Archive for September, 2012

ARLab, a new vision for a smarter society.

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      After several months of hard work we are ready to offer an extended portfolio of technological solutions for AR. Our differentiated value is to support the creation of not only useful, easy and fast applications developed by software experts, but also precise, elegant and effective technologies that enable an efficient development in an extremely short time to market.

We build technologies according to developers’ needs and provide them with functional solutions to materialize their ideas in the shortest time possible. ARLab´s aim is to develop SDKs for developers. Starting on Android and iOS, that will include all the computer vision features that any Augmented Reality app can request. That´s why our suite of products includes geolocation, visual search, natural features tracking, interactive virtual buttons and AR game engine. This will be followed by face detection, recognition and tracking engine; and object tracking that will be released soon. The most important for us is to create real tools for developers, that´s why we really take care of creating a simple API in a native platform language, objective-C in iOS and Java in Android, following how Google or Apple would do it in their own frameworks. So, the developer will not need to do any extra learning effort in order to use our SDKs. Also the documentation is one of our pillars, oriented for pure developers, with lot of sample codes and tutorials.

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Is AR a really useful tool for Education?

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      After attending to several conferences and forums to talk about the introduction of augmented reality in school and its “benefits”, there are still people who think that Augmented Reality may be a danger among students, and it has more disadvantages than advantages.

      One of the main ideas that were shown at the conferences by educators is that the introduction of Augmented Reality at school may lead to lazier students. Currently, students have more facilities than some years or decades ago, but the seeking of extra information that is not at books is still a must in order to get solid knowledge. This effort will allow them to develop some abilities that will be useful in later steps of their lives. These abilities may be forgotten if students are not pushed to look for this extra information since it is provided by the addition of Augmented Reality technologies. Thus, in this aspect, some professionals think that the introduction of AR at school, instead of enhancing the learning process could be self-defeating for the students who use it as only tool.

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Augmented Reality in Education. Part II

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      Among all the Augmented Reality applications, one of the most important and practical ones is its use in education. There are many companies and developers which make an effort to introduce this technology to students, professionals and researchers related to the education field.

      Like in nearly all the Augmented Reality applications, through specific images into the text books, students will be able to access extra 3D contents related to each image. This additional information will improve, not only the students´ experience, but also the way in which they learn the lesson, allowing them to understand the content much better than without Augmented Reality.

      This makes sense when we talk about lessons for children, where they can feel that they play with this extra layered information, with which they will have a more robust learning, as has been shown by some researchers in the field. In an advanced levels, like high school, university degrees or even research, Augmented Reality may be used when the user needs a 3D Space view about the environment in order to understand some concepts, like could happen in geometry, chemistry or architecture.

Augmented Reality makes the learning process more efficient, interesting and enjoyable.

Augmented Reality MasterClass given by our CTO.

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      In our crusade to spread not only the Augmented Reality technology, but also all our products, we are also involved in several Masters courses in Spanish universities, where some of our staff are the responsible to teach this technology and its advantages to students enrolled in the aforementioned courses. In these courses or classes we are the responsible of introducing students, engineers, or even teachers in such exciting field. Apart from the general view of the Augmented Reality and its current situation, we also introduce our products.

      The main idea of these classes, courses, conferences or seminars is just to approach this amazing technology to engineering’s students and professionals who aren´t familiar with it. It is impressive that, in most of the cases they don´t know anything about Augmented Reality at all, but after these opportunities they feel super interested on this technology and its advantages and possibilities.

      Moreover, we show them the ease of integrating Augmented Reality in mobile apps using the ARLab SDKs. We offer an affordable solution to whom are willing to develop mobile Augmented Reality apps, and we encourage them to use our solution for several reasons like: ease and fast integration, features and great documentation, price and performance.

      If you are interested in attend via online to this masterclass given by Pablo García, ARLab CTO, it will take place on 20th, Thursday at 18:00 (only to spanish speakers). Please click the following lint to register:

http://www.unir.net/masterclass/realidad-aumentada.aspx 

Fingerprint Extraction for Matching & Tracking

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There have been several questions, requests and discussions regarding which is the proper way to add images to the image matching and tracking pool with our SDKs. Here I’m going to do a brief summary of strengths and weakness of each option:

1.) Add normal images from the device resources (locally) or from URL (remote):

  •  API Functions:

ANDROID

Local

addImage (int resourceId)

addImage (int resourceId, int uniqueId)

addImage (Bitmap bmpImage, int uniqueId)

addImage (Bitmap bmpImage)

Remote

addImage (String imageURL)

addImage (String imageURL, int uniqueId)

IOS:

Local

addImage:

addImage:withUniqeID:

Remote

addImageFromUrl:

addImageFromUrl:withUniqeID:

  • Strengths:

- Images can be added “on the fly”

  • Weakness:

-The process of feature extraction is done locally on the device and can take some time when there are a lot of images in the pool (80+).

2.) Add pre-trained images (.dat files).

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Augmented Reality and privacy.

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       Despite the fact that Augmented Reality is impressing nearly all the people, there are still some issues to improve, like the privacy. One thing is true, the web is getting more and more interconnected to the “real” world, sharing a lot of useful-  and non useful- information with its users. Thanks to some augmented reality apps implemented within mobile devices, like augmented reality browsers, allows users to get this information even when they are on the street. For example, the use of these apps allows you to  recognize physical objects when you point your mobile device at them, to show you reviews of nearby restaurants hovering in the air as you hold up your phone or even to know the location of other people holding a GPS integrated device.

      Clearly, exponentially growing technologies are set to change the way in which people carry out their social communications and share their personal data, bringing up a number of control and privacy questions that worry them. We have seen that this emerging technology seems amazing and cool and it is pushing social communications in exciting directions , but what are the privacy implications of the integration of this kind of technology?

       Depending on how the user will try to use the data, the privacy can play an important role on the technology’ s spreading and further success. For instance, if the user tries to access to public data, there is not an important security issue due to the data is publicly available. In the other hand, if the user tries to access to private data, like personal photos, friends or even your address, then people should be worried about those privacy and security issues. But even in this case we cannot entirely blame the privacy rules, but the users because they do not really realize that they do not share their private data responsibly.  This is not a problem that is unique to augmented reality applications but considering the growth expected in the industry it needs to be addressed and users protected from sharing to much data.The following picture shows an extreme case about what we are trying to explain, where the private data is known by all the users.

Picture 1. This picture shows an extreme case of sharing private data.

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LinkAR Store

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Step 1- In order to buy any of the licenses for our SDKs, first of all, you will have to go to the linkAR community on linkAR website. Once there, on the licenses step you have to tap new license in order to start the procedure. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. Step 1

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ARLab is getting popular

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      Since we released our web (www.arlab.com) in the first quarter, we have released that several sites have been talking about the company and the products. This trend increased last months mainly due to the launching of some products as Beta versions during April and May, and their releases under commercial licenses in August.

      We are proud of all this work and of the fact the the company becomes more and more popular every day. We would like to thank all the people that made this possible. In the following video we show some of the articles that have been appearing about ARLab. We really hope to keep on growing and keep on helping the people with our products.

“ARLab is a company made by developers and for developers “

Standardization of the Augmented Reality

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      Augmented Reality for both personal computers and mobile devices is one of the areas that currently promises so much but as it becomes more popular can be felt the lack of a standardization. This means that there is no standard way of creating such Augmented Reality applications and augmented reality developers have to break their minds each time they need an application.

      Nowadays, there is no standard way to create Augmented Reality applications, neither PCs nor mobile devices. Companies which develop their own Augmented Reality application with no use of external tools,use proprietary technologies. This means, among other things, that different Augmented Reality apps or even different Augmented Reality modules which belong to an app may be unable to talk to each other and thus share data. There are a lot of proprietary Augmented Reality technologies but there are no open standards.

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The basis of Augmented Reality

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      Is not strange that each day more people find an Augmented Reality article, or a new application which is based on this technology, or even a lot of tweets talking about it. Augmented Reality is spreading fast, fact that is not unusual taking into consideration that big brands and companies are pushing its use, but do people really know what Augmented Reality means?

      Adding information and meaning to real objects the users see is the goal of augmented reality. We have to notice that there is a difference between Augmented reality and Virtual reality. While the latter tries to create a simulation of reality by replacing the real objects by virtual ones, the former adds information to the real world, adding contextual data to deepen a person´s understanding of the object. This contextual data may be 3D objects layered on the real world, audio commentaries, historical context, geolocated  POIs(Points of interest) or other forms of content that can make a user’s experience of a thing or a place more meaningful.  Augmented reality is not merely a companion text or multimedia file but a technology designed to “see” a real object or place and provide the user with appropriate information at the right time. Augmented reality is designed to blur the line between the reality the user is experiencing and the content provided by technology.

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