WHAT YOU MISSED AT AUGMENTED WORLD EXPO [AWE] 2017

Jeff Poe Blog, Industry Trends

I REJECT YOUR REALITY AND AUGMENT IT WITH MY OWN


It’s time to create NEW realities at the 2017 Augmented World Expo [AWE].

Just a rock’s throw away from way too many In-N-Out Burger stands in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Augmented World Expo showcased the newest reality changers. ODG, Intel, Daqri, and Microsoft set the stage with their newest offerings for Augmented and Mixed Reality hardware.

Software companies also brought their best solutions to help coders, animators, and creators develop winning experiences.
While you could certainly pick up some state-of-the-art tech for big dollars at this year’s event; there were a few low-cost game changers that shined above the rest. So, let’s recap this year’s event. First, you may need a little assistance, so I’ve built in an acronym key and short definition list.


KEY

AR – Augmented Reality

A device assisted encounter that enhances the viewer’s perception of an existing scene or object by supplementing it with computer created content.

VR – Virtual Reality

A single user encounter which immerses the viewer into an alternate reality or world, replacing the existing reality with a computer based one.

MR – Mixed Reality

An overlay device which adds an additional layer of content onto your vision of a space or environment.

XR – Extended Reality

The umbrella term which includes AR, VR, and MR into a single definition. Basically, a way to say all three with one acronym.

BLE – BlueTooth Low Energy

A communication link between mobile devices allowing for data or inputs to exchange in real time.

DOF – Depth of Field

The focus or focal abilities of a lens or device.

LF – Light Field

Improving DOF to add realism to an AR or MR experience.

FOV – Field of View

The width of your overlay within an MR experience.

Tethered

Devices which are attached to a computer using a cable, the opposite of being untethered.

SDK – Software Development Kit

Beta testers, coders, and software engineers use these tools to design encounters and content for various hardware and software.

Poly – Polygons

LowPoly and HighPoly are common 3D animation terms referencing the smoothness of objects created in 3D programs. The higher the “poly” count, the more realistic it will appear.

APP – Application

You know that. 😀


XR and Everything in Between

It’s projected that XR will become a $50 billion-dollar industry by 2020. That is a lot of new realities to consider. While VR has created immersive experiences, MR is the next big thing.

Companies like Microsoft, ODG, and Daqri are pumping big dollars into their hardware, promising a future filled with multi-tasking solutions that keep you at attention and remove the face-down-mobile-phone-neck-pains from our lives. Daqri had an impressive untethered, full-helmet solution that offered the widest FOV and highest resolution, while making you feel like RoboCop. This is the ultimate MR device.

The 3D was so crisp, I felt like Luke Skywalker looking at a hologram of the Death Star for the first time. ODG introduced their latest MR goggles, the revised R7, and the new R8 and R9. These devices are going to change the way everyone sees MR. With an approachable price point and crisp visual resolution, ODG has reemerged as a leader in the MR field.

For those who wear glasses, like myself and a large portion of the population, you’ll be happy to know that you can get custom-made RX single vision lenses made for these devices. Finally, right?!


AR Evolution; Best Practices of XR

Augmented Reality has grown up quite a bit. Companies like Vuforia have taken AR to new heights and honed in on the best AR use cases and abilities. Long gone are the days of jagged, LowPoly 3D objects and info boards.

The AR sector is finding new ways to improve realism with better lock-on tricks that increase reliability. While many solutions still rely on an app-enabled tablet, the future looks to blend in camera-enabled VR headsets for enhancement. Intel’s Project-Alloy was the best example of XR at the event. It starts with a VR headset, which contained a camera-enabled viewer that is untethered. Everything is built right into the headset.

While still in the prototype phase, I was impressed by the blend of AR/MR. Intel has a real winner on its hands here.

There were so many great tracks and discussions about future products and best practices. One impressive forward-thinking trick is coming in the form of LF technology from Avegant. Avegant has one of the most elegant AR headsets on the market. See, one of the issues with AR is that it doesn’t represent the natural focus capabilities of the human eye.

We can shift our focus from near to far and everything in-between. So why can’t our augmented experiences do the same? That’s easier said than done, but Avegant has the solution.

By tracking your eye movements within a headset, the user can now shift focus, giving it a more natural look and feel. That is the difference between good AR and stellar AR!


Game Changers at AWE2017

Finally, we come to the game changers. While you would expect to see some big names in this paragraph, it was two smaller startups that took the show, in my opinion. The first was a company that can turn you into a 3D person, for real! Sort of. Itsme.com will take your full-body photo and create a real 3D version of you. We got to play in a bar fight simulator as ourselves and, it was fun! No longer do we have to select from a short list of avatars: itsme.com is here.

DigiBit is a small family-owned company, which consists of Dad, Mom, and three children. This nuclear family enterprise is about to introduce the world to a cost-effective little device that will turn your Daydream, Google Cardboard, or any VR experience into some next-level schtuff. The DigiBit is a small pair of wristband BLE discs, containing magical accelerometers, so VR can now be coded and controlled through simple movements. Want to fly like a superhero and control how you move through the skies? Now you can. Look for DigiBit on Kickstarter and support this awesome addon.



If you have any questions (or just need help with your acronyms) feel free to reach out to us here! Until the next show, have a stellar day!

BTW: If you find yourself in San Jose, CA, be sure to stop by Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food. We had dinner in actual reality, and it was awesome.