Inside AR Wrap Up 2013 Munich Germany

Posted on November 13, 2013 in Augmented Reality, InsideAR, SDK, Uncategorized - 0
VRASE Glasses an alternative to Oculus Rift

Attending InsideAR 2013 in Munich was challenging due to the sheer distance I had to cover to be there. And it’s not so much the distance but the money and the time that it consumes, it’s no wonder I was the only Australian there. I arrived switched-on and ready for the upmost learning to happen. Armed with questions, queries and even a camera, I headed to the exhibit hall to register on Day 1.

It was obvious I was in Germany. After having traveled on 20 minutes from my rental apartment (thanks to AirBNB) I arrived at the Olympic Park, i.e. home of the summer Olympic Games in 1972 (yes, and the fatal hostage incident). It’s a beautiful location with obvious markings of the German automotive giant BMW, and their head office and BMW Museum piercing the skyline.

Somehow I was able to park alongside the cars of the organizing committee and made my way through a backdoor tunnel and straight to reception. It was very quiet and I seemed to be…the first. Or at least among the first 10-or-so guests. I later discovered this was great coincidental timing on my behalf, as only 30 minutes later delegates were waiting up to an hour to receive their badges and be let into the event.

The keynotes were spectacularly…German! With sarcastic anecdotal evidence of organizational difficulties, the entire affair (aside from the slight delay for some folks) was running with incredible precision. Metaio founders, Thomas Alt and Peter Meir, were passionate, charming and willingly critical of everything they’d done to be in this leading position within the Augmented Reality world. Somewhat humbled by what they both created, they both stood on stage preaching to 800+ attendees from 33 countries, and were both chuffed with the level of attentiveness in the room.

A PASSION FOR SHARING

The two day even showcased speaker after speaker, some with AR expertise and some invited as outsiders – highlighting futuristic impressions of where it’s all headed. I definitely had some favourites:

DISPEL MYTHS CLARIFY COMPLEXITIES

Ultimately it was a Metaio event run by Metaio, so the focal point was on Metaio successes, upgrades and news! Rightly so! These are the guys that have helped keep Augmented Reality out of the “toyish” realms it has been so often been showcased, and cleverly placed it into the hands of cornerstone brands such as Audi, Mercedes Benz, Volkwagen and Lego. Alt and Meir both share a passion for critical thinking and a desire for mechanical processes to feature in their designs. The theme of the event was “Always On, Always Augmented” and with the evolution (or perhaps adoption) as wearables as the ultimate AR vehicle, you could tell there was a true buzz with each talk.

Ultimately it was a Metaio event run by Metaio, so the focal point was on Metaio successes, upgrades and news! Rightly so! These are the guys that have helped keep Augmented Reality out of the “toyish” realms it has been so often been showcased, and cleverly placed it into the hands of cornerstone brands such as Audi, Mercedes Benz, Volkwagen and Lego. Alt and Meir both share a passion for critical thinking and a desire for mechanical processes to feature in their designs. The theme of the event was “Always On, Always Augmented” and with the evolution (or perhaps adoption) as wearables as the ultimate AR vehicle, you could tell there was a true buzz with each talk.

Some of the Metaio highlights to study were:

  1. New SDK
    • Improved 2D
    • SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) implemented – showcased from 300m (1000 feet) with the use of a drone. Available for immediate testing using the AR browser designed by Metaio – named Juanio.
  2. Creator
    • Gets integrated shaders – attach custom vertex and fragment shaders to your 3D geometries. Specified in a simple XML file. The benefit is that the shading gets past to the GPU for rendering, and not baked into the 3D images. Because the Metaio SDK uses OpenGL, and OpenGL ES on mobile platforms, respectively, the shader language is GLSL
    • Gets AREL(java script) editor – The AREL bridge is a javascript library that exposes all the functionality to the developer. This is supplied in the form of code blocks which are the placeholders for your custom code.
  3. Junaio Mirage
    • Junaio browser for google glass. When the full force of Juanio was thrown at Google Glass the result was 15 minutes of battery life for Google Glass. In order to avoid this Metaio created a reduced version by simply stripping back Junio and reducing its functionality:
      • First they removed all the buttons and call-to-action. These were removed and integrated as gestures on the tap/swipe on Google Glass gestural interface
      • Secondly they activated see-through mode, i.e. removed the need to have Google Glass populate the scene with vision from the camera. See-through mode takes advantage of the inherent optics in google glass. This means the Junaio information is then displayed on a see-through image, rather than a camera generated image.
      • Thirdly a cross-hair was introduced. This allowed users to focus their line of site with whatever they wanted to interact with. In this view they activate – scan view – which turns the camera view back on.
  4. Edge-Based Tracking – markerless tracking. This is CAD based initialization which proves to be more robust and tolerates marker distortion through events such as weather and wear and tear.
  5. CVS – Continuous Visual Search
  6. Face tracking (not released – but demoed)
Vuzix M2000AR

The event was split into two, with parallel events running side-by-side in the form of a Conference and an Exhibition. In the exhibiton hall there was no less than two cars on display and the obvious Google Glass floating around and Vuzix doing their “M100″ thing! What I didn’t expect was to meet a very young startup named VRASE (successful Kickstarter campaigner). They are the Oculus Rift competitor, minus the Oculus Rift. Basically they allow you to slot a mobile phone into a HUD and wear your phone as a cinema display.

Most powerful of all was the Mercedes Benz World premier of their IVI (In Vehicle Infotainment) system. Mercedes Benz showcased how they had actually tested a fully unassisted driving experience in which a car takes itself to, and from, a certain location without human interaction (I’m talking autobahn and all). The showed images of the complex thinking the car was doing during the driver, i.e. red highlights danger or “beware” issues coming up, and a speed limit identification etc. But that wasn’t it! The BEST was the fact that they has a fully functioning prototype of the IVI with an A Klass Mercedes in the parking lot – ready to take us around the block! Don’t believe me? Watch this video!

InsideAR 2013 Munich Mercedes Benz IVI Prototype

I recently recorded a 1hr podcast with AR Dirt wrapping up the event and hope you will take a listen. Whilst 1hr may seem like a lot, we actually stormed through it only touched on many of the subjects! It’s a fun listen and by the accounts of one listener: “I put it on expecting to listen to a few minutes and then ended up listening all the way through. Especially loved the bit where you’re telling the story about the German techie leaning forward and saying: it’s not even a very good lap top!

You’ll need to listen to find out why that’s funny!

PS. After presenting at ARNY (Augmented Reality New York) I also uploaded the Slide Deck to SlideShare – it actually was the foundation for the podcast and maybe helpful if you fear missing any content!

About The Author

Author avatar

OnlyAugmented

Hugo Gaston Ortega is a technology enthusiast with extensive experience in Social Media, Public Speaking and has been awarded the title of Microsoft MVP consecutively since 2006. He has written for GottaBeMobile, MrMobilePC, UberTablet and is a published author with eBooks available on Amazon. Hugo is the COO Strategist of Tegatech and is currently working on his first Augmented Reality App ecosystem to be released in late 2013. With over 1million views of his online Tablet Videos Hugo plans to do even more with Augmented Reality.