Emoji-based Reactions an alternative to the Facebook Like button
Facebook has finally revealed its alternative to the "like" button, as part of two different ways the social network is hoping to change the way its users interact with each other. A test for "Reactions," emoji-based responses to Facebook posts, is underway in two countries, with Facebook also confirming it is building on top of its existing virtual reality work, by attempting to develop it's own augmented reality version of the social service.
HoloLens Development Edition to cost $3,000, available for pre-order
Microsoft is preparing to ship developer kits for the HoloLens, its attempt at an augmented reality headset, the software company revealed during today's Windows 10 devices event today. The HoloLens Development Edition will be made available to purchase in the first quarter of next year, priced at $3,000 per kit, with Microsoft starting to accept applications for the headset's development kit from later today.
Up to $100,000, two HoloLens units offered to five research projects
Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."
Dual 5MP cameras in Moverio Pro BT-2000 headset provides depth sensing
Epson is continuing to work on its own attempt at Google Glass-style eyewear, with an update to its Moverio headset. The Moverio Pro BT-2000 improves upon last year's model, with the device now including a five-megapixel stereo camera with depth sensing, as well as a new inertial measurement unit, allowing the headset to create more accurate augmented reality images than earlier models were capable of.
Augmented reality HoloLens hardware may change, but likely to offer same display range
Microsoft's HoloLens is unlikely to have a wider field of view for its augmented reality display when it eventually reaches consumers, an executive has confirmed. The smaller section of the helmet where the AR content is visible, leaving a large peripheral area where there isn't any overlay, will most likely remain the same in terms of size and position, despite receiving complaints and comments from people who have tried out the device in tests and at major events.
May be part of rumored Maps revamp, offer AR options to street-level views
Apple has bought out the assets and technology of Volkswagen-created augmented reality (AR) firm Metaio, which developed AR-enhanced business and product-oriented interactive software for websites and companies. The acquisition is not the first of Apple's buyouts of AR firms, which use live video from cameras and overlay graphics or information to supplement what can be seen -- from instantly translating a sign into one's native language to noting the business hours and ratings of a business.
Augmented reality HoloLens headset can run Windows 10 apps
HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset, also received some attention at the Build keynote, among updates to Windows 10. A brief demonstration showed how the headset could be used in industry for visualization and management of complex systems, as well as how it handles running Windows 10 apps, taking into account the available 3D space.
SmartEyeglass headset shipping in march, costs $840
Sony is continuing where the Google Glass headset left off, by putting its own augmented reality headset on sale. The developer edition, model number SED-E1, of SmartEyeglass has become open to pre-order in the United Kingdom and Germany with sales in Japan the United States, and six other countries coming soon, with Sony expecting to ship the $840 head-mounted device in March.
Major investment made in augmented reality company using eye projection system
A start-up working on augmented reality technology has managed to secure $542 million in its latest round of funding, with the collection of investors led by Google. Magic Leap, which is apparently creating its own augmented reality glasses, will also receive extra guidance from the search company, with Android and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai joining the company's board, with head of corporate development Don Harrison also joining as a board observer.
Head-mounted Google Glass competitor goes on sale
Augmented reality device manufacturer Vuzix has put its own smart headwear on sale to the public, beating Google Glass to a general release. The M100 Smart Glasses, initially shown by the company late last year and previously only sold as part of a developer kit, takes after the Google device in providing a large amount of smartphone-like behavior into a head-mounted display.
Google joins Apple in returning product manufacturing stateside
Google's high-profile augmented reality Glass eyewear is to be made in Santa Clara, reports the Financial Times. Google is said to be partnering with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn on the hardware, though Foxconn will be overseeing the operations in Santa Clara. Google is also keen to closely oversee the manufacture of the prototypes through to the production versions in order to maintain tight quality standards.
Vuzix 1200AR now shipping, delivers high definition AR for $1499
Vuzix has launched its 1200AR augmented reality wearable display, aimed at professionals as well as enthusiasts. The device gives users a wide array of customization options to ensure the best fit and optimal clarity. It also creates the effect of viewing a 75-inch display from 10 feet away in up to 720p at 60Hz.
Potential Google Glass rival aimed at concerts, sports
Microsoft appears to be working on its own version of Project Glass. A patent application filed at the USPTO shows a pair of glasses with an augmented reality display covering part of the field of view, though instead of being a general purpose item as Google's Glass aims to be, Microsoft's version focusses on only one specific purpose: live events.
Patent portfolio includes pattern evaluation, augmented reality
According to the Russian arm of Forbes Magazine, Google is close to a deal to purchase pattern and facial recognition firm Viewdle for more than $30 million dollars. The deal would net Google a large patent portfolio, focused on image recognition and augmented reality technology, such as that used to automatically tag photos or unlock a device based on a user's face.
Augmented reality system uses symbol-clad book, Move controller
The augmented reality book system showed at the Sony E3 keynote in June is gearing up for a holiday release. Wonderbook for the PlayStation 3 will come out as a bundle including everything that the system needs to work on the console and the first title using the technology, the Book of Spells by the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling.
Professor wearing permanent digital eye glass writes about attack
Staff at a McDonald's restaurant in Paris allegedly attacked a man for using a wearable computer, according to a blog post by the victim. Dr. Steve Mann, creator of the EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, claims staff members of the fast food chain attempted to pull the augmented reality device from his head, despite it being permanently attached to his head, although it was not explained why the attack took place.
Improved augmented reality system to aid in product design
Canon has previewed its Mixed Reality (MR) augmented-reality system in Japan. Billed as a product design tool, it allows users to wear display-equipped eyewear to see and interact with a virtual object. A physical object is also used for positional reference and tactile feedback, adding to the perception that the object is real.
New apps attempt to differentiate Lumia line
Nokia is still in the beginning stages of its smartphone transformation, which focuses on the Windows Phone-equipped Lumia lineup. The Finnish company did not bring any new hardware to CTIA this week, however representatives did allow Electronista to take an early look at several of its Windows Phone apps, including the augmented-reality utility City Lens, that aim to differentiate the Lumia series from other smartphone platforms and other devices in the Windows Phone realm.
AiRScouter head mounted display due in August
Brother is making an upgraded version of its AiRScouter head mounted display glasses. The WD-100G with lenses and WD-100A without lenses offers USB connectivity and an updated design compared to the previous model.
Microsoft demos blend physical and digital worlds
Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie unveiled several new technologies that blue the line between physical and digital reality at the fifth annual TechForum gathering at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. The innovations included the latest iteration of the holographic projection systems for the desktop, an augmented reality mirror, and a low-cost lamplike device that turns any surface into a shared VR environment. The devices could find application in areas as diverse as education, gaming and business.
Sony PS Vita launch titles for Europe revealed
Sony has announced the launch titles for European PAL versions of its PlayStation Vita quad-core handheld gaming console. When the device ships on February 22 in Europe it will arrive with twelve titles, with some must-have titles among them. Sony also used its London launch to demo the cutting-edge augmented reality capabilities of the PS Vita in a video (embedded below).
App on sale for a limited time
FutureTap, who acquired the travel guide and virtual-reality app Where To? two and a half years ago from original publisher TapTapTap, have published a graphical blog entry (reproduced below) that features unusually candid details about the sales and changes to the app over the course of its life. The app, which locates nearby establishments in map view or can present information in an "augmented reality" view, is on sale for a limited time.
Sponsors $55,000 contest for best augmentation
Layar has announced the release of Layar Vision, an extension of its open source augmented reality platform for mobile devices. Layar Vision allows the device to recognize real world objects and show digital content layered over them. The Layar platform includes audio, video and animated objects, as well as location-based layers. The company claims the Layar software is installed on over 10 million mobile devices worldwide, including Windows Phone 7.