5 min read
It's been a busy spring for Augmented Reality and the last week really topped it off. The 8th annual Augmented World Expo was 3 days of vendors, developers and enthusiastic end-users coming together to talk about, demo and try on the latest AR gear. If there is to be one thing I came away with from the expo it's that we haven't yet agreed what to call this thing. Augmented, Mixed or eXtended Reality. Each was used almost interchangeably. It won't matter what we call if but it sure would help the messaging if we stuck to a naming convention.
We all want the same thing. We want a device (or set of devices) that we can look through which will overlay information and interactive elements onto the real world. This information will be easy to access and quickly available. Creating objects and information for AR will be simple, requiring little to no programming. The hardware will be priced in the same range as a smart phone and weigh less. It will be personalized to us and allow access to our virtual assistant of choice.
This coming year is going to feel a bit like 2016 did for VR. We're on the cusp of some interesting hardware hitting the market at attainable prices. The big, big players are making moves...Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are all in varying stages of their AR strategies.
Google announced Google Lens at I/O in May and, assuming it works as well as it demoed, looks to be a key piece of their AR strategy. It plays to their strengths in machine learning and information management. Their continued development of Tango will make AR creation and experiences more accessible. I'd like to see Tango built into the Pixel 2 (hint, hint Google) and any other devices they make from here on out. With a likely hardware announcement in the fall, what more will come this year? Time will tell...
Microsoft released its Windows Creators Update for Windows 10. This update includes tools for the creation of Mixed Reality content. Microsoft is trying to make it as easy as possible to build content for AR (and VR) with tools provided in the OS. An interesting side note, Lorraine Bardeen (General Manager, Windows and HoloLens Experiences) used the term mixed reality exclusively in her talk at AWE. Microsoft has since announced hardware from partners Dell and Asus. We'll see what else turns up this year...time will tell...
Facebook made it clear that AR is a priority at F8. They promise to provide a platform to create AR experiences with relative ease. It's still unclear what exactly Facebook's AR Studio will mean for all of us. Time will tell...
Apple announced, just yesterday, their ARKit at WWDC as a platform for bringing solid AR content to iOS. We'll see what's truly possible and hopefully see some hints for what's to come as developers get their hands on it. Time will tell...
Magic Leap...(this space intentionally left blank)
The hardware is clunky, uncomfortable, and heavy. The experiences are neat but less than amazing. It's ok, it's early days. There are definite use cases for AR as it exists right now. Head mounted displays are great for industrial design, construction and manufacturing. Environments where having information available while keeping your hands free. The hardware is rugged and includes safety features necessary for those sectors.
Entertainment companies can start thinking about AR for project planning and previz. AR and VR are great ways to show a client what your project is really going to look like. ODG (Osterhaut Design Group) has a pair of glasses coming this fall for under the $1000 mark. This will make head mounted AR hardware accessible to small and medium design studios.
For everyone else, my hope is that we can break through the "3D graphics in our world" demos and applications and really start exploring what AR is and what it can be. Let's settle on Extended Reality as the common term. Our reality should be extended in all possible ways. Not just looking through our phones at cute animations. We posses a ton of data about the world around us and this data should be accessible to everyone in a variety of forms. Whether we hold the phone up to look through the camera, use a head mounted display or wear smart clothing that tug at us when we're near areas of interest. Existing displays in public spaces should detect our presence and provide information that's important to us (and yes, there will probably be ads too).
We're at the beginning of whatever this becomes. With the right mix of vision, open standards and acceptance we can enhance our everyday lives, be more productive and spend less time looking down at a glowing rectangle. We must be patient and work through the hype cycles and the low points to get to the good stuff. I'm looking forward to it...
1 min read
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Friends, family and total strangers. Thanks so much for coming to the spring Brewery Artwalk. Hopefully you experienced some art that spoke to you...or at the very least whispered in your general direction. I appreciate everyone that comes by to support all of us here at the Brewery. Hopefully we'll see you again in the fall. Dates will be announced shortly. If you didn't get a chance to visit I'll have my newer stuff up on art.vaughnhannon.com soon. Thanks again.
2 min read
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) provide a "tunnel" for your internet traffic from one place to another. So instead of taking the freeway with everyone else you bore your own tunnel, like Elon Musk, and take that. No one sees what goes through your tunnel except you and your VPN provider. Traditionally these are used to let remote emplyees securely connect to a corporate network.
Now that the Republicans have decided all of your data is up for grabs you may want to have your own VPN. I'm currently trying Private Internet Access. It's not a snappy modern internetty name (I mean, look at all of the vowels it has) but it's pretty descriptive of what you're getting. In the simplest setup you install an app on your desktop, laptop or mobile thingy and start it. This will connect to a remote VPN server and now all of your traffic is obscurred. Signing up for this (or another VPN if you like) is easy and relatively inexpensive. PIA allows 5 simultaneous devices so you can probably share an account with your other...if you trust them! Oh, by defautlt PIA blocks local network traffic. This is meant to protect you when you're on a public network like the one at the hipster coffee shop you keep going to. You'll want to turn that off at home if you need to access your own network to do something like, say, turn off the lights from your phone.
1 min read
We've watched our country show the world who we are. America willfully, some gleefully, elected a racist, sexist, xenophobic blowhard. His win is disappointing but the reality that so many listened to him and then actively chose him is disgusting. I thought we had made such progress. I was wrong. America is an obnoxious teenager acting out against all reason. Facts and intellectual discussion were pushed aside for outrage and hyperbole. We don't know what's coming but I know I'm going to be supporting the ACLU and the EFF in the immediate future. It's a start.
@ACLU - https:/
@EFF - https:/
Other things to start paying attention to:
Tor Project - https:/
Encrypted messaging apps like Signal
1 min read
1. Impending Verizon purchase.
2. 500 million accounts hacked (maybe more).
3. Yahoo has disabled email forwarding in an attempt to keep you.
4. You don't use it.
2 min read
There have been many, many trips to Burning Man and many, many plans to create something or other to display in the middle of the desert. As it goes time disappears and distractions mount. Participating in our theme camp was the primary focus for a long time. This year, at the last minute, I managed to pull together a little art project that would sit as a monument to my current obsession with the game of Go (igo, wei qi or baduk depending on your country of origin). The game originated in China some thousands of years ago and was nurtured and modernized by Japan. This structure was to be a nod to the Chinese and Japanese style of architecture without attempting to mimic any one structure specifically.
The plans had been rolling around in my head. I wanted to minimize the use of any screws or nails and make it as transportable as possible. I mocked up a little model in 3D and then set to figuring out the details...some of which didn't emerge until actual construction.
Here it is, mostly finished. I did add four hanging pieces of fabric in the entryways to add contrast and motion.
<a href="http://art.vaughnhannon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/IMG_20160824_173850-2.jpg"><img src="http://art.vaughnhannon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/IMG_20160824_173850-2-1024x758.jpg" alt="PaGoda" width="904" height="669" class="size-large wp-image-182" /></a> Nearly complete less a few additional details.
There is more to do and I plan on finishing some of the details I had planned but did not have time to complete. I'll also modify the structure a bit so it can live out on the open playa next year should I be accepted and placed by the Artery of Black Rock City.
<a href="https://goo.gl/photos/zaz9NvyTsMspRNre9">Feel free to check our more photos in the PaGoda Album.</a>
I would be remiss if I didn't thank my friend Jeff for assistance in the planning and producing of this project...thank you sir. And, of course, Becky for the encouragement and support in the sometimes crazy things I try to do. Thanks dear.