Sunday, September 3, 2017

Say hello to ARCore

augmented universe - ar core - augmented reality
Recently I wrote about the possible impact of ARKit on the augmented reality market. We didn’thave to wait long for the first effects, the ARCore.

What is ARCore ?

ARCore is a platform for building augmented reality applications on Android. That sounds like a very good slogan, so let us try a bit simpler.
ARCore is nothing more than a set of tools that handles the most complex operation for the programmer, it brings AR capabilities to a wide audience.
ARCore does not need any special equipment, it uses standard camera in your phone to bring AR to life. It focuses on three main elements:
1.       Motion tracking – phone can understand and track its position relative to the world
2.       Environment understanding – phone can detect the size and location of horizontal surfaces
3.       Light estimation – phone can estimate the environment current lightning conditions
All this combined, gives us a lot of new possibilities on Android phones.


On current stage it is hard to talk about limitation. For sure the biggest problem is the small number of supported devices. At the moment of writing this article, only three phones are officially supported: Pixel, Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy S8. Why S8+ or Note 8 are not supported ? Only Google knows. The amount of devices should increase with time as Google is talking with other producers. We will see.
In terms of software limitation as I wrote it is hard to say. Currently it is even hard to find any interesting NEW project based on ARCore beside those officially introduced along with the information about ARCore. For sure possibilities are big, but how big, where do they end, those are the big questions. Again, we need to wait to get the answer on that.

What next ?

What can we do ? We need to wait and observe. I`m guessing that in short time we will see a lot of interesting tests done by individual programmers and companies. Those ideas, concepts, prototypes will show us how far we can go with the current version, what we can build with ARCore, will it be a good and true answer to Apple ARKit. I hope so. At the moment we have those two players on the field but we can’t forget about Facebook and their plans to invest 3 billion dollars in the AR platform. And of course we have Microsoft with the HoloLens. For sure thanks to Google and Apple, augmented reality is getting wider audience, people see that this technology carries huge possibilities. This can bring the demand and every time when there is a demand someone need to satisfy it. For sure we are standing in front of huge milestone for the augmented reality.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Is Apple the game changer for Augmented Reality ?

augmented reality - arkit

Some time ago I wrote an article about how augmented reality needs Apple. Not for revolution ideas, not for revolution projects but just for the brand. For many years Apple is an icon of innovation, almost every one of their ideas is a bestseller. Now we have the ARKit. What now ?

Is this what we wanted ?

When I was writing my previous article I was sure that answer on this question will be very easy, but now…I’m not so sure anymore.
Yes, because it brings augmented reality to wider audience. Yes, because it presents possibilities which are brought by AR to our every day life. ARKit allows to materialize a lot of different and exciting concepts. This is fantastic ! No doubt about it. This is also a great boost for other producers. We are in the middle of technological war between manufacturers, if someone is entering market with a new idea, others will try to catch up. Just today I saw an article about possibility of a special version of the Samsung Note 8 with Project Tango. That is what I wanted, the race for augmented reality mounted into the smartphone. Just for that I must say “THANK YOU APPLE !”.
Is there a “no” ? Unfortunately yes. I’ve understood it during my research. It is not about technology itself. It is rather more about content that it is providing. Recently we saw similar situation with Windows mobile platform. The operating system was cool, it was something new and fresh BUT it didn’t provide enough content so it was disqualified for many. ARKit itself is great, it gives the developers a lot of new possibilities but we still do not have enough content. Of course you can say “give them some more time” but I think it is not the only factor. We still have problems with finding useful use cases for augmented reality.
How to sum this up ?
1.       Apple done a fantastic work for spreading augmented reality to consumers
2.       It is an interesting tool that gives great possibilities for experiments
3.       We need to find usage for AR in our lives. Without that it will be just a gadget for small group of geeks
I’m looking forward for new projects, I want to observe what this will bring for us, AR fans.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What we want from AR glasses ?

augmented reality glasses
I’m wondering do we know what we want from glasses that will support augmented reality ? I’m wondering do we live in the world of sci-fi movies or maybe consumer do not need so abstract devices ? Maybe we can use something less elegant but without some flaws ? Let us think about it for a second


First thing is comfort. They may not look as cool as we see in the movies but for sure they need to be comfortable. We need to remember that we are talking about device that we want to wear on our faces for couple hours a day. Such glasses can’t be heavy to avoid neck pain. They need to be easy to wear, stable during all every day activities, similar like standard glasses. Maybe some kind of belt over your head ? This would do the trick but I don’t think that it would be the best idea. Comfort is a very important element, easy to think, hard to achieve

Battery life

What is the biggest problem with modern devices from smartphone through smartwatch to your laptop ? Battery life. Wearables are special type of devices. We want to get from them a lot of cool features, a lot of helpers in every day life and we want to forget about that they have battery inside. I think that 12-16 hours on one battery cycle is an absolute must. Anything less than that will be just annoying for the user. Think about glasses that you need to charge 2 times a day. You will just stop using it beside some special occasions. Is it easy to achieve ? I’m afraid that no. Let us consider main reasons:

·       Not a lot of space. Yes, we are getting better and better in miniaturization but still comfortable glasses won’t have a lot of room to put the battery. The battery can’t be to big (weight) so there might be a problem with the capacity. Making it leaner and leaner also is not such a good idea (remember the case of Samsung Note 7 ? ) so this will be a major problem

·       A lot of operations related with generating AR images, calculating positions and so on are complicated from algorithmic point of view. It will use a lot of CPU power and it will have a big impact on the battery life. Every tick of the CPU is consuming power so the math here is easy 😉


I’ve already mentioned in one of my previous articles that content is also a very important element. Maybe not on the start because augmented reality is a cool technology and a lot of people will just use it for some tests BUT if we are talking about regular consumer, than device that is just “cool” won’t make it. Content need to provided asap and it must be a high quality content. We love our smartphones and we are used to have everything there. Augmented reality and glasses is hard combo for standard consumer, it is easy to think about usage of this in industry, business or logistic, but how to use it on street ? This is a bit harder, and this must be solved before putting such glasses into the market


Last but no least….style. We are not talking here about glasses that will be used in some factory, we are talking about something that we want to wear on street, that we want to wear during our meetings with friends. Such glasses can’t look like some “geek” experiment, they need to be nice, they need to fit to our cloths, our style. Connecting style with hardware usability is a very big problem. Look at the laptops and smartphones. It took some time before those devices become usable and good looking and in this example we are talking about much bigger peace of hardware. Talking about good style for such glasses might sound a bit stupid but we want those glasses to be available for regular consumer, for every day usage. They just MUST look good

Friday, March 17, 2017

Challenges facing augmented reality

challenges facing augmented reality
Today let us discuss about challenges that augmented reality needs to face. We will focus on the most important, THE BIGGEST challenges.


Currently this is THE BIGGEST challenge of all. We either use substitution in form of mobile devices either we need to use a very expensive prototypes like for example, HoloLens. Without good hardware in a reasonable price we can forget about next BIG REVOLUTION. There is no chance without those two things. We can start from good and expensive if we have perspective for lowering costs but currently we have nothing. What do we understand by “good hardware” ? Light, comfortable, good battery, efficient.


Why mobile Windows or Firefox OS is dead ? Because there is not enough good content. People won’t use the device or system if there will be nothing to see on it, if the content that is provided is low quality. We are consumers, we live in world where there is an app for everything. The same rule concerns augmented reality. Without valuable content (app, projects) there will be no will for usage. Without that nobody except geeks will buy it. We need ideas and good execution of those ideas.


If you will spend a bit of time with google or on youtube you will find a lot of interesting concepts, experiments that look very cool. But most of them has the same problem, low usability. Problems with user interface. If it will not be comfortable for use, it won’t be used, simple as that. We still have small experience in such interfaces, we do not have developed proper and tested concepts of such interfaces. This path is in front of us and for sure we will make a lot of mistakes. We need to make them ASAP to find the proper methods to handle it.


It is not as easy as everybody thinks it is. We can’t just give a device to everybody and say “hey guys, use it!!”. Augmented reality is still something new for “normal” consumers. We need a proper combination of above elements and proper strategy to teach people how to use and what benefits it will bring to their life. We need to educate people and help them adapt augmented reality in everyday life.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quick thinking: augmented reality in schools

augmented reality in education
Recently my friend wrote to be and asked about augmented reality. I want to share with you some short, quick thoughts about augmented reality in schools.

“I’m looking for some cool usage of AR for kids about 12-years old. I’ve checked different projects on the internet but all of them seems like dreams. Am I looking wrong?” This simple question made me thinking about this problem, because this is a very big problem of augmented reality. He didn’t find anything because we are not using AR in our schools. Let us be honest, today`s children are much different than kids from 80`s and 90`s. They were/are growing up with smartphones and tablets in their hands and it looks like our schools are forgetting about that.

Why we are not using this fantastic technology to help our kids ? Don’t get me wrong, I love books, I really thing that we need to teach our kids to read them and to love them, they should never be forgotten but there are a lot of things that can be improved by augmented reality in terms of teaching. We can use the technology to show richer content, to provide better ways for understanding complicated issues.

I’m sure that augmented reality will arrive to schools sooner or later. I’m also sure that it will be rather later and I can’t understand that. There are no technological barriers. Spend just 5 minutes with google and you will find multiple projects of “augmented books” or “augmented sandboxes” and many more. But no body want to invest into that, no body want to provide it to wider audience. Why ? Because we are afraid ? Because we do not know how to use it ? Because it is an experiment ? Even if we will answer on all those questions “yes”, we need to try, we need to search. We need to remember that even the longest trip always begins from one small step.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Augmented Reality needs Apple ?

Probably most of you will think that Apple is so great and fantastic that no one else can do something good for augmented reality. If you think that way, I have 3 words for you:
1. no
2. No
3. NO !

Apple is a great company

No doubt that Apple is one of the biggest company in the world. They achieved so much, that it is hard to count the biggest achievements. They created fantastic products, but also - as every company - some of them were very bad. But the number one of all this, is the power of influence on the masses and this is the true reason why augmented reality needs Apple

Talk and talk and talk and...

Lately almost every day I see headline about how Tim Cook is talking about power of the augmented reality, how it is better than virtual reality, or how the augmented reality is the future and so on and so on. Unfortunately nothing is happening, no action taken. The action that we - all the fans of AR - need so much.
Some can say that we have Pokemon GO. Sure ! But as I wrote here, I don't think that friendly creatures will change anything. Augmented reality needs a true breakthrough. We need something, or maybe I should say someone, that will lead, that will show the way, that will inspire the masses. We need a true influencer.
Look at Google, Microsoft. We are talking here about largest companies in the world. They created Google glasses, HoloLens. Those are two fantastic products and nothing! People don't care about them. Of course I'm not talking here about geeks or AR enthusiasts but about masses that will by such products, people that don't care about low level technology. They want to see the effect.

"How does somebody know what they need if they haven't even seen it?"

Do you remember when Steve Jobs said that ? Those words are still very important. People don't know that they need augmented reality because most of the do not understand it. They can't even imagine how powerful tool it is and what they can achieve with that. So please Apple, please Mr. Cook, do something with this ! Prove the world that Apple is really the greatest company in the world. Stop playing with new colors of iPhone, stop destroying your devices by removing parts, stop making wires to Bluetooth headsets. Please, do the one thing that a long time ago was your trademark. Be innovative again, inspire people, lead them, show them the way, show them what they can achieve having such powerful tool like augmented reality ! Please !

Sunday, August 7, 2016

No body cares about augmented reality in Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO and augmented reality
Pokemon GO, Pokemon GO, Pokemon GO, Pokemon GO.....I feel exactly the same when I'm reading news related with augmented reality. Is it boring ? Yes, a bit, because I can't find any new interesting content. A lot of people thinks that this is a breakthrough for augmented reality, but it isn't and we need to remember about that.

NO BODY*, I repeat NO BODY cares about AR in Pokemon GO

By "no body" I refer to people that are not related with augmented reality. I think that 99% of them don't care about AR behind all of this. They are hyped because they can go and just catch some pokemons !! Big part of users turned of the AR mode in the game because it is easier to catch`em all. Of course there is always an interactive map based on Google maps that extends (augment) our world. Don't you think that this is just not enough to scream AUGMENTED REALTY FOR THE WIN ? When I think about AR I can see much more advanced examples in my head like: HoloLens, Daqri, hands free systems in logistic, Google glass. Running around with smartphone looking at virtual map is just not enough in my opinion. 

Someone will be interested

Of course there is a very small part of people whom will ask a question "what is augmented reality" and even some of them will like to search more information about it, maybe even they will read this post and maybe they will study AR in future like I do. That would be cool. Unfortunately Pokemon GO is not a game changer. There is a big chance that in near future there will be some new applications based on similar mechanic. Do you remember Ingress ? This game was way much more advanced from the gameplay point of view, it had same mechanic and it was not even near as popular as Pokemon GO. Here and there you can say that this is an augmented reality game but as I is not about AR. This app is a social phenomenon and we will see a lot of papers describing it but unfortunately this is not an augmented reality revolution.  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

HoloLens - the true augmented reality milestone

augmented reality - HoloLens
Build 2016 is over. We have seen a true kickoff of HoloLens, now everybody can buy a developer edition to build and test own apps. Of course they need to have....3000 USD. That is a lot, but the cost is not the main topic on which I want to focus today. After the presentation we can read a lot of comments that say that this is still a clumsy technology, that this is not so exciting as everybody thinks. So what is all about ?

HoloLens is not a everyday technology

Let us start from this statement. HoloLens is not something you would call an everyday augmented reality headset. Of course, you can have at your home and play with it, you can take it to your work and use it for that. So there is a way to use it everyday in your life BUT you won't wear it during your trip to work, you won't go with it to the shop. To be honest, you won't wear it anywhere outside your home or office.
First of all they are simply too big. Yes, the current version is much better than the prototype that was shown year ago, it is much easier to wear it, use it, adjust to the user, they are more comfortable but still they are just too big. It is hard to say that nobody will notice that you are wearing them.
Secondly we have the main problem of every mobile device, battery. According to Microsoft we`re talking here about 2-3 hours of constant work. It's not even a half of standard work day, that means you always need to be close of something that will be able to charge your HoloLens. Hard to say that this is a comfortable situation.
And last but not least...the cost. We can assume that user edition will be cheaper than current developer version but let us be real, there is no chance that the difference will be significant, and 3000 USD is a lot of money. There won't be many people that will be able to afford it just to wear it around and use it for Cortana`s reminders. 

It is not important !

Should we care about above problems ? No, not now. HoloLens is a big step forward for augmented reality. I think that it is even more than one step. It is a milestone. Microsoft made something fantastic for propagation AR. Thanks to that device we can get a bit closer to understanding of true potential of augmented reality in our lifes.
This device is something similar to first laptop, pda or tablet. It is something big, expensive, without well defined usage. It sounds horrible but it something fantastic. It allows to understand the technology, to experiment with it, to show something great, cool and fantastic to people, to move forward, to look further. HoloLens is like a key that will open augmented reality on masses. I can't tell will the device built by Microsoft will be the best one, but I know that this is the one of biggest and most important moment for augmented reality at our time. Now we need to wait for ideas, for prototypes and different approaches. This will show us in which way augmented reality will go in near future. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

About augmented reality - new way

About augmented reality
This time something new. I want to evolve with my blog. That is why this post is the first in new form...cast. My goal is to make it more interactive, more interesting, easier to get. I hope you all will like and I'm sorry for the sound problems, I will imporeve that next time.


This presentation is about true basics of augmented reality. I'm talking about what it is, how it works, what are the main problems and challenges. To be honest this informations are preatty hard to find in a simple form so I hope it will be usefull for many in near future.
I'm also attaching presentation that I used. Just click here

You can watch my cast below or go directly to my channel on youtube. Subscribe and comment !!

Go directly to movie: click here
Go directly to my NEW youtube channel: click here

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Varia Vision - new possibilities

Varia Vision - augmented reality display
When I saw information about this project I truly had to take my jaw from the ground. This is the type of projects that - in my opinion - are the essence of the future augmented reality. Very strong every day usage, helps in popular activities, make them more safe.


What is Varia Vision ? It is a device (augmented reality vision) that can be attached on our sunglasses. Its main goal is to make everything for us easier and safer. Varia Vision bring every important information on the line of our vision, thanks to that we have full access to every important information without the need of looking somewhere else (for example on our handlebar). This might not sound as something very big, but trust me, when you`re in heavy trafic or for the first time in a new place it may save your life or at least time.

A true milestone

Why am I so hyped with that ? Because this the type of projects that will help augmented reality evolve, and become something recognized by masses. This is a device for a true, everyday usage and if you think wider you`ll see that you don't need to be on your bike to use it. I think that it will be a very usefull tool in much more different situations.
The onI hope that in near future we`ll see much more devices like that, I truly do. Garmin showed us that augmetned reality is not only a industry type devices or laboratory experiments. A high five for Garmin !!