The Metaverse Is Coming And It’s A Very Big Deal

By Cathy Hackl

Imagine walking down the street. Suddenly, you think of a product you need. Immediately next to you, a vending machine appears, filled with the product and variations you were thinking of. You stop, pick an item from the vending machine, it’s shipped to your house, and then continue on your way. 

Next, imagine a husband and wife. The husband offers to go to the store but the wife can’t remember the name and type of product she needs. Her brain-computer interface device recognizes it for her and transmits a link to her husband’s device, along with what stores and aisles it’s located in. 

Welcome to the metaverse, alternate digital realities where people work, play, and socialize. You can call it the metaverse, the mirror world, the AR Cloud, the Magicverse, the Spatial internet, or Live Maps, but one thing is for certain, it’s coming and it’s a big deal. 

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Facebook Developing Neural Wristband to Support Augmented Reality Glasses

The Facebook AR-supporting wearable device will be capable of detecting nerve signals to interpret complex hand gestures.

By Reuters

  • This marks as a step-up for Facebook in a hotly contested race 
  • Facebook had said smart glasses would need to rely on devices like phones
  • A wristband would be able to serve as a platform for computing

Wearers of the band would be able to interact with the virtual world with their finger movements.

Facebook said on Thursday it is developing a wristband that would be able to control its augmented reality (AR) glasses that are expected to be launched this year.

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Why Accenture lists ‘digital twins’ as top-five technology trend in 2021

By George Lawton

A digital twin technology is one that creates a virtual replication of a real-world entity, like a plane, manufacturing plant, or supply chain.

Manufacturing companies have increasingly used digital twin technologies to accelerate digital transformation initiatives for product development, and the tech has grown in popularity over the past five years as legacy manufacturers look for ways to keep up with innovative startups like Tesla.

The idea has been around since 2002, when it was coined by Michael Grieves, then a professor at the University of Detroit, to describe a new way of thinking about coordinating product lifecycle management. The concept stumbled along for many years, owing to limits around integrating processes and data across engineering, manufacturing, and quality teams. But it has begun picking up steam, thanks to improvements in data integration, AI, and the internet of things, which extend the benefits of digital transformation efforts into the physical world.

In 2019, Gartner suggested that 75% of organizations would be implementing digital twins within the next year. This year, Accenture has positioned digital twins as one of the top five strategic technology trends to watch in 2021. The reason is that businesses are finally figuring out how to scale these projects across a fleet of projects, rather than a single one-off, Accenture Technology Labs managing director Michael Biltz said.

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Almost a fifth of Facebook employees are now working on VR and AR: report

Nearly 10,000 employees in the Reality Labs division

By Sam Byford

Facebook has nearly 10,000 employees in its division working on augmented reality and virtual reality devices, according to a report in The Information based on internal organizational data. The number means the Reality Labs division accounts for almost a fifth of the people working at Facebook worldwide.

This suggests that Facebook has been significantly accelerating its VR and AR efforts. As UploadVR noted in 2017, the Oculus VR division accounted for over a thousand employees at a time when Facebook’s headcount was 18,770 overall, indicating a percentage somewhere north of five percent. 

Since then, Facebook has shifted its VR focus away from Oculus Rift-style tethered headsets by releasing the Oculus Quest and Quest 2, which are standalone wireless devices that don’t require a PC. The $299 Quest 2 was preordered five times as much as its predecessor, with developers seeing a boost in sales of their existing titles.

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Inside Facebook Reality Labs: The Next Era of Human-Computer Interaction

TL;DR: In today’s post — the first in a series exploring the future of human-computer interaction (HCI) — we’ll begin to unpack the 10-year vision of a contextually-aware, AI-powered interface for augmented reality (AR) glasses that can use the information you choose to share, to infer what you want to do, when you want to do it.

Imagine a world where a lightweight, stylish pair of glasses could replace your need for a computer or smartphone. You’d have the ability to feel physically present with friends and family — no matter where in the world they happened to be — and contextually-aware AI to help you navigate the world around you, as well as rich 3D virtual information within arm’s reach. Best of all, they’d let you look up and stay present in the world around you rather than pulling your attention away to the periphery in the palm of your hand. This is a device that wouldn’t force you to choose between the real world and the digital world.

It may sound like science fiction, but it’s a future that Facebook is building inside our labs. And today, we’ll share our vision for how people will interact with that future.

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The Future of Vision: Augmented reality contact lenses will make you bionic

Augmented reality contact lenses have been “around the corner” for years. They’re finally set to arrive.

By Jeremy Kaplan

A decade ago, Google’s ambitions seemed unchecked: The company would design self-piloting cars through Waymo, sponsor moonbases, and even conquer death. One of the company’s plans: Smart contact lenses to measure the glucose level of your tears — and perhaps help reduce the damage caused by diabetes. “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies, which are helping to refine our prototype,” wrote Google’s Brian Otis and Babak Parvizback in 2014.

Seven years later, the company’s ego remains just as inflated, but Verily’s smart contact lenses are nowhere to be seen; the side project of Google parent Alphabet was officially abandoned in 2018. Yet smart lenses are finally becoming a reality, thanks to the efforts of countless scientists and engineers. And the future of this intriguing technology is nothing like what you might expect.

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Fashion Scoops : Dior is inviting people try on sneakers via augmented reality

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Dior’s new Snapchat lens dedicated to the B27sneakers

The reality of trying on shoes in a store?

Risk of embarrassing sock holes; risk of foot odor, or worse, risk of visible butt cleavage when bending over to tie up laces.

So how about augmented reality? Simply point your smart phone at your feet and instantly see how the shoes look, no matter where you are or what’s on your feet at the moment.

Dior is bringing the latter reality to life with a new Snapchat lens for its B27 men’s sneakers.

Launching today, it allows users to quickly try on six variations, and purchase directly from the Dior channel on Snapchat or on Dior.com.

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The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs

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The AR goggles will allow military canine handlers to issue commands remotely.

 

The US Army is trialing a new technology that could “fundamentally change how military canines are deployed in the future” — a pair of augmented reality goggles for dogs.

Dogs are put to many uses in modern militaries, from detecting explosives and searching for targets to accompanying infantry patrols in dangerous areas. Usually, handlers issue commands to their dogs using hand signals or laser pointers, but these techniques require line of sight with the dog, limiting how far canines can stray from their humans.

AR reality goggles, though, could let military dogs operate at a distance without handlers losing control. The goggles have a built-in camera that transmits live footage remotely, and a heads-up display that can be used to show commands to the dogs. A dog could be directed to search a specific location, for example, while their handler stays hidden.

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Apple is going big into AR technology after acquiring Dream Works’ former project spaces

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 KEY POINTS

  • Apple is serious in its push for augmented reality technologies
  • The company recently bought a small VR startup
  • The results and benefits of the acquisition remain unknown at the moment

Apple recently acquired a virtual reality experience company, signaling its intention to further its push for augmented reality.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on some head-mounted display devices for AR use, such as the so-called “Apple Glass.” Various patents and the advancements seen via ARKit, as well as other technologies present on the iPhone and iPad Pro, show that the company is serious in its AR push.

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How virtual reality overcame its ‘puke problem’

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For years, VR devices caused motion sickness – known as the “barfogenic zone”. Have engineers finally solved it, asks Colin Barras, or just replaced it with a different kind of queasiness?

Back in the early 1990s, virtual reality was poised to revolutionise gaming. Games giant Sega, makers of the hugely popular Genesis console, had just unveiled the Sega VR project. At the project’s core lay a headset that coupled state-of-the-art graphics with movement tracking software to immerse gamers in a rich and vibrant virtual world. At least, that was the plan.

The reality of Sega’s virtual reality fell some way short. The biggest problem was that the onscreen graphics didn’t keep pace with the gamer’s head movements, triggering a form of motion sickness. Thomas Piantanida, then principal scientist of SRI International’s Virtual Perception Program, test drove a prototype in 1993 and came up with a name for the vomit-inducing phenomenon. The headset’s graphical output, he said, lay in the “barfogenic zone”. By 1994, Sega had quietly shelved the project.

Virtual reality is back in the news this week, as Facebook has just forked out $2 billion for Oculus VR. The social media giant is betting that immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday life, which raises the question of whether the technology has managed to escape the barfogenic zone during the last 20 years.

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Study demonstrates feasibility of hologram technology in liver tumor ablation

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Data from one of the first clinical uses of augmented reality guidance with electromagnetically tracked tools shows that the technology may help doctors quickly, safely, and accurately deliver targeted liver cancer treatments, according to a research abstract presented during a virtual session of the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting on June 14. The technology provides a three-dimensional holographic view inside a patient’s body, allowing interventional radiologists to accurately burn away tumors while navigating to avoid organs and other critical structures.

“Converting traditional two-dimensional imaging into three-dimensional holograms which we can then utilize for guidance using augmented reality helps us to better view a patient’s internal structures as we navigate our way to the point of treatment,” said Gaurav Gadodia, MD, lead author of the study and radiology resident at Cleveland Clinic. “While conventional imaging like ultrasound and CT is safe, effective, and remains the gold-standard of care, augmented reality potentially improves the visualization of the tumor and surrounding structures, increasing the speed of localization and improving the treating-physician’s confidence.”

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