Archive for August, 2009

Augmented reality (AR) is a view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with  virtual computer-generated imagery . AR, originally coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. This post will explore the applications and possibilities of such a (AR) reality.

Augmented Reality

The internet is now going to be smeared all over everything, everywhere you go information  is turned inside out and in the very near future it’ll be worse.  Augmented Reality is in some ways just another version of the web; a web applied, through novel interfaces.

How AR works

Emerging AR applications use two basic approaches:

In one, users hold up a specially coded sheet (which they can print) in front of a webcam or video camera and computer monitor.

Digital encoding is translated and displayed in a moving, 3D holographic form that can be rotated and otherwise manipulated.

The second, and perhaps hotter, way uses an iPhone 3GS, Google Android or similar new smart device to view the physical environment, say a city street or subway station.

Multiple layers of information are then overlaid on the phone’s screen, providing specific information about everything from available real estate, nearby bars and restaurants – even the identity and background of passersby.

augmented reality

Current uses of AR

1. Magazine cover/tech explainer: Popular Science and GE

Last month, PopSci and partner GE claimed to publish the first interactive 3D cover magazine cover. Three windmills pop off the page, build themselves and start twirling.

2. Interactive card and Website: Topps

Every kid’s dream – favorite stars come to life right on the card! Collector giant Topps does just that, using AR on select Topps 2009 baseball cards. Stars pitch, field and bat in 3D – like a mini video game on your desk.

3. e-tail: Zugara

For all its convenience, online clothes shopping frustrates in one key area: seeing how merchandise looks being worn. Similarly, online merchants fret about low browser/buyer ratios.

Enter online retailer Zugara, whose “Webcam Social Shopper” app lets users select clothes, print a special ”marker” app and “hold” up articles of clothing up in front of themselves as it tracks their movements.

I found a website that has 35 AR examples. I think these examples which I have given can be used in SA, especially since the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held here.

Future uses

In the near future marketers may consider using AR to promote a new product via an interactive, web-based AR application. In the medical field AR may assist in complex tasks such as surgery.

For example, labels can be displayed on parts of a system to clarify operating instructions for a mechanic who is performing maintenance on the system.  A doctor could observe the fetus inside the mother’s womb. This is to be characterised as Mixed reality.

In the architecture industry AR can augment be employed to virtually resurrect destroyed historic buildings as well as simulate planned construction projects.

With AR, users can rebuild ruins, buildings, or even landscapes as they previously existed. Combined with a wireless network, the amount of data displayed is limitless.

The effectiveness of navigation devices and enhance for the purpose of maintaining industrial plants for a variety of applications. These types of devices can also be useful for airplane pilots, too.

AR can be applied to military and emergency services as wearable systems to provide information such as instructions, maps, enemy locations, and fire cells. In the fields of hydrology, ecology, and geology, AR can be used to display an interactive analysis of terrain characteristics.

Game Changer

AR Game Changer

Game Changer

In centuries past, the ability to conjure moving, talking 3D objects and people in thin air was exactly the sort of showboating sure to get you named court magician.

Now AR allows you to conjure similar dazzling and useful results, with decidedly less risk.

The notion of layering digital images and sounds is like creating a physical world in a new computer-enhanced experience.

All of this is a complete game changer for any industry, 3D technology will capitalise on everything. What future holds is unknown but extremely exciting… keep your eyes and ears open for things happening in the new media era.  This is futureye  signing out.

Post updated and corrected on the 9th of Nov 2009

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Layar

Layar

On open platforms like Android we’ve already seen developments, including things like Layar, an augmented reality app that describes the world around you, and TwittARound, an app which shows you nearby tweets.

Layar Reality Browser  is a free application on mobile phones that uses the camera display view to show real-time geocoded digital information around you.  When you load Layar on your mobile phone’s camera view, the application adds “content layers” on top of the camera image.

Layar announced the addition of 3D capabilities to its augmented reality browser platform. With 3D, developers can tag real-life objects with 3D text, place 3D objects in real-world space, and create multi-sensory experiences.

Uses of Layar

Worldwide features include hotel-finding/booking, event ticket buying, the world’s first LBS graphic novel, user-submitted celebrity sightings, restaurants, a reality quiz game,  Google local search, Wikipedia articles and Yelp.

Layer apps in Netherlands include real estate prices, tourist points of interest (hotels, zoos, museums, etc), places to park, history tours, skating spots, rain data, post offices, banks, Mazda dealers and business listings.

In Japan, there are app layers to find a bus stop, train stations, refueling stops, hotels/lodging, tourist spots, movies, theaters, plays, and stores.

In Seattle you can find a nearby bus stop. In Paris and New York City, viewers can see ‘Poetry in Motion” related to place.  There’s a “Art Walk” app layer for Dusseldorf Germany. You can get information about trails at Purdue University.

Other interesting uses include mobile coupons, University Tours, area-rating, FlcikAR photos and TweetMondo Twitter search nearby.

Imagine the uses we could have for SA? Particularly now that we are planning the 2010 FIFA World Cup. If Layar was available in SA than fans from other countries can find their way to restaurants, bus stops, other stadiums etc.

Face detection

One initiative, AU facial recognition, is linked to new technologies such as like Facial recognition software (FRS) which can work easily with apps such as Layar.

FRS will basically enable anyone with a mobile phone to take a photograph and the software will automatically identify the person by matching 3D models of faces.

This technique captures the shape of the face and other distinctive features like the contour of the eyes, the nose, and the chin enabling us anyone to dig up information on someone.

Swedish software and design company The Astonishing Tribe is developing an AU concept called Augmented ID that “sees” people and tells you who they are.

In basic terms, people who have online identities can be photographed and their online id account will give you access to their online personal data and history.

I think this will work well when police men are searching for criminals.This would be a game changer in a country where it is filled with fraudsters and wanted criminals.

This is something that is new, it seems almost too futuristic to be real but believe me this will revolutionise how we communicate.

Limitations

However,  I think these devices/applications could exclude those who are not part of the online world. What happens to those who don’t have access to internet, let alone have an online identity?

Do they immediately become online John Doe?  But what happens if online identities clash or their similar online identities or brands or companies out there? What then?

What if someone hacks your online identity (refer to my previous blog post) and misuses the information? Perhaps tries to frame someone else. Matters of privacy-how secure is this software?

Future Possibilities

There are tons of possibilities with such initiatives which could change the way we take pictures, the way we collect and gather information on people, the way online identity and reality can shift.

This can change new media strategies in terms of multimedia and interactive platforms such as mobile, online, video and radio. Of course, implementing these types of initiatives can be challenging, especially in developing countries, but not impossible.  This Futureye signing out…

Post updated and corrected on 9th Nov 2009.

Hacking and Cyber attacking

Hacking and Cyber attacking

As you know by now, a few social networking sites (Twitter and Facebook) suffered temporary shut downs during the course of last week due to cyber attacks. Users worldwide experienced the attacks as they came in a number of waves.

I googled and found that Co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, had posted an update on Twitter’s blog. Apparently, Twitter has had a few cyber attacks and they are still ongoing by .

Yet Twitter is in denial… Though Stone refuses to speculate on the motivation behind them, he does note that they appear to be “geopolitical” in their nature.

Not only did Twitter’s main service go down, these attacks forced it to shut down many of its API services which crippled many of the services built on top of Twitter’s platform.

It is also said that similar attacks also targeted Facebook, LiveJournal, Blogger and YouTube…This is much like a terrorism attack but on cyber space. But this could have enormous implications for the future.

Cyber terrorism

What exactly led to Twitter’s shutdown on Thursday is still being debated in security circles and across the Web. However, security experts say that coordinated cyber attacks were aimed at silencing a Georgian blogger critical of Russian actions against his country.

Facebook’s chief security officer Max Kelly said the simultaneous attacks were aimed at a user known as “Cyxymu” who had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and other affected sites.

They said the attackers first sent out a wave of spam which appeared to have come from “Cyxymu,” a technique intended to discredit a user by making him appear to be the source of large amounts of junk email.

Then, the hackers launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack designed to overwhelm a website’s servers with communications requests.

The last major cyber attack, driven by MyDoom, was Windows malware from 2004. … If you think that governments don’t use the Internet to knock out their enemies, clearly you haven’t been paying attention. Russians already successfully attacked Estonia’s Internet infrastructure in 2007.

Warning

The key point here is that obviously that the attacks intensified almost tenfold from what we were experiencing last week.

Social media sites, are susceptible to spear phishing, in which hackers send targeted messages masquerading as notices from legitimate organizations or people.

This makes cyber security is a major priority. Get tips on how to avoid being cyber attacked.

I think, if there aren’t any by now, there should be some anti-cyber attack law. This can reduce such dilemmas, before there’s a serious case on our heads like the previous Iran or China case.

If social networking sites are hacked who’ll be able to inform us if any news breaks? Most news organisations and users worldwide are depending on them.

This causes a great deal of questions and media houses and organisations ned to create strategies on how to combat such attacks and be completely ready for such events.

But I’m a bit thankful that Twitter and other social networking sites have experienced this and can now prepare for the future. Futureye signing out.

Google

Google

Apparently, within the next two weeks Google is planning to release a new version of Google Chrome that will include the ability to sync bookmarks between different computers.

“The synchronisation will be managed through a Google account”, said software engineer on the Chrome team, Tim Steele in a mailing list posting on Friday.

Sync or synchronisation is an act of causing software to operate simultaneously. So Google wants to synchronise Chrome with bookmarking software, much like our favourite bookmarking site del.icio.us.com

Google sees this venture as far more than just updating a list of links. In fact, it’ll be using the Google Talk (gtalk) infrastructure to handle the service.

Synchronizing will help one instance of Chrome to behave more like another, for example being able to retrieve more easily the address of a website that a user already visited on another computer

However Peter Kasting, another Chrome programmer, would’ve liked Chrome to have “history/visited link/omnibox syncing than bookmarks,” he said in a posting. Now if they do sync passwords and browser history, it’ll be quite a risk.

chrome_logo

Privacy?

Now I have not used Google Chrome yet (so this not making a promo for it because they’re not paying me) but the issues of privacy are quite pertinent.

There are millions of users that are already storing information via search history on Google’s servers. With Chrome’s synchronization feature, however, you would also store a complete record of all of your comings and going on other parts of the Internet on Google’s servers.

Not so long again I discovered that there are search engines, like Dutch based search engine ixquick, that do not store data.

I’m sure you’re thinking this is not new. Indeed it isn’t, in fact there are companies that do the same as Google Chrome, such as the likes of Xmarks, Bookmarksync, Netvous etc. However, what is important to think about is how this will affect us in future and what is means for future innovations.

Core message

This week’s post on Chrome raises some interesting pointers. In a networked personal and business computing environment, users want to be able to enjoy a similar experience regardless of the computer or device being used.

Google Chrome browser is Google’s first step in the direction of creating an interface not just for the web and computing.

The idea is that if more users will access their data directly from the Internet as opposed to a computer?s hard drive, then Google will provide both the interface (Chrome) and Operating System (Chrome OS) that will run on many devices.

In doing so, Google is going head to head with Microsoft and Apple ? not just in the browser market but the OS market too.

The beauty of Google Chrome

It is a unique system that provides real-time automatic bookmark synchronization between all your different browsers, computers, and operating systems.

Add a bookmark to Internet Explorer at work, and it will automatically be sent to your Firefox browser at home and your Safari browser on your Mac!

Moreover I read that it supports Unicode, so it works for bookmarks in all languages and it encrypts your bookmarks so you can securely access them anywhere in the world on any PC or via your PDA, mobile devices, RSS feeds, and publish your favorites using JavaScript.

This can change the way we deal with computers and our work. Personally, I think it could be very useful to students since we move around doing research papers, essays etc.

But then one could ask who needs another hyper-responsive utility just for synchronizing bookmarks or browser history lists when we’ve go delicious.com?

Is Google Chrome pushing a hidden agenda? What I do know is that I’ll be watching Google like a hawk and see when it officially becomes of their plans. Futureye signing out.

Post updated and corrected 30 September 2009