in the future. Disney also likes to keep experiences on its platform locked down, so I wonder what the possibilities are for Lenovo to work with other developers and IP down the road. I was told by my Lenovo guide that it is all still very much a development in progress, with the hardware basically done and the software part going to ramp up. The current headset is given the name ‘Mirage’, and most smartphones should offer 3-4 hours of gameplay per charge.

Lenovo Mirage
Headset Mass 470g
Headset Dimensions 209 x 83 x 155 mm
Headset Cameras Dual Motion Tracking Cameras
Headset Buttons Select, Cancel, Menu
Supported Smartphones
as of (9/4)
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 7
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone 6s

Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S3 (?)
Google Pixel XL
Google Pixel
Moto Z

Lightsaber Mass 275g
Lightsaber Dimensions 316 x 47 mm
Package Contents Lenovo Mirage AR Headset
‘Light Sword’ Controller
Direction Finder
Smartphone Holder
Lightning-to-USB Cable
USB-C to USB Cable
2x AA Batteries
5V / 1A Charger and Power Supply

Pre-orders are being taken now, shipments expecting to start in mid-November. US price is listed as $199.99 (without tax) and EU pricing at 299.99 EUR (with tax).

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Woman travel blogger shares reality behind Instagram photo

A glance through Nicola Easterby’s Instagram feed reveals recent jaunts throughout Europe, as well as far-flung trips including Thailand, Vietnam and New Zealand.

But while you might think that the 23-year-old travel blogger from Brisbane’s life looks ideal, she has recently opened up about the not-always-glamorous reality behind her seemingly perfect Instagram snaps.

‘It is so much work, everyone works so, so hard for it,’ Ms Easterby told news.com.au.

‘A lot of people look at Instagram influencers and think, “that’s what I want to do, it looks so easy”. But people don’t realise there is obviously a lot more behind it.

‘If you just do it with the intention of wanting free stuff, you’re not going to get far because you’ll burn out,’ she said.

Nicola Easterby (pictured) is the famous travel blogger and Instagrammer behind Polkadot Passport

Nicola Easterby (pictured) is the famous travel blogger and Instagrammer behind Polkadot Passport

Nicola Easterby (pictured) is the famous travel blogger and Instagrammer behind Polkadot Passport

She recently opened up about the harsh reality of Instagram, whereby people work hard as well as having glamorous lives

She recently opened up about the harsh reality of Instagram, whereby people work hard as well as having glamorous lives

She recently opened up about the harsh reality of Instagram, whereby people work hard as well as having glamorous lives

'It is so much work, everyone works so, so hard for it,' she said

'It is so much work, everyone works so, so hard for it,' she said

‘It is so much work, everyone works so, so hard for it,’ she said – ‘A lot of people look at Instagram influencers and think, “that’s what I want to do, it looks so easy”. But people don’t realise there is obviously a lot more behind it’

The influencer warned that if you're just in it for the 'free stuff', you will more than likely 'burn out' (pictured in Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea)

The influencer warned that if you're just in it for the 'free stuff', you will more than likely 'burn out' (pictured in Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea)

The influencer warned that if you’re just in it for the ‘free stuff’, you will more than likely ‘burn out’ (pictured in Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea)

The Australian woman has been living on the road for four years since getting the travel bug - she set off to travel for just one on a gap year 

The Australian woman has been living on the road for four years since getting the travel bug - she set off to travel for just one on a gap year 

The Australian woman has been living on the road for four years since getting the travel bug – she set off to travel for just one on a gap year 

Ms Easterby regularly speaks about the fact that Instagram can make a travel blogger's life look 'idealistic' (pictured at Cologne Christmas Markets)

Ms Easterby regularly speaks about the fact that Instagram can make a travel blogger's life look 'idealistic' (pictured at Cologne Christmas Markets)

Ms Easterby regularly speaks about the fact that Instagram can make a travel blogger’s life look ‘idealistic’ (pictured at Cologne Christmas Markets)

Instagram and the discrepancy between social media and life is a subject that is close to the young woman’s heart, and one which she has spoken about before on her hugely popular blog, Polkadot Passport:

‘I will be the first to admit that my Instagram feed may make my life look rather idealistic,’ Ms Easterby wrote in a recent post. 

‘However, as I have mentioned many times before, these images do not tell the whole story. This year, my number one goal has been to not live to take pretty photographs, but to live for the stories behind the photographs.’

She then detailed experiences – including losing her camera in Bali and getting stuck in the Japanese countryside – which are somewhat at odds with the photos where everything seems pristine and idyllic.

'Instagram is the ultimate tool for meticulously curating a version of our lives - the version that we want the world to see. Our IG feeds do NOT paint the whole picture of our lives, or even a tiny slither of the picture for that matter,' she wrote on her blog

'Instagram is the ultimate tool for meticulously curating a version of our lives - the version that we want the world to see. Our IG feeds do NOT paint the whole picture of our lives, or even a tiny slither of the picture for that matter,' she wrote on her blog

‘Instagram is the ultimate tool for meticulously curating a version of our lives – the version that we want the world to see. Our IG feeds do NOT paint the whole picture of our lives, or even a tiny slither of the picture for that matter,’ she wrote on her blog

The now 23-year-old (pictured in India) has turned her spontaneous travels into a lucrative career by blogging

The now 23-year-old (pictured in India) has turned her spontaneous travels into a lucrative career by blogging

The now 23-year-old (pictured in India) has turned her spontaneous travels into a lucrative career by blogging

She said she was inspired to go travelling to 'get outside my comfort zone and live an exciting, adventurous life'

She said she was inspired to go travelling to 'get outside my comfort zone and live an exciting, adventurous life'

She said she was inspired to go travelling to ‘get outside my comfort zone and live an exciting, adventurous life’

In another post, Ms Easterby – who started travel blogging by embarking on an adventurous gap year at the age of 19 with the intention of returning to university to complete her photography degree – wrote about how ‘living the dream isn’t always dreamy’.

‘To me, the expression “living the dream” implies a constant state of happiness,’ she wrote on her blog. 

‘The reality is that NONE of us can live on a continual high. That is why I feel the need to tell you that beyond the photos of me lying on a beach with a cocktail in my hand or picnicking beneath the Eiffel tower, there is a lot more to the story that isn’t being told.

‘Instagram is the ultimate tool for meticulously curating a version of our lives – the version that we want the world to see. Our IG feeds do NOT paint the whole picture of our lives, or even a tiny slither of the picture for that matter.

‘We forget that behind every photo, there is a normal human being – a human being who has just as many insecurities, and who goes through just as much pain and just as many bad days as the rest of us,’ the 23-year-old added.

After exploring Europe for a year, the photographer made a decision not to return to university to study (pictured in Israel)

After exploring Europe for a year, the photographer made a decision not to return to university to study (pictured in Israel)

After exploring Europe for a year, the photographer made a decision not to return to university to study (pictured in Israel)

She has now been to 46 countries - and is still living out of a suitcase (pictured in a hot air balloon in Goa, India)

She has now been to 46 countries - and is still living out of a suitcase (pictured in a hot air balloon in Goa, India)

She has now been to 46 countries – and is still living out of a suitcase (pictured in a hot air balloon in Goa, India)

For those want an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: 'Start small but dream big' (pictured in Vietnam)

For those want an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: 'Start small but dream big' (pictured in Vietnam)

For those want an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: ‘Start small but dream big’ (pictured in Vietnam)

Ms Easterby said her adventures are usually planned out months in advance - or organised spontaneously at the last second

Ms Easterby said her adventures are usually planned out months in advance - or organised spontaneously at the last second

Ms Easterby said her adventures are usually planned out months in advance – or organised spontaneously at the last second

She has travelled to more than 46 countries - and still counting! (pictured with a little girl in Guatemala in Central America)

She has travelled to more than 46 countries - and still counting! (pictured with a little girl in Guatemala in Central America)

She has travelled to more than 46 countries – and still counting! (pictured with a little girl in Guatemala in Central America)

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia last month – some four years into her spontaneous travels which morphed into a lucrative career –  Ms Easterby gave a glimpse into her jet-setting adventures on the road. 

‘After a year of studying photography at university, I wasn’t really enjoying the course and was realising that I didn’t really need to study photography in order to pursue this passion of mine,’ she told FEMAIL. 

Ms Easterby has no plans to go home just yet

Ms Easterby has no plans to go home just yet

Ms Easterby has no plans to go home just yet

‘I had always been itching to go travelling, so I decided to take a gap year from university and went on my first solo adventure to Europe.

‘I had initially planned to return to university as I thought that I needed a degree – any degree – to be successful.’

But after exploring the other side of the world for the year, the photographer made a snap decision not to return to studying – and home.

‘I had seriously caught the travel bug, so I put off studying to continue to travel,’ she said.

‘This is when I started Polkadot Passport. I certainly never dreamed that it could amount to a full-time career. 

‘After two years of self-funded travel, my following on my blog and Instagram started to grow and opportunities slowly started popping up. 

‘At this point, I decided that I wasn’t going to go back to normal life – instead, I was going to try make a living from travelling.’

The blogger said she was inspired to go travelling to ‘get outside my comfort zone, open my mind to new things and live the most exciting, adventurous life possible’.

‘After four years of travelling, I really want to start travelling less for myself and for my own experiences. I want to travel with more of a purpose,’ she said. 

‘I still don’t know exactly what that looks like, but I am on a journey of figuring it out. For now, my focus is trying to travel in a more sustainable way, for example investing more in local communities and fighting against animal-based tourism. 

‘I’ve also been bringing along family and friends on my travels so I can share the experiences with people I love, rather than keeping all these amazing experiences I get to have to myself.’

She shares postcard-like snapshots to her Instagram followers (pictured: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand)

She shares postcard-like snapshots to her Instagram followers (pictured: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand)

She shares postcard-like snapshots to her Instagram followers (pictured: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand)

For those who want to leave their 9-5 jobs for an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: 'Set a goal and work towards it'

For those who want to leave their 9-5 jobs for an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: 'Set a goal and work towards it'

For those who want to leave their 9-5 jobs for an adventurous life on the road, Ms Easterby advises: ‘Set a goal and work towards it’

NICOLA’S TIPS FOR TRAVEL BLOGGING

* Start small but dream big. If you want to live an adventurous life but can’t afford a six-month trip across Europe, start off with adventures in your own backyard.

* Be realistic. Realise you have to make sacrifices if you want to travel – and yes, this might mean skipping the daily smashed avo on toast and flat white or buying a new iPhone.

* Set a goal and work hard towards it, and realise that travelling always costs double what you think it will – even when you budget everything.

* Find ways that you can use your skills and earn money as you travel – whether this is running an online business, working in the countries you go to or volunteering in exchange for accommodation to keep costs down.

* Realise you don’t have to be a travel blogger or an Instagrammer to travel the world – there are so many different professions that can open up the doors to travelling, so work to your own strengths and don’t think you have to follow the path that everyone else follows. 

* Be brave. Don’t wait for someone else to come with you. Stepping out of your comfort zone to travel the world will change your life. 

'Be brave. Don't wait for someone else to come with you. Stepping out of your comfort zone to travel the world will change your life,' she said

'Be brave. Don't wait for someone else to come with you. Stepping out of your comfort zone to travel the world will change your life,' she said

‘Be brave. Don’t wait for someone else to come with you. Stepping out of your comfort zone to travel the world will change your life,’ she said

While when she started out, Ms Easterby admitted previously that she was 'working multiple casual jobs and ran a wedding and event photography business in order to fund my travels' (pictured in India)

While when she started out, Ms Easterby admitted previously that she was 'working multiple casual jobs and ran a wedding and event photography business in order to fund my travels' (pictured in India)

While when she started out, Ms Easterby admitted previously that she was ‘working multiple casual jobs and ran a wedding and event photography business in order to fund my travels’ (pictured in India)

However, now the globetrotter said she is 'lucky enough to earn income from my blog and Instagram' 

However, now the globetrotter said she is 'lucky enough to earn income from my blog and Instagram' 

However, now the globetrotter said she is ‘lucky enough to earn income from my blog and Instagram’ 

While when she started out, Ms Easterby admitted previously that she was ‘working multiple casual jobs and ran a wedding and event photography business in order to fund my travels’. 

But, these days she said she is ‘lucky enough to earn income from my blog and Instagram’.

‘Most of the time when I travel, all of my expenses will be paid by the client I am working with. Funnily enough, this means I actually save a lot more money when I am travelling versus if I was at home paying rent.’

The 23-year-old woman has certainly lived to tell some tales - from catching the wrong train to getting lost in another city

The 23-year-old woman has certainly lived to tell some tales - from catching the wrong train to getting lost in another city

The 23-year-old woman has certainly lived to tell some tales - from catching the wrong train to getting lost in another city

The 23-year-old woman has certainly lived to tell some tales - from catching the wrong train to getting lost in another city

The 23-year-old woman has certainly lived to tell some tales – from catching the wrong train to getting lost in another city

The 23-year-old blogger is now planning to settle in New Zealand for a while to have a break from hitting the road

The 23-year-old blogger is now planning to settle in New Zealand for a while to have a break from hitting the road

The 23-year-old blogger is now planning to settle in New Zealand for a while to have a break from hitting the road

'Travelling will always be in my blood and I can't imagine ever stopping altogether,' Ms Easterby said

'Travelling will always be in my blood and I can't imagine ever stopping altogether,' Ms Easterby said

‘Travelling will always be in my blood and I can’t imagine ever stopping altogether,’ Ms Easterby said

‘Definitely I’m not ready to “settle down” in the traditional sense… I think it will be quite a few more years before I am ready for that,’ the blogger added 

The young woman admitted she has no plans to stop travelling anytime soon.

‘Travelling will always be in my blood and I can’t imagine ever stopping altogether,’ she revealed. 

‘However, I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past year and I am ready to be a little more settled. For me, this means having a base in one place and coming back regularly between my travels. 

‘Definitely I’m not ready to “settle down” in the traditional sense… I think it will be quite a few more years before I am ready for that.’

To follow Nicola Easterby’s adventures, please visit Polkadot Passport on her blog and Instagram

Google releases SDK for augmented reality apps on Android

<!–Google releases SDK for augmented reality apps on Android | InfoWorld




Google releases SDK for augmented reality apps on Android

Google

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Looking to mix physical and digital spaces, Google has released a beta SDK for augmented reality, dubbed ARCore, that is focused on bringing augmented reality (AR) to Android smartphones.

ARCore is built on Google’s Tango AR technology. Developers can build new AR apps or enhance existing ones with AR capabilities. (Apple’s forthcoming iOS 11 has augmented reality APIs as well, called ARKit.)

ARCore offers native APIs for motion tracking, environmental understanding, and light estimation. These capabilities let apps use the phone camera to observe points in a room and motion-sensor data, as well as detect horizontal surfaces and light virtual objects in ways to match their surroundings to make their appearance more realistic.

ARCore works with Java and OpenGL as well as with the Unreal and Unity AR technologies. 












Microsoft To Usher In ‘Mixed Reality’ Technology On Oct. 17 | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Amid all the talk about virtual reality and augmented reality, Microsoft (MSFT) wants consumers to embrace “mixed reality,” its take on VR technology.

Microsoft’s personal-computer hardware partners will start selling mixed-reality headsets on Oct. 17 when Microsoft debuts the next version of its Windows 10 operating system, dubbed the Fall Creators Update.

Microsoft offered details about its new operating system and associated PC hardware at the IFA consumer electronics show Friday in Berlin.

Mixed-reality headsets for Windows 10 PCs are on the way from Acer, Asus, Dell Technologies (DVMT), HP Inc. (HPQ) and Lenovo. The headsets will start at $299. Bundles with a headset and motion controllers will start at $399 and will be compatible with new PC models starting at $499, Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Klipman said in a blog post.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets promise virtual-reality experiences at a lower price and easier setup than current VR headsets like Facebook‘s (FB) Oculus Rift. The Windows headsets also incorporate sensor technology that Microsoft developed for its HoloLens augmented-reality headsets.


IBD’S TAKE: Microsoft stock has an IBD Composite Rating of 94, meaning it has outperformed 94% of stocks in key metrics over the past 12 months. For more analysis of Microsoft, visit the IBD Stock Checkup.


Applications for the mixed-reality headsets include games, education and video entertainment in immersive, 360-degree virtual environments.

“We are working with an incredible set of partners to bring the most immersive experiences to the Windows Store,” Klipman said. “Mixed Reality is the future, and we want everyone on the journey with us.”

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