If it keeps on rainin, the levee’s gonna break.

It is common knowledge that as technology evolves, individuals are becoming more informed and driven to create content aligned to their passions. Think about the content you are seeing in your social feeds – your colleague’s oddball memes, Aunt Sue with puppy’s ears and your old school mate Trevor Lam and his latest “work of art” – everyone around us is getting more and more able to express their creativity and publish it too. Facebook Augmented Reality (AR) is going to allow people to express themselves a whole lot more.

 

Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.

– Mark Zuckerberg

 

What is F8 – and why should you care?

The Facebook Developers conference (F8) was first hosted in 2007 – where the team at FB presented the social graph – or a rendition of the concept of a social network. Subsequent editions of F8 hosted similarly theoretical principles behind the evolution of the behemoth that FB is today. Essentially, this is the conference where they announce their next plans, and given how integrated FB is in our lives today – you might want to be aware of what’s ahead.

 

F8 2017: Facebook Augmented Reality

Earlier this week, at F8 2017, Mark Zuckerberg (Zuck!) shared an update on the next phase of FB’s 10-year product plan, originally shared in at F8 2016. Commencing with some warm up jokes about the release of Fast and the Furious 8 (the “other” F8 ) this week, Zuck proceeded to give us a snapshot of how FB plans to integrate AR into camera functions in their apps.

 

Click to read: Business Insider’s article on the release of the FB 10-year plan

Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote from Day 1 of F8

 

FB, AR & Cameras – how do they come together?

In recent times, the FB family of apps (FB, Messenger, Instagram & Whatsapp) have seen the integration of camera icons across the board – enabling functions such as video conferencing. While these changes have gone unnoticed by some, it is estimated that the FB messenger app has 1.2 billion monthly users.

 

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FB Messenger with camera Icon (Source: Forbes)

Click to read: Forbes article on Facebook Messenger passing 1.2 billion users

 

And how does AR fit into this equation?

Zuck went on to share a common understanding that AR is essentially used for three key purposes;

  • The overlay of data onto the physical reality around us – such as messages or information
  • The ability to add digital objects into our surroundings – like a virtual television or gaming avatars
  • Enhancements to physical objects around us – like buildings or human faces.

Facebook Augmented Reality will work by aggregating these tools – the cameras within FB apps will allow users to create AR “experiences” – and they will seem quite familiar once you see them. AR is not rare – we’ve all seen it in one form or the other – quite possibly most recently in the form of Pokemon Go.

Now, we all know that Pokemon Go was a huge driver in bringing AR to the mainstream – even if it was little more than a temporary fad for most. You’ve also undoubtedly heard us go on about how the popularity of the game was influential in the voluminous cash injection industry players received in 2016. But this could very well be, to quote Led Zeppelin, when the levee’s gonna break.

 

Where might you have seen AR in action?

Some use cases we’ve found interesting

 

So how does it all work exactly? (A splash of technical jargon)

This vision comes to life with the incorporation of some technological building blocks;

  • Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) – a technique borrowed from Artificial intelligence – enabling users to integrate digital elements into the reality in front of them
  • 3D effects – capturing and interacting with scenes that you can explore and effects that you can adjust
  • Object recognition – technology that can identify items around you, that can then be targets for the overlay of digital content

 

What about Virtual Reality?

AR and Virtual Reality align quite well, and in that vein, FB is launching a platform called Facebook spaces – where you can interact with people in a virtual environment through the Oculus Rift.

 

Facebook spaces (from F8 2017)

Meanwhile, we’ve been doing our own experiments with the Rift too!

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Early days in terms of adoption – and the plan for an open platform

Zuck reiterated a key message around AR: It is yet in a rudimentary phase of development – and most of the use cases around us are still evolving too. Don’t expect the world to change overnight.

That being said, in offering an open platform and leveraging the huge universe that lives on FB – users will be able to create AR experiences on their own, and share them online. In doing so, new users will have access to parallel creations by fellow users from around the internet.

This spike in available content will invariably help everyone around us find AR experiences that fit their fancy – especially if this punt from FB is a good one – and at Appearition, we certainly believe Facebook Augmented Reality is going to be something special for all of us.

 

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in Rio Olympics 2016

We’ve come a long way from television broadcasts of sporting events where inclement weather, bad lighting or overexposure often resulted in dull, poor quality images. We now enjoy crisp, crystal clear footage of our favourite sporting events, on demand, in high definition.

With innovations in technology, the viewing experience of watching a sports broadcast is becoming increasingly just that, an experience.

The recent Rio Olympics was one such example. Not only was it broadcast in high definition (HD), some events were broadcast in the latest 8k Ultra high definition.

But more than clear images, the adoption of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and 360 degree imagery is what really set this olympics apart.

Significant portions of the Rio Olympics were broadcast in HD in VR. From the opening and closing ceremonies, to selected events such as track and field, beach volleyball and gymnastics, approximately 85 hours of VR footage from Rio was made available for viewing.

Specially developed, custom-made cameras were rolled out specifically to capture this footage in all its glorious, ultra high-definition. Using compatible headsets and their mobile phones, for the first time, viewers could enjoy and experience portions of the Olympics, as if they were there.

blog-rio-img1No longer was the opening ceremony something to watch from one point of view on a screen. With a VR headset, your entire visual field became the screen, and the ceremony was not just in front of you, but behind and to the sides. It’s almost like you were there. And this is exactly what Production Manager for Olympic Broadcasting Services, Karen Mullins, wanted from this unprecedented method of sports broadcasting.

“VR is not about viewing in a traditional sense,” said Mullins. I’s about an ‘experience’ and we always tend to describe it as that, rather than as coverage.”

And what an experience it was. To watch the world’s top athletes go for gold on a flat screen is one thing. But to experience it as it happens around you, while in the comfort of your living room, is quite another. Even for those without compatible headsets, numerous providers had uploaded 360 degree videos of Olympic teasers, events and interviews on YouTube.

All one needed was to cue up a video and use a mouse pointer to scroll around for a complete 360 degree view. Even without a headset or VR goggles, it’s quite an arresting visual experience.

But technological innovations at the Olympics didn’t stop at virtual reality. A host of studios and companies employed heavy use of augmented reality in their presentation.

AR graphics seemed to dominate televised broadcasts of the Olympics. From simple graphics of data and stats, to touchscreen tables in front of TV presenters where Olympic basketball events appeared to be played out live and in miniature.

There was even a memorable 3D capture of sprinter Usain Bolt, who seemed to came alive in the studio, right next to TV presenters.

The Olympics were a notable testing ground for these new technologies, but it didn’t stop at just broadcasting.

The events themselves utilized a host of technological improvements, such as underwater lap counters, video referees for certain sports, real time GPS tracking for canoe sprints and rowing (to name a few).

There were also drones streaming images live from stadiums.

All things considered, “watching” a sports broadcast, in the traditional sense, might soon be a relic of the past. Increasingly, with technological advancements in VR and AR technology, sports broadcasts are becoming things to experience more than just watch.

The recent Olympics were most likely just a taster, a testing ground that showed us what was possible – that being a passive viewer is giving way to being an active spectator.

You no longer have to view a sporting event, you can virtually be there, look around and experience the action unfold around you, in dazzling 360-degree perfection.

 

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Office move

Appearition Pty Ltd Australian headquarters has now moved from its calm and nature filled location at Victoria Parade to the busy and bustling Queen Street in the Melbourne CBD. Continuing our award winning service, we hope the move will bring more energy and inspiration for much greater success!

You can find us at level 2, 140 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. The lifts can be a tad challenging, however have patience and don’t let that deter you from visiting our new offices.

Here’s a picture of a minor challenge during the office move. Don’t worry, no elevator or person was harmed. The painting, sadly, did not survive.

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ICT YOUNG EXPLORERS COMPETITION 2015

Congratulations to Max Breadmore of Year 10 at Caulfield Grammar School. He won third place in the Victorian division of the ICT Young Explorers Competition on Saturday 29 August 2015. For his project, he developed a “Wearable Computer”. Max also won the Student’s Choice Award on the day; his project was voted the most popular of all the projects showcased. Max presented his work to a panel of industry professionals as part of the judging process, which was a wonderful experience for him. We look forward to Max joining the team at Appearition in November for a week of work experience.

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Appearition & Deakin Motion.Lab Join Forces to Push Augmented Reality Business Boundaries

Appearition Pty Ltd is proud to announce a new partnership with the Deakin Motion.Lab. Deakin Motion.Lab is a movement, art and technology research centre based at Deakin University’s Burwood Campus.

The new partnership, revealed at an event at the Motion.Lab, sees the formalisation of a long-established relationship between the two companies. It is expected to help develop innovative and effective digital solutions for Appearition’s customers that position, differentiate and add value to their brands.

The venture is a strong strategic fit, with Appearition’s ground-breaking augmented reality technology assisting the research of the Deakin Motion.Lab to be commercialised – creating exciting new business opportunities.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Deakin Motion.Lab, and are proud to be breaking the boundaries of possibilities in augmented reality,” said Mark Hillebrand.

“Seeing this need develop, Appearition has invested heavily in creating innovative technology platforms and digital solutions to ensure our product excellence. We believe that a partnership with Deakin Motion.Lab, as one of the most technologically advanced motion capture facilities in Australia, will enable a new way forward in our industry.

“It is the perfect time to combine the unique expertise, deep knowledge and quality of Appearition with the cutting edge technology and creativity of Deakin Motion.Lab and bring about a new wave of innovation.”

We are a technology company that focuses on creating cutting edge augmented reality solutions for your organisation. Our services are comprehensive. We work with our clients to design augmented reality strategies to maximise your products or services and foster meaningful engagement.

As dynamic augmented reality solution providers, we see the world through a unique lens. We help your audiences do the same. Appearition harnesses ground-breaking augmented reality technology. The kind that lets users of a smartphone, tablet or other handheld device capture a product, object or location. Then we augment the onscreen view with video, sound or 3D graphics, to unlock bold new ways for consumers to interact with their world.

About Deakin Motion.Lab

The Deakin Motion.Lab is a movement, art and technology research centre based at Deakin University’s Burwood Campus, in Melbourne, Australia. With up to 20 artists, researchers and technical staff, the lab undertakes applied, practice-led artistic research into the emerging relationships between moving bodies and new technologies.

The Deakin Motion.Lab was established in 2006 through a partnership between Deakin University, Multimedia Victoria and Act3 Animation. The centre is based within the School of Communication and Creative Arts, and collaborates closely with Deakin University’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR).

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Appearition announces new partnership with Vicomtech-IK4

Appearition Pty Ltd is very excited to announce their new partnership with Vicomtech-IK4.

Vicomtech-IK4 is an applied research centre, based in San Sebastián Technology Park. It was founded in 2001, and specialises in Computer Graphics, Visual Computing and Multimedia technologies. Similarly to Appearition,Vicomtech-IK4 aims to respond to the innovation requirements of its clients. This partnership will enable Appearition to continue delivering leading edge solutions to our clients, whilst simultaneously granting us access to individuals leading the world in the field of augmented reality.

About Vicomtech-IK4

Vicomtech-IK4 aims to respond to the innovation requirements of companies and institutions. To do this, it

  • Conducts applied research and develops multimedia visual interaction and communications technologies.
  • Complements and closely collaborates with industry, universities and other technology centres.
  • Promotes mobility and training for its researchers.

This takes the form of around a hundred applied research projects per year (carried out with industries and authorities on a local, national and European level), approximately 100 researchers and a yearly turnover of 7 million euros.

 

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Relive the magic of Vox Lumen

Vox Lumen: People into Light was a live performance collaboration between Deakin Motion.Lab, Centre for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR), AppeARition, and Federation Square that transformed the heart of the City of Melbourne into a visual wonderland.

A series of abstract digital projections and live dancer-driven motion capture merged to create a 12-hour event that lit up the iconic Federation Square.

From today, you can relive the magic of Vox Lumen in the palm of your hand. Features of the Vox Lumen mobile app include:

An elegant user interface design that allows users to easily access content

A range of high resolution panoramic photographs to scroll through Background on the live performance of Vox Lumen and Deakin Motion.Lab

The app is free to download from Google Play and the iTunes store.

 

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