Super Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Industry News and Technology Updates

REAL, GDC, SXSW Roundup

We had the lucky opportunity to attend three important technology conferences over the last few weeks: REAL 2016, Game Developers Conference (GDC), and South by Southwest (SXSW). During each event, which were all very different, we showed off our current tech demos to the audiences. The 2nd annual REAL 2016 Conference took place on March 8 and 9 at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. The event theme was “Reality Computing.” Reality Computing is something Autodesk defines as “…the principal concept for how technologies are breaking down the barriers between the physical and digital worlds for anyone engaged in the design, delivery, or management of physical things” The majority of the REAL audience included people that were heavily involved in business and enterprise technology, specifically AEC and BIM. The conference heavily supported products/technologies that digitally capture existing conditions, manipulate and analyze that data in design software, and outputs the result back in our physical world with digital fabrication methods (i.e. 3-D printing) or visually through augmented reality or projection technologies. Examples of these kinds of projects include: laser scanning, UAVs, depth cameras, photogrammetry, and virtual reality headsets. Our CTO, Dr. Yue Fei, presented a short and meaningful presentation on how hand and position tracking make better AR and VR experiences for human computer interaction. The 27th annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) also took us back to San Francisco on March 14-18. We split our time between the Open Gaming Alliance Lounge and the main GDC Expo hall in the ARM booth. The GDC audience we catered to included Game developers, media, and analysts. This popular (27K attendees) conference is a place where mainly game developers gather to discuss and exchange ideas, tools, and content to further the gaming industries. Virtual Reality was extremely popular at this event. While the VR hype seems to still consume the media, we’re beginning to see the extreme value of uSens technology for AR and VR content makers and related tools and hardware makers. We demoed hundreds of times and attracted dozens of new early DEVNET (Developer Network) beta users that are starting to use our technology in May. The 29th annual SXSW (South by Southwest) festival went on from March 11-20 in Austin, Texas. SXSW is a yearly event that features games, film, interactive media, music festivals, and tech conferences. We attended and showed off our demos in the Gaming Expo. For the first time this year, the festival also included a VR/AR Experience side event that had a limited collection of mainly 360 video and photo VR technology. We felt at home during the SXSW Gaming Expo, because many of our VR tech peers joined us there for the massive consumer crowds, including kids, families, educators, and many different types of developers. One of the AR highlights at SXSW was NASA’s Hololens presentation. Dr. Jeff Norris and Victor Luo, both fans of uSens tech, provided one of the very first public debuts of their interactive apps for Microsoft’s HoloLens device. Jeff and Victor showed the attendees how NASA is using AR and VR technology in building, executing, and virtualizing current and future missions. With NASA’s new found VR and AR technology, they have recreated some of the most accurate 3D reconstructions of spacecrafts, space physics, and Mars. Jeff and Victor shared the inception and construction of new projects and the potentials of virtual reality space exploration for everyone on Earth. It was great to see our ARVR technology being appreciated and examined in so many different verticals including business & enterprise, game developers, and consumers & educators. Despite the differences of these groups, we’ve witnessed that many people are excited for hand and position tracking to immerse them into their experiences. -Amanze Ugoh

Driverless Car & AR

The next wave of automobile technology is aiming to revolutionize the way we utilize transportation. The first fleet of self-driving cars will be ready in just a few years. Based on popularity, the forerunners of self-driving car technology right now are Google and Tesla. Google Inc. says that their self-driving car should be ready by 2020 and Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, says their Tesla’s will be fully autonomous by 2018. Though autonomous cars will be coming soon, we could see other types of cars that will innovate automobile transportation even sooner. PSA Peugeot Citroen, a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles plans to change the way we drive by building an augmented reality enabled windshield for their cars. This technology aims to increase driver safety for a more convenient driving experience. If augmented reality windshields become more popular they have great potential to make the transition to driverless cars much smoother.   Contemporary aircraft heads-up-displays (HUD) are a type of technology we’ve seen for many years that assist pilots while they are flying. Future cars might also provide a HUD containing useful driving information. This new HUD could include augmented reality. PSA Peugeot Citroen’s work-in-progress automobile windshield features a built-in transparent display, and a projection on the inside that allows the driver to view data, visuals, and information without looking away from the road. This HUD is also able to adapt and update in reaction to real objects or dangers on the road. Below is an early demo of the PSA Peugeot windshield HUD in action:   The Peugeot HUD will feature standard driving information such as current speed, speed limits, and adaptive visuals for cruise control. There is massive potential for the HUD to introduce innovative functions that can implement more enhanced augmented reality. Since the HUD is capable of covering the entire width of the windshield, it could be able to give the driver a wider view of on-the-road directions and traffic updates, alter sights on the road, and show dangers with a graphic warning. Too much visuals on the windshield has a possibility of being more distracting than helpful so it will be interesting to see how Peugeot’s software designers will handle this impending issue as they add more features. The most important benefit from augmented reality driving is increased safety. Since unique driving information could be seen extremely quickly, drivers could have a better awareness of the road and they are more likely to not be caught by surprise. Drivers may also be able to look up directions while focusing their eyes on the road instead of looking down at their phones or GPS. The two autonomous car forerunners, Google and Tesla, should be rooting for car company’s like PSA Peugeot Citroen as they are aiming to change the driving experience of the modern car. There is not any word yet on when PSA Peugeot Citroen’s augmented reality windshield will be integrated with their cars but they are likely to release before 2020. -Amanze Ugoh