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Augmented Reality

Magic Leap Unveils its Mixed Reality Headset

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Magic Leap has been around for many years, but it’s just now revealing its first product. Rony Abovitz founded the company in 2010, and he first demonstrated some of the technology his company was developing at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Since then, Magic Leap has been in the news many times for the incredible amount of funding it secured from a variety of high-profile investors. In 2014, Google invested half a billion dollars, and in February 2016, the company secured another $793 million in Series C funding.

The large investments in Magic Leap’s infrastructure before the company even announced a product left the world questioning what it could possibly be brewing behind closed doors. Today, Magic Leap revealed the first images and details of the product it plans to ship in the coming months. The Magic Leap One headset is an augmented reality device that takes advantage of Magic Leap’s advanced Digital Lightfield technology, which seamlessly merges digital content with the real world. Magic Leap said it uses Lightfield Photonics to generate digital light that blends seamlessly with the real-world lighting.

Magic Leap is treating the first iteration of its headset as somewhat of a developer kit. The company said that the Magic Leap One Creator Edition headset would be available for creators in early 2018, but it has not mentioned plans for a consumer rollout of the device. Despite Magic Leap’s intention to launch the product as a developer kit first, it’s clear from the product shots that the Magic Leap One headset is a well refined device. Unlike Oculus’ first developer kit models, the Magic Leap One headset appears ready for the mass market.

The Magic Leap One headset comes in a surprising form factor. Critics of AR and VR have often said that the devices must be less bulky and resemble a pair of glasses. The Magic Leap One isn’t quite as compact as a pair of glasses, but it shares a similar form factor. The device rests on the bridge of your nose and features a headband that wraps around your head.

The Magic Leap One headset is bulkier than a pair of glasses, but it’s more compact than any AR or VR hardware we’ve ever tried. It’s also one of the few self-contained AR devices, which is an impressive feat. Magic Leap managed to keep the headset compact by separating the compute module from the headset. The headset includes a tethered device you can clip to your belt that houses the CPU, GPU, and other components.

Magic Leap has not revealed the specifications of the tethered computing device, and we don’t know enough about it even to speculate. The tethered device doesn’t look large enough to house laptop-class hardware, but Magic Leap claimed that it delivers laptop-like performance. We’re not sure what to make of that claim. However, if the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC (likely), Magic Leap’s marketing team could simply be capitalizing on the recent reveal of Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows laptops.

Apps

Dell Technologies Launches AR App to Help You Repair Dell Systems

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Dell Technologies has announced a first-of-its-kind augmented reality app for IT repairs, the Dell AR Assistant. This free application (available on both IOS and Android) provides a step-by-step augmented reality experience to help customers replace parts on their Dell systems, enabling the next generation of consumer repairability.

AR Assistant users can see their devices and how to repair them using mixed reality and informational overlays on the machine being repaired, leveraging a smartphone camera. The app also has an augmented clone technology on select systems, which displays a cloned server in any desired space and allows full 360-degree interaction.

Dell’s AR Assistant guides users through servicing and repair procedures for more than 100 Dell PCs and servers in seven different languages. Dell is currently working to add over 20 additional systems by the end of the summer. The aim is to enable consumers to easily repair devices themselves where they are able to – and ultimately reduce repair time for issues that can be resolved by the users themselves, with a little help from Dell.

The app’s development was fast-tracked during the early months of the pandemic when technicians were unable to visit people’s homes. Currently, the use of the Dell AR Assistant is dependent on proper diagnosis first, then ordering parts through the technical support team. The future plan is to make parts more readily and easily available for sale online for an even easier customer experience.

The Dell AR Assistant also upholds Dell’s wide-reaching and longstanding commitment to sustainability. By making parts more accessible, replaceable, and reusable, Dell can exhaust fewer resources and keep more circular materials in the economy, while helping customers extend the life of their systems.

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Apps

Snapchat Brings the Saudi UNESCO Heritage Site to Life with Augmented Reality

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Snap Inc. has collaborated with the Royal Commission of AlUla to bring a new dimension to the Desert X AlUla art exhibition, with the first sponsored Landmarker in the Middle East.

During the event, artists Zahrah Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia), eL Seed (Tunisia) and Lita Albuquerque (United States) will feature their work on Snapchat’s inaugural the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Landmarker location, Qasr Al Farid. The artists’ work will be brought to life using a dedicated lens, creating an exciting augmented reality (AR) experience for everyone to participate in.

“We are excited to have Desert X AlUla, the first international collaboration for Desert X, as part of Winter at Tantora festival,” said Nora Aldabal, Arts and Culture Programs Director at Royal Commission of AlUla. “Artists from around the world will showcase their art in the desert of AlUla, home to a series of fascinating historical and archaeological sites. Having Snapchat participate in this landmark event will bring the landscape of AlUla to life in an entirely new light, in a juxtaposition of modern technology and history.”

To enable the feature, when Snapchatters are close to Qasr Al-Farid they will be prompted to find the icon of this landmark. Royal Commission of AlUla’s sponsored lens will be the first placement in Snapchat’s lens carousel, and as Snapchatters point their phones’ cameras at Qasr Al-Farid, they will be able to bring to life the work of the three exhibiting artists over a 6-week time span at 2-week intervals each. Each experience is specific to the artist’s work and will have its own unique sound to come full circle.

“I am thrilled to be among the artists whose work will be uniquely displayed on Qasr Al-Farid using a Snapchat Lens,” said Zahrah Al Ghamdi, one of the exhibiting artists at Desert-X AlUla. “This amazing feature will transform my artwork into an interactive experience. Augmented reality has become an integral element that brings art to life and provides people with an unparalleled experience.”

Introduced in 2019, Landmarkers are Snapchat Lenses that enable augmented reality experiences that transform the world’s most iconic landmarks in real-time.

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Augmented Reality

Lenovo Mirage AR to Power Marvel Dimension of Heroes

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Following the successful launch of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, Lenovo and Marvel will immerse fans in one of the world’s most beloved franchises with the new Marvel Dimension of Heroes, available only on Lenovo Mirage AR. This new smartphone-powered augmented reality experience lets players harness the powers of six legendary Marvel Super Heroes in an original story which sees them take on infamous Super-Villains standing right before them in their own living rooms.

Players download the free Marvel Dimension of Heroes app onto a compatible smartphone, and with the power of the Lenovo Mirage AR headset and new dual Universal Controllers, they can embark upon an adventure spanning three full-fledged modes and an incredible variety of augmented reality playstyles. With the new controllers, players can use both hands to punch, slice and blast their way through exhilarating battles, while ducking and dodging enemy attacks, thanks to Lenovo Mirage AR’s freedom of movement.

Lenovo Mirage AR also allows continued play of the hit experience Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, letting you use the new Universal Controller to engage in lightsaber duels, command troops in battle, and play Holochess. In Marvel Dimension of Heroes, players wield the legendary weapons and powers of Doctor Strange, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Star-Lord against a host of augmented reality Super-Villains.

The game is playable across the following three modes:

  • Play through an original Marvel story in Story Mode, in which the Dread Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension, launches a surprise attack on Earth with his alliance of Super-Villains, including Loki, Ronan the Accuser, Ultron Prime, and the Winter Soldier. With the Earth in ruins, Doctor Strange manages to turn back time to secure a second chance to save the planet. Players assume the role of all of the game’s six playable Super Heroes to battle the interdimensional forces that threaten the world.
  • Survival Mode lets players use their heroic powers, playing as any of the game’s six heroes, to fend off waves of powerful enemies. Players compete to achieve the highest score and rise up the game’s global online leaderboards.
  • Finally, players can also partner up with a friend in Co-Op Mode, where they each play as a Marvel hero battling the forces of evil side-by-side in the same room, while competing against each other for high scores. (Each player must be equipped with the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, two Universal Controllers, a Tracking Beacon, and be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Each player must also download the latest version of the Marvel Dimension of Heroes app on a compatible smartphone. Players are recommended to stand side by side in the same direction, facing the Tracking Beacons about 4 feet away).

Lenovo Mirage AR consists of the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, dual Universal Controllers, and the Tracking Beacon, offering immersive control over both Marvel Dimension of Heroes’ array of weapons and superpowers, as well as the various modes of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Lenovo Mirage AR experiences can be downloaded to a variety of compatible Android phones and iPhones. Players purchasing Lenovo Mirage AR can install Marvel Dimension of Heroes and Star Wars: Jedi Challenges at no additional cost on a compatible smartphone.

“Lenovo Mirage AR with Marvel Dimension of Heroes is another milestone demonstrating Lenovo and Marvel’s shared passion for bringing rich, immersive consumer experiences to life through smarter technology. After years of close collaboration with Disney starting from Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, we’re excited to expand this incredibly fun and interactive experience for more gamers and especially Marvel fans to enjoy,” said Johnson Jia, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Business of Intelligent Devices Group, Lenovo.

Users begin by downloading the Marvel Dimension of Heroes app onto their compatible smartphone and inserting it into the tray of the Lenovo Mirage AR headset. The lightweight headset senses the user’s movements during gameplay, aided by a Tracking Beacon placed on the floor to serve as its fixed reference point in physical space.

No more sitting idly staring at a screen. Now players can engage and fight their enemies in free and natural motion through the headset’s inside-out positional tracking (enabled by two built-in fisheye sensors). The headset pairs with the Lenovo Mirage AR Universal Controllers, which are worn over the knuckles to give players an empowering sense of control over their weapons and superpowers.

The controllers also allow for complex hand and wrist motions that combine offensive and defensive moves, and its control buttons are dynamically adjusted to function on hold release or press, allowing for intuitive open hand gestures and control of complex artillery. As a result, each one of the six Super Heroes feels like a completely distinct character and playing experience, with entirely different move sets and controls.

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