#Augmented Reality

How AR gaming can surpass players’ previous expectations.

Animersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

AR gaming has been a hugely successful development in the industry, and we can expect to see the technology getting better and cheaper as there is more investment. But for many people currently, the experience is still off-limits and if we do get our hands on the games, it is rarely, and not for long.

The success of the games lies in their hyper-realistic immersion. By incorporating player’s actual environments, this experience is heightened, to the point where players truly feel like they are in the game, as opposed to controlling a character. Generally, the more invested we are in a piece of media, the more we enjoy the experience, and one sure fire way to generate investment it to allow players total immersion. This is known as “spatial presence,” where we feel as though the game is real, and its successful implementation is a key element of AR, and what sets it apart from traditional video games.

Augmented Reality also can create the illusion of 3-dimensions and depth using 2-dimensional figures and sprites. Players create a mental model in their heads of the games fictional space, which, either consciously or unconsciously, builds a 3-D view of the world. There is a definite shift from viewing games as products to be sold, to experiences to be had. The use of avatars as representatives of people in the real world, be it the player or non-playable characters, allows us to create idealised versions of ourselves, become more engrossed in the game world, and boost our level of immersion. This may be due to the fact that when we can identify with the character, their fate affects us more significantly.

The difficulty of AR games is one of the selling points. Provided the challenge isn’t to extreme, working towards meaningful and difficult goals creates real investment in the game, and upon victory, the feeling of elation and flood of endorphins encourages the player to return to the AR world. Provided we feel the challenge is passable, then we are willing to fail over and over again, learning from our mistakes to eventually succeed, and this level of dedication is tied to the level of immersion. The more immersive, the more dedicated you will be, and this is where AR excels. And conversely, even hard games can be excellent forms of stress relief, and augmented reality ones are no exception, especially shooters. The well documented positive feelings created when playing video games can provide a form of cathartic release for stress and has been shown to help in the treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

What is phone to phone Augmented Reality? And what impact will it have?

Animersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

Augmented Reality, or AR, is technology that overlays information onto the real world, allowing us to interact with ordinarily abstract data on a physical level. Via a smartphone, we can see information such information superimposed onto our surroundings. Nowhere has this been more influential than Pokémon Go, along with other AR applications and games.

The industry is only expected to swell, and as a result, many different companies, like Apple and Google, are rushing to develop their own AR technology. This includes platforms and toolkits, using which, developers can create new AR apps on their smartphones, with no modifications to the phone being required. The more developers on the respective platforms, the more new and revolutionary ways of putting AR to good use, and thus, more revenue for the companies whose toolkits they use.

The next big development will be to allow two different users to see the same virtual object, in the same space, on their individual devices. Now that isn’t to say that the technology doesn’t already exist, it does. The problem is that at the moment, for two people to see the same object, a scan of the environment is required, and the mapping data is collected. This raises privacy issues, and how companies use, or misuse, personal information has become a huge taking point in recent years. If two users, for example, scan their houses in order to see the same virtual object, and a data breach allows the mapping information to be stolen, for example, then suddenly the inside of one’s home is made common knowledge.

So the trick is to find a way to let two users see the same object, without requiring a scan of one’s current location. From a creative perspective, the phone to phone connectivity would be revolutionary, and open the door to a whole new world of possibilities, from video games and beyond. Imagine, for example, on a construction site. Workers will all be able to see the same underground pipe, which would go a long way to preventing accidents which could cost not only money, but lives. Or two architects who can both see a visual model of the building they are designing on-location, and can therefore streamline the design process. But if one wants to upscale, it isn’t clear how this phone to phone network could support any more than two users, and if it could, whether it would be work properly. And there are privacy issues to consider if the technology is to be fully embraced.

In conclusion, phone to phone AR opens up a lot of possibilities. Video game developers are excited, and the potential applications go far beyond that to all industries. But there are a number of privacy issues to consider, and the security of the user needs to be guaranteed in order for the technology to be adopted.

Check Out Our DeepFrame One at the Great Exhibition of the North

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We are delighted to be headlining the country’s largest event of 2018 – The Great Exhibition of the North – with Animmersion’s unique revolutionary mixed-reality display, DeepFrame One.

The event – launched 22nd June – will feature a programme of exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation, new artworks and experiences packed into 80 days and spread across three hubs in the city of Newcastle. 

We are proud to be showcasing these experiences through the UK’s first DeepFrame One – invented by the Danish company Realfiction – which is set to change the way viewers see things. Merging the real and virtual world allows viewers to experience lifelike visuals never before seen without the use of traditional and immersive VR eyewear.

With a window like display, the DeepFrame One is the largest mixed-reality display of its kind and will be featuring in The Great Exhibition of the North for nine weeks across some of the exhibition’s key venues.  These include:

·        Eldon Square for two weeks showcasing how car showrooms could look int the future together with a Lego display that will include some of the most breath-taking visuals

·        The Hancock Museum for a further six weeks where an incredible raptor experience will take viewers into the prehistoric world together with a commissioned artist, Arcus Studios, that take the viewer on a journey through five hundred and seventy million years of Earth’s history, stopping off at the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras

·        The Sage Gateshead where the public will be invited to create their own immersive musical experience encompassing some of the North Easts best known landmarks.

As one of the most high-profile and visually stimulating events that the region has seen for some time, we are absolutely delighted to have been asked to be an integral part of this through the use of the DeepFrame One.

To find out more about the event, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Are we Sims or like Neo in the Matrix?

Animersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

The concept of a simulation has been around for a long time. Using computers, we have been able to predict how certain series of events may play out, using simulations, which has the benefit of being pretty much risk free in the real world, at worst, they waste a bit of power.

But with the international success of the movie The Matrix, and of course the amazing ‘Ready  Player One’ a new idea, that we ourselves could be living inside a computer simulation, has been thrust forward, with some very high profile exponents – according to Elon Musk

“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following,” Musk said. “40 years ago we had Pong. Two rectangles and a dot. That’s where we were.”

“Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality.”

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, just indistinguishable.”

When you consider the developments in VR and AR, is it impossible to believe that one day both VR and AR – combined with haptics – will become indistinguishable from reality? If so, then statistically it is likely that this has in fact already happened, and we are indeed living within it.

Whether Musk is right or not, we would probably never know, what is more interesting, we believe, is what sort of simulation is the most likely?

There are a two main different prospects, both of which have been championed by different thinkers. The two kinds of simulation we will be talking about are the kind proposed in Nick Bostrom’s now famous Simulation Argument (2003), which is available online, and the Neural Simulations proposed by Barry Dainton in his piece “On Singularities and Simulations.”(2012)

Bostrom proposes something he calls an “ancestor simulation” which involves our descendants using their super powerful computers to simulate consciousness within a machine. From there, they would simulate humanity’s history, complete with their ancestors, all of who would be fully conscious beings, but would exist in a computer like in The Sims video game, rather than a brain.

The other kind of simulation is more like what we see in the movie The Matrix, where we are plugged into something that makes us think we are living a certain life, with certain memories. Our own consciousness would be saved on a back-up, ready to be re-installed at a moment’s notice. Put simply, it is a controlled hallucination, where we think we are someone else, and have all their memories instead of our own.

Both of these ideas have their positives and negatives. To create an ancestor simulation requires that we be able to create consciousness in a machine. Philosophy of the mind has a huge body of literature, but what is clear is that people disagree as to whether consciousness can exist outside a human brain or not. A neural simulation doesn’t have this problem. But, it is a lot harder to successfully manipulate consciousness to the sufficient degree that one might think. But if Musk is right, then despite it being featured in a blockbuster movie, we think it is the most likely.

For more information about this, and in order to make up your own mind about which option is more likely, we thoroughly recommend you seek out the work of the two philosophers we have discussed.

The Simulation Hypothesis by Nick Bostrom is available free online, and Barry Dainton’s On Singularities and Simulations was published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies in 2012.

Bibliography
Bostrom, N, Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?, Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 53, NO. 211, pp. 243 – 255, 2003
Dainton, B, On Singularities and Simulations, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2012

Augmented Reality can take the uncertainty out of shopping.

Animersion UK | User Interface Development | Virtual reality logo

The Augmented Reality industry is expended to swell over the coming years, and as a result, we can expect to see the technology becoming more and more mainstream. AR developers will drive the technology so that it will impact in many industries, and retail is no exception.

Online shopping has already made the process easier, and overlaying data onto the real world is another step-up. More and more different brands, producing different products, will find uses for Augmented Reality in their business.

Take, for example, buying beauty products.

Using AR, you could easily see how different shades of makeup would look on you, without having to go through the hassle of wiping layers off and re-applying them. As well as this, for anyone who may be self-conscious about trying on make-up in store, augmented reality allows one to do it from the comfort of your own home.

Another use would be buying furniture. Being able to instantly see whether, for example, a sofa will fit through the door, rather than finding out when it’s too late, removes some of the stress, as well as streamlining the purchasing experience. And even before making the purchase, you can use AR to visualise how various piece of furniture would look in your home, before making your mind up about which one to buy.

The same is true of clothes as well, with some shoe companies creating an app to let you try them on before you buy, albeit in the virtual domain.

Augmented reality is going to link well to the rise of wearable technology, and all us to interact with data on a physical level, fundamentally altering our relationship with information. Shopper will undoubtedly benefit from the onset of AR, and so will retailers, who should be excited about the potential boost in sales on offer.

As well as this, the experience will become more streamlined and personalised, which builds trust between consumers and retailers, which can be mutually beneficial for both parties.

AR and dining – how Augmented reality will improve our eating experiences.

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Going out for a meal is a very popular activity, and yet, up till now, has largely avoided the opportunities presented by Augmented Reality.

But this is changing rapidly, and to that end, we have compiled a list of areas in which the advent of virtual and augmented reality technology is going to impact.

For a start there are many unknown factors that we consider when picking where to eat, whether it is child-friendly, for example. Traditionally, Googling the website and reading some online reviews might have been sufficient, but with AR technology, this information is even easier to find.

Apps are being developed to give you an immediate list of restaurants local to your area, delivering a greater understanding of the options available to you. Using GPS technology and your phones camera, the information can then be simply overlaid onto the real world, providing you with instant information about local eateries.

The technology also exists that allows you to actually visualise the meal in 3D before you order it. Given that the aesthetics of a meal has a signficiant impact on the overall experience, this seems like an excellent way to ensure your dining experience is a good as possible. The amount of information your brain takes in visually is astounding, and visualising the meal before it arrives is a great way to decide if you want it or not. There is also the suggestion that this kind of technology can make the service process more efficient, especially if the restaurant is short staffed.

Augmented reality also allows for the possibility of allergy information to be overlaid over dishes, so as to help avoid any accidental ingestion. This adds a level of convenience to a process that is often made quite difficult due to the relative incomprehensibility of food labels, imagine this integrated into the shopping experience, selection of produce by those with allergies could become much easier.

Finally, Augmented Reality provides a great opportunity for advertisers, providing an easy way to get their brands exposed to a large audience. Bringing the menu to life is an excellent way for marketers to entice customers towards their products.