Magic Leap has announced they are acquiring Computes, a decentralized mesh computing startup. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. From Magic Leap’s blog post: From the beginning, Chris Matthieu and Jade Meskill started Computes, Inc. based on the principle of enabling the next generation of computing. We believe Magic Leap is the perfect home to achieve this vision Why would Magic Leap want to get their hands on this company? Well, it’s no secret that building a “digital layer” on top of the real world is more than a little compute-heavy; mesh computing offers an attractive future for leveraging the power of grouped systems to push resources to the devices that need it most. The company’s website does a not-so-great job of explaining what exactly they do, but here’s a blip from one of the company’s whitepapers: The Lattice protocol allows authorized computers to self-organize into a mesh computer, limited only by the number and power of the members. Lattice will intelligently allocate work to the best members of the mesh, based on the requirements of the task. This is an interesting idea for AR headset systems, where eventually most of them may be in standby on average and could theoretically push their compute power to another system. Perhaps more likely is offsite PCs with beefy internals offering the headsets a punch. On the far less sexy side, this could also just be a play for the startup to drill down some of its backend services. If you’re still curious about what they do and are interested in some even more mildly dubious explaining, check out this video from Computes’ CEO, which only mildly resembles a video from the Dharma Initiative.
Posts published in “Augmented Reality”
Auto Added by WPeMatico
2018 has been the year that AR promises came face-to-face with reality. While Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore sparked a ravenous response from developers that had grown worried about VR’s near-term market and the fate of AR headsets from Microsoft and Magic Leap, little seemed to resonate deeply with consumers. That realization is part of the reason AR startups working on backend services and more base level development pipelines have seen so much success. Onstage at Disrupt SF 2018, we’ll be chatting with Anjney Midha, the CEO of an AR startup called Ubiquity6. The startup was founded just a year ago but has already raised more than $37 million to solve some of the hardest augmented reality problems that companies like Google and Apple are working hard to solve, as well. Its backers include Google’s Gradient Ventures, First Round, Benchmark and KPCB, where Midha previously ran a small fund. The company is tackling problems like multiplayer interactions and world mapping as well as issues key to more immersive gameplay like making sure that virtual objects stay tied to physical markers in-between gaming sessions. Ultimately, the company’s work is aiming to promote the Ubiquity6 app to be a hub for AR experiences that will have a development backbone that enables much deeper AR interactions for users. Ubiquity6 is ambitious about the scale of their AR capabilities. While so many companies are focusing their efforts on how to capture AR interactions taking place in the living room, Ubiquity6 is actively working to map entire cities so it can deliver massive AR experiences that can turn heads (or at least phones). We’re looking forward to chatting with Midha and hearing about how his startup is planning to compete with some of the world’s biggest tech companies in building out a digital reality that’s projected onto our own. The full agenda is here. Passes for the show are available here.
Remember the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruz walks through the mall and thousands of holographic ads pop up around him? That reality may not be as far off as we thought. Blippar, the augmented reality startup that launched back in 2011, is today announcing the launch of a new product that would let retailers, airports, commercial real estate owners, etc. place augmented reality content across their space. The product is called the Blippar Visual Positioning System, and it uses computer vision and augmented reality to help customers, tenants, etc. find their way through a large indoor space such as a grocery store, department store, or stadium. This isn’t Blippar’s foray into AR navigation. The company launched the AR City app in the summer of 2017, which uses the camera of the phone to pinpoint a user’s location with better accuracy than GPS, according to the company. Blippar rolled out functionality for AR City in more than 300 cities. But the visual positioning system should prove more lucrative. Location services is one critical piece of our digital lifestyle that hasn’t been completely overwhelmed by advertisements. But it’s not hard to imagine advertisements popping up within a department store or sports stadium as a user looks for the beauty department or the closest hotdog, respectively of course. Blippar sees an opportunity to use this for retail and shopping, entertainment and gamification, tourism, and even design, giving interior designers a chance to check out AR furniture, paint colors, etc. But there’s also a huge play here around data. Facebook may know just about everything about you, but the advertising behemoth hasn’t made the most of leveraging a user’s location. Blippar might stand a chance at doing just that with the new visual positioning system, giving retailers unprecedented information around the way that customers move through a store. Because the system uses computer vision to determine a user’s location, the product can be used in offline mode. Blippar uses blueprints, photography, and 3D models of buildings to build out the visual positioning system, and can turn around the project almost immediately if…
“Augmented reality for enterprise” is the sort of phrase that surely hits all of the right neurological pleasure centers for VCs. No surprise, then, that Scandit just raised a $30 million Series B, in a round led by GV (née Google Ventures) and NGP Capital. That joins a previous $13 million raise for the Zurich-based startup. We highlighted the company back in early 2017. At the time, its mission was focused on weaning enterprises off of pricey proprietary scanning hardware — instead, its technology leveraged standard smartphones with custom software on top. AR has also always been a key part of the Scandit picture. The company has focused on the Microsoft Hololens and other wearable displays as ways to help streamline warehouses. “A number of data capture use cases for HoloLens come to mind,” the company wrote in a 2016 blog post. “For example, a warehouse associate with a HoloLens headset could be directed with virtual markers to the correct items. They could then use the built-in HoloLens camera for hands-free scanning. HoloLens could also indicate where an item should be placed once it is scanned, or deliver additional information about scanned objects.” This latest round will go toward growing the company globally and introducing its technology across various mobile platforms or “any camera-equipped device,” as it puts it in a press release tied to the news. “This new funding will enable us to keep up our rapid growth, but also, looking at the bigger picture,” says CEO Samuel Mueller, “it’s going to increase the overall adoption of mobile computer vision and augmented reality in the enterprise, which will help to streamline operations and lead to cost savings.”
The team at Octi says it’s building a crucial piece of the augmented reality puzzle — the ability to understand the human body and its movement. Co-founder and CEO Justin Fuisz told me that most existing AR technologies (including Apple’s ARKit) tend to be “plane-based” — in other words, while they can make something cool appear against a real-world background, it’s usually on a flat surface, like a table or the floor. Octi, on the other hand, recognizes where people are in-camera, and it can use that understanding to apply a variety of different effects. For example, Fuisz and his team showed me how they could dance around their office while bright, squiggly lines overlaid their bodies — and then they erased their bodies entirely. They also showed me how effects could be tied to different gestures, like how a “make it rain” motion could result in dollar bills flying out of their hands. To do this, Octi says it’s built sophisticated machine learning and computer vision technology. For starters, it looks at a human being and detects key points, like eyes, nose, hips and elbows, then uses those points to construct a model of a skeleton. Fuisz suggested that the technology could be applied to a number of different industries, including fashion, fitness, entertainment and gaming. In fact, the company is announcing a partnership and strategic investment from the OneTeam Collective, the accelerator of the NFL Players Association. As a result, Octi plans to create and distribute avatars of more than 2,000 NFL players. In addition, Octi is announcing that it has raised $7.5 million in seed funding from Shasta Ventures, I2BF Ventures, Bold Capital Partners, Day One Ventures, Human Ventures, Live Nation and AB InBev, plus individuals, including former Pandora and Snap executive Tom Conrad, WeWork Chief Product Officer of Technology Shiva Rajaraman, Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky, A&E Networks Chairman Abbe Raven and Joshua Kushner. If you want to try this out for yourself, the startup has its own iOS app — Fuisz described the app as a technology showcase for potential partners, but he added,…