Category: Augmented Reality

June 10, 2019 Off

Vuzix smart glasses get automatic facial recognition designed for law enforcement

By Jill T Frey

This is one of those “I’m not surprised but I am slightly terrified” moments in tech development: Enterprise smart glasses company Vuzix announced Monday that it has developed new “fully autonomous” face recognition software in partnership with software developer NNTC.

The new solution will work with Vuzix’s Blade smart glasses, which debuted at CES earlier this year and are positioned as both an enterprise and a consumer product. It’s called iFalcon Face Control Mobile, which is a mouthful, and it’s billed as an “AI-powered” solution that promises local matching against a database stored on-device on a wearable computer that pairs with a headset.

It’s intended to be used with set databases, and is ideal for “law enforcement and security guards on patrol,” according to a press release detailing the news. It can find up to 15 faces per frame in less than one second, according to the spec sheet, and … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

The Looking Glass Pro might be the weirdest all-in-one PC ever

By Jill T Frey

All-in-one PCs have adopted some pretty odd designs over the years, but I’ve never seen one quite like this.

The Looking Glass Pro is an all-in-one gaming PC that’s focused on one thing, visualizing 3D content on its bizarre lenticular display that makes you feel like you’re staring into a glass box filled with pixels. The embedded 4K display renders dozens of potential views and pipes them out as lower-res slices through some bizarre lens wizardry so that users can see the onscreen content in volumetric 60fps 3D without needing glasses.

You can get a better sense of how exactly this looks from a video that the company tweeted out.

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May 28, 2019 Off

VCs give failed AR startup Meta a do-over with new CEO, corporate entity

By Jill T Frey

AR startup Meta’s original investors might have been screwed by the company’s collapse and fire sale, but a pair of VC firms are giving the brand another shot with a new corporate entity and CEO that the new backers hope will lead to a less abysmal outcome.

Meta Company is now Meta View, “a wholly new and unaffiliated entity.”

Meta v1’s not-so-differentiated approach to the AR market led it into trouble competing with teams from Magic Leap and Microsoft that were more focused on new technologies, though Meta was also well-financed with some $73 million in funding raised, according to Crunchbase. The issue came as the company burned through that cash with the expectation that more was on the way. The unexpected dissolution of a $20 million funding round sunk the company and left it scrambling.

Ultimately, the company’s assets were sold months ago — for “less than the … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

Move over Ready Player One — the future of AR might be in furniture

By Jill T Frey

Last week Modsy, a San Francisco-based startup, raised a large amount of funding — $37 million in C-round funding to be precise. And that followed a $23 million Series B round in December 2017.

Why the large amounts I hear you ask? Well, Modsy is developing a platform that lets property owners create virtual renderings of rooms and restyle them in real time. So that means 3D automation, plus virtually positioning furniture items, combined with a marketplace where you can buy the items. Modsy’s tech replicates rooms in 360 degrees, with furniture from dozens of well-known brands. It’s a powerful combination.

The move shows that AR/VR technologies are now finding their place, not in a Ready Player One-style future, but in the more mundane, but lucrative area of interior design.

But there’s another company out there that claims to have reached 40 million users with far more modest … Read the rest

May 27, 2019 Off

Apple starts collecting data for Apple Maps in Canada

By Jill T Frey

Apple has issued a short statement on its website and in various newspapers announcing Apple Maps plans in Canada. The company plans to drive around the country with cars equipped with a ton of sensors in order to improve Apple Maps in Canada.

Apple doesn’t say when it plans to finish scanning Canadian roads and processing data. If you live in Canada, it could take a few months before you notice any change.

Last year, Apple announced that it was in the process of rebuilding Apple Maps from the ground up. And you can already see some improvements in parts of the U.S. with more detailed maps, better representations of pedestrian and green areas, more accurate building shapes, etc.

The company isn’t just doing the bare minimum as its cars are equipped with a GPS rig, four LiDAR arrays and eight cameras … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Streem buys Selerio in effort to boost its AR teleconferencing tech

By Jill T Frey

Streem, an AR startup that is meshing teleconferencing software with computer vision tech, has acquired a small U.K. startup called Selerio that’s also building out augmented reality technologies.

The startups were both members of betaworks’ VisionCamp accelerator program last year where they met and collaborated while tackling separate computer vision problems in the AR space.

Streem’s play is that they can create a kind of souped-up Skype call that enables home service providers to get more visual data in the course of chatting with home-owners. This can be something simple like character recognition that enables users to point their phone rather than reciting a 30-character serial number; the company can also take measurements or save localized notes.

The Portland startup has disclosed more than $10 million in funding, though they have also just closed a new bout of funding (they’re not sharing the amount yet).

Selerio’s focus is all … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

Modsy scores $37M to virtually redesign your home

By Jill T Frey

Modsy has raised some new cash as the computer vision startup looks to get physical and build more of the furniture it recommends. The startup announced they have closed $37 million in Series C funding led by TCV. They’ve now raised north of $70 million to date.

The service combines computer vision tech with human designer know-how to let users design the trendy home of their dreams. The process begins with a user snapping pics of their room (or multiple rooms), which Modsy then stitches into a complete 3D model of the room.

Prices range from $69 to $349 depending on what level of finesse you’re looking for.

From there Modsy designers drop in furniture from their partners, like Crate&Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm and others, if you pay for their $149 single-room premium package, you can chat with the designers and swap out pieces or try completely different styles. … Read the rest

May 20, 2019 Off

Glass graduates from Alphabet’s X as it scores new hardware update

By Jill T Frey

Google’s head-worn smart display, Google Glass, is finally ready to move the tassel.

After defining the company’s far-flung connected dreams when it was first announced in 2013, the enterprise-refocused headset is graduating from the X moonshot factory with a new hardware update that aims to make it more approachable for companies.

After a soft consumer tease that was buzz-worthy if not laughably pre-mature, Google Glass Enterprise Edition was announced two years ago and the dedicated group has been plugging along since, courting businesses to hop on board.

The design of Glass Enterprise Edition 2 doesn’t appear to be radically different from its predecessor, but under the hood there are some noteworthy changes, namely the platform now runs on Android and Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. Those changes alone are probably enough for enterprise customers to move from the non-starter camp … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Magic Leap buys Belgian startup building hologram teleconferencing software

By Jill T Frey

Princess Leia’s hologram message to Obi-Wan is getting closer to reality, at least augmented reality.

Magic Leap announced yesterday that they’ve agreed to acquire Belgian startup Mimesys. The team has been working on bringing Star Wars-esque volumetric video calls to the Magic Leap platform, and it seems that the Florida AR startup liked what they were developing. We didn’t get any details on deal terms.

The team is joining Magic Leap but will continue to service their enterprise clients, including BNP Paribas and Orange, according to their website. The startup first showed off their video conferencing tech at CES this year, which allows someone in a Magic Leap One headset to visualize a 3D representation of a person during a “video” call.

Volumetric video can be fairly fickle; the solution Mimesys has been going after relied on Intel’s RealSense depth cameras to collect and stitch footage on PCs locally then … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Under the hood on Zoom’s IPO, with founder and CEO Eric Yuan

By Jill T Frey

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Kate Clark sat down with Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of video communications startup Zoom, to go behind the curtain on the company’s recent IPO process and its path to the public markets.

Since hitting the trading desks just a few weeks ago, Zoom stock is up over 30%. But the Zoom’s path to becoming a Silicon Valley and Wall Street darling was anything but easy. Eric tells Kate how the company’s early focus on profitability, which is now helping drive the stock’s strong performance out of the gate, actually made it difficult to get VC money early on, and the company’s consistent focus on user experience led to organic growth across different customer bases.

Eric: I experienced the year 2000 dot com crash

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