Spatial: A Brief Introduction to Another Social Augmented Reality Platform

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Spatial is another social augmented reality (AR) platform with an emphasis on workplace collaboration:

According to their website:

Spatial’s mission is to empower people to be more connected, creative, and productive. Our first product transforms how people work. Organizations are increasingly distributed across offices and information doesn’t flow easily. Success depends on people working together. Spatial is the collective computing platform for organizations to unlock their productive and creative potential.

Among the companies testing out Spatial is Ford Motor Company:

Spatial Ford 30 Oct 2018.png

According to a press release from BusinessWire:

After two years in stealth, Spatial is launching its cross-reality collaboration platform that enables holographic teleportation through augmented reality, turning any room into a 3D workspace. With Spatial, users connect remotely and express ideas seamlessly using lifelike avatars, unlocking a new level of computing that is not confined by space. Spatial runs on various AR headsets including Microsoft HoloLens.

Spatial enables an entirely new way of working together and eliminates the need for video conferencing and work travel. Features include:

  • Remote presence: Feel like local and remote participants are in the same room with lifelike avatars.
  • Infinite workspace: Extend your workspace beyond the screen and seamlessly tie together content from all digital devices into an infinite space.
  • Collective knowledge work: Quickly visualize thoughts and ideas using Spatial’s voice-driven 3D web browser.
  • Accessible anywhere: Spatial works best with augmented or virtual reality headsets, but is also accessible via web and mobile browser.

Spatial’s cross-reality platform is being piloted by Ford X, a new incubator formed by Ford to unify its product teams working on mobility initiatives.

I guess Ford Motor Company has deep enough pockets to be able to afford the still-expensive augmented reality headsets required to use Spatial!

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UPDATED! Infiniverse: A Brief Introduction to a Blockchain-Based Augmented Reality Platform

Infiniverse 25 Oct 2018

Infiniverse is a blockchain-based augmented reality platform:

Frankly, this is nothing more than a slickly-produced promotional video, a purely imaginary artistic concept of what Infiniverse is supposed to be. (It reminds me of that equally imaginary Decentraland promotional video I keep seeing people refer to.)

The reality is probably very different from what is portrayed here. Who knows what the actual technical state of the project is? According to this Medium article, Infiniverse is currently in development and scheduled for a public beta release in the fourth quarter of 2018. (I’ll believe that when I see it.)

According to their white paper:

Infiniverse is a decentralized augmented reality (AR) platform and persistent virtual world on top of the real world, powered by the EOS blockchain and InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Users can bring digital content into the real world, allowing it to be seen and interacted with by any other nearby users. The platform also allows users to place persistent content in the world, which remains in the same physical location even after the user has left the area or quit the application. However, due to the scarcity of real world space, users must purchase or rent “land”, the digital layer of real world locations, in order to place persistent content there.

Infiniverse has its own economy and virtual currency: Infinicoin, an EOS token. Infinicoin is used to register land and make transactions on the marketplace. The marketplace allows users to sell their creations, trade unique items, and buy and rent land, all without percentage-based commissions. The blockchain gives users full control and security over their virtual currency, land ownership and assets, while content is duplicated and distributed across the IPFS network.

Initially, the platform runs on iOS and Android devices that support AR frameworks with positional tracking, such as ARKit and ARCore. In the future, support will be extended to smart glasses when these devices are more mature and widespread, appropriate for outdoor use, and include GNSS chips for geographic location tracking.

The goal is to create a rich parallel universe that users can seamlessly switch into, allowing them to experience diverse AR content and applications, all co-existing and interacting, and a thriving virtual economy that allows content creators to create real economic value, while keeping all of the proceeds.

If you’re interested in Infiniverse, you can follow them on Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, and Medium. Or you can just visit their website.

Infiniverse 2 25 Oct 2018

Since it’s not yet clear how social this platform will be, I am not adding this product to my List of Social VR/Virtual Worlds. But it is interesting, nonetheless. I wish them luck!

UPDATE Oct. 26th: Someone from the Infiniverse team named Neb reached out to me via Telegram with the following video, in response to my question about the current technical state of the Infiniverse project.  This three-minute video shows how Infiniverse would look using a smartphone:

Playing Angry Birds on the Magic Leap One

Here’s a short promotional video for the upcoming Angry Birds game on the augmented reality headset Magic Leap One:

TheVerge reports:

Finnish game development studio Rovio is bringing its flagship property, Angry Birds, to one of the most forward-looking devices on the market, the Magic Leap One. First unveiled early last month, the One is the first commercially available mixed reality headset from secretive Florida startup Magic Leap, which has amassed more than $2 billion in funding to create what it thinks is the future of media. The company is not quite there yet, as my colleague Adi Robertson argued in her hands-on impressions of the headset.

But Rovio, in partnership with Swedish virtual and augmented reality developer Resolution Games, is signing on to be one of the earliest game makers to build for Magic Leap’s platform as it evolves. The result of that investment is Angry Birds: FPS (short for First Person Slingshot). The game is your standard Angry Birds experience: you’re given a set of colorful anthropomorphic birds and a slingshot, and the goal is to fling your feathered friends into increasingly elaborate wooden and stone structures to take out nefarious green pigs. Although this time around, the structures, birds, and slingshot appear as virtual and interactive 3D objects existing in the real world.

I spent about 30 minutes playing the game, and I can say that it is a remarkably intuitive, high-fidelity, and an all-around impressive display for Rovio’s first foray into AR. The company worked closely with Resolution Games, which has experience making VR games, to develop the game first as a VR title and then later as a full-fledged AR one that runs exclusively on the Magic Leap One.

Although the field of view for the One is roughly 50 degrees and still quite limited compared to, say, a VR headset, I found that to be about the perfect width and height for a full stage of Angry Birds to exist in front of you on a standard coffee table. So it’s clear Rovio and Resolution designed the game with the One’s FOV top in mind.

UPDATED! Social: The First Social Augmented Reality Experience for the Magic Leap One

We’ve talked a lot about social virtual reality apps on this blog, and looked at numerous examples of social VR. But this one is a first: a social augmented reality (AR) app has been announced for the brand-new Magic Leap One headset!

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Just announced via twitter by Savannah Miles, who is leading the social and avatar chat team at Magic Leap, Social is the name of a newly-announced Magic Leap One experience that is coming sometime later this year. According to the product page:

Build Connections

Share experiences, follow your friends and join other creators to explore this new frontier together. Build, personalize and accessorize your own custom avatars with a suite of creation tools. Soon, you’ll be able to hangout with people from around the world in the comfort of your home.

Make Magic Together

Spatial computing is meant to be shared. Soon, Cast will let people in the same room see what you see, when and where you see it. Plus, since with Avatar Chat you’ll basically be in the same room, they’ll be able to see the same content and applications, too.

Express Yourself Like Never Before

Coming this fall, Avatar Chat will take full advantage of Magic Leap One’s perception features such as 6DoF, headpose, eye tracking and hand tracking to create a feeling of real presence. So wink, wave or throw a high five because you’re going to meet some super expressive avatars.

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UPDATE Oct. 13th: The Road to VR website reports that the Social app (renamed to Avatar Chat) is scheduled for release next month:

Magic Leap is slowly broadening its app offerings, and as a part of the company’s next steps to move forward to a fully-fledged consumer product, the company today announced at L.E.A.P. Con, the company’s first developer conference, that Magic Leap One is getting a bit more social in the next few months.

Savannah Niles, Magic Leap’s Designer Lead of User Experience, took the stage today at L.E.A.P. Con to announce that the company will be rolling out “a suite of products” to enable multiuser experiences on Magic Leap One—something that’s been missing up until now.

The opening gambit: Avatar Chat, an AR chat app that allows multiple users to connect remotely, with the ability to be represented by customizable avatars.

Image courtesy Magic Leap

In the quick clip of Avatar Chat, we saw Magic Leap One detecting gestures, eye blinks, and the ability to manually select emotions, represented by emojis.

UPDATE Nov. 17th: Magic Leap has just released a new promotional video for Avatar Chat, which shows us a few more of its features: