ReaBits Blog

The advertising and augmented reality

Consumer Society, which was formed in the late twentieth century, has both advantages and disadvantages. Its advantage consists in providing a great number of new jobs (at least before production robotics), rich, thriving economy and a huge variety of different products and services. On the other hand, it is a large number of unnecessary goods, additional financial loading on the middle and lower classes of society and, among other things, the active development of advertising technologies, including their most aggressive forms.

The story of Henry Kuttner, one of the classics of the American school of fantastic fiction, tells us about difficulties the society may face in the further development of advertising. In his work “Year Day” (1953) describes the world in which advertising has the incredible pressure on people. Using new technologies advertising content is projected in the streets, on the premises, even in private hoses. Thus, “… pushing, driving, the hypnotic whirl of colors, superadvertising planned by the best psychologists on earth, twisting everybody’s arm to squeeze out of them their last cent because there wasn’t enough dough to go around any more”. The stream does not weaken for a second, and the only way to protect you from this pressure is the expensive advertising blocker.

In 1953 the Kuttner’s world looked too grotesque and obviously sick – how can such inexcusable invasion of privacy exist? Why was such practice not legally prohibited? And is it possible to live normally under such pressure? But today we see nearly the same thing on the Internet. You can experience it every time you try to find a cross on the screen popped up in the middle of an advertising banner. And what if you look forward a little? Today, many companies are working on the widespread introduction of the augmented reality goggles. It is a remarkable technology that should be very helpful, both at work and in everyday life. It provides great opportunities for placement of advertising content virtually everywhere!

The recently released video clip of Keiichi Matsuda, «HIPER-REALITY» allows you to see how the world might look like, in which a person will be continuously connected to the augmented reality.

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Virtual trips by BMW

In recent decades, the automotive industry has been actively implementing new technologies in the production and operation of vehicles. At the end of the twentieth century we saw the emergence of on-board computers in supercars, and now models in the mid-market are equipped with them. Parktronics, navigators, and even infrared cameras for night riding have become customary. In the automobile manufacture field, widespread robotized conveyors and computer modeling are widespread in most companies. And BMW announced the use of a new approach to testing of its new models. Now the Bavarian automaker is using virtual reality goggles for it.

HTC Vive helmet was selected for a comprehensive road test. With their help, the BMW experts will be able to take a virtual trip by car, to identify a vision limitation for a driver and passengers, the possibility of the car in different weather and road conditions, dashboard ergonomics, etc. The company is planning to create maximally qualitative simulation for the operator, including the use of sound.

Much attention is paid to the selection of other equipment. The computing power of the simulator will be provided by game computers of the latest generation with water cooling. Photorealism of test trips will be provided by Unreal Engin 4, the latest version of the Epic Games engine. The engine will drive the simulation up to 90 frames per second, which is going to be supported by the latest tools for tracking actions of the HTC Vive Lighthouse virtual reality helmet user. Based on the figures obtained, all the user’s movements will be tracked every few milliseconds, which will give a very realistic effect.

Of course, the virtual simulator testing will not substitute real trips around the city, but BMW does not set such goal. This system is intended for those models that are in the process of developing and designing. Earlier, before commissioning the new car, the manufacturers had to work out a detailed scheme of a future car, create expensive models, prototypes, carry out tests, which almost inevitably identified design vulnerabilities and ran almost the whole process for a new cycle. And this system should significantly reduce costs at the design stage and, in theory, decrease the cost of new Bavarian cars.

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VR: the influence on the real world in terms of safety

At the beginning of our series, we have already touched upon the problem of cyber-security, the potential threat against the real world from the virtual one. In movies and literature, the stories about hackers who can easily hack into any database, military, and corporate systems are popular. But are they really dangerous in fact?

Charles Miller, one of the most famous cyber-security experts, worked at the National Security Agency (NSA). He was the author of the report, “How to create the cyber army and attack the United States” presented in NATO Cyber Security Center. In fact, it was a possible scenario in which it would be possible to successfully paralyze all network components of the state’s economy, to get a virtually unlimited access to information and to create huge losses to the enemy.

In this scheme, it was planned to establish 9 working groups with their own, clearly set goals: experts on vulnerabilities (search for safety system defects and software vulnerabilities of the enemy); exploit developers (creating programs that use vulnerabilities to provide access to the system); collectors of bots (infection of third-party computer for future use); support of botnets (support of communication with the third-party infected computer); agents (a group of people coming to work in the key institutions that get an access to the internal network of the enemy); operators (internal system penetration using agents); developers (creation of infected computers remote control means ); testers (testing of efficiency and reliability of equipment and software); administrative and technical staff.

There is no need to go into technical details. The Miller’s plan provides a long, about 2 years training, after which the attack is made. The attack results are:

  • Malfunctioning of the of civil and military services management systems;
  • Complete blackout or power supply failure;
  • Chaos in the systems of control of air and rail transport;
  • Cellular communication is disabled or running with considerable interruptions;
  • The Internet does not work;
  • Faulty transmission of financial data (bank transfers, electronic payments, and so on.);
  • The country is paralyzed.

To attack:

  • The European Union you need 750 people, and $ 112 million;
  • The United States, you need 592 people and $ 98 million;
  • The Russian Federation, you need 517 people and $ 86 million.
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MARVEL visual effects

2016 is rich for spectacular motion pictures. Very soon the big screen will be filled with new films about super-heroes, “The First Avenger: Civil War” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” have already received a very high praise from film critics. Published trailers showed a very high level of filming and special effects, fans are impatiently counting the days before the premiere. However, not everyone knows how the studios (MARVEL for example) create a high-quality picture and visual effects.

Below on the example of “Deadpool”, “The First Avenger: Civil War” (WARNING, SPOILERS!) and “Star Wars” we would like to show you how to create special effects.

At present it is used several key technologies of combined shooting in the film industry:

  • Chroma key;
  • CGI;
  • Repeat moves of the camera.

Decoration, on the background of which individual scenes of the film are removed, plays an important role in the film industry. For the original series «Star Trek» a lot of interior space ships was built or small areas on other planets. With the advent of the digital age, instead of scenery generating chroma key compositing has been widely used as a monochromatic backdrop for filming. With the help of digital image processing within already finished exhibition, you can create practically any background to the filmed scene.
Repeat frame motion method is used for complex scenes shooting by “one shot”. To do this, it is shot the background by using the same sequence of movements of the camera, then a group of objects (secondary objects, for example), and then the main objects that play a major role in the frame. Thereafter, via digital processing, footage combined in one layer. Thus, it can alleviate the multilevel scenes shooting with a large number of objects. In case of an error in the frame it is need to reshoot not the whole scene, but only a separate group of objects.

Computer-generated imagery technology allows superimposing static and dynamic images created by computer visualization specialists. To create the Colossus, one of the minor characters in «Deadpool» film, make-up would not be enough. Actor André Trikote was forced to put on a special suit that allows recording the body movements. Then, on the filmed material, the figure of the actor was superposed by the character image, with full preservation of all movements.

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Holoportation by Microsoft

Has everybody seen “StarWars”? We remember the communicators that have been shown in the film, blue, twitching from the holographic interference of interlocutors’ models. Microsoft Holographic teleportation is different because of best quality, there is not only blue among colors and, finally, it is a reality, not a movie!

How does it work out?
The technology of the far-distant galaxy could not suddenly appear in our world. However, it never came. Microsoft created a working model of the transmission the volumetric image of the interlocutor at a distance. At this point, the widespread of this technology using is extremely problematic.
To operate the system, every other person should be placed in a room with special cameras. Cameras scan a person in real time, making his model which is covered by textures and projected “on the other end”. But unlike the famous space saga, where the interlocutor model was projected as a hologram, you can see your vis-à-vis through augmented reality glasses.
In the future, Microsoft offers HoloLens to be used for these purposes. When this device will be modified and accessible for the average consumer, this may dramatically change our understanding of the possibilities of virtual communication.

Using Areas.
If in the near future it is possible to make a “holoportation” (as it is called by the developers) of higher quality, and most importantly affordable to purchase and use, it will be a significant impact on many areas of activity:

  • Education – a virtual presence in the classroom will be helpful both for students and teachers;
  • Business – the negotiation process between partners can greatly simplified, there will be less need to organize a trip for a personal meeting;
  • The entertainment industry – if you want to see a concert “Aerosmith” close to your place, but do not want to push in the fan zone, it can be arranged without any problems;
  • Personal communication and much more.

Butterfly Effect.
Besides the obvious advantages, the introduction of this technology can cause the appearance of additional software. For example, a simple application that allows you to apply new textures to your body model, so that you will be able to stand in front of your companion, even in the form of candlestick from the “Beauty and the Beast” cartoon. Gaming opportunities will be greatly expanded and so on. It seems that we are on the verge of changes that have occurred with video conferencing prevalence: people could communicate over the phone before, but the opportunity to see your interlocutor has significantly influenced on our communication.

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Augmented Reality – NOW

Augmented reality continues to break into our lives; Microsoft representatives have announced about a new headset HoloLens out. Last year, the development appeared in several exhibitions. Apparently, the reviews were so good that the developers have finally decided to start selling. Unfortunately, only developers will have an access to HoloLens, while ordinary consumers can only be content with demonstrations on the news shows.

And what is inside?
Microsoft is not in a hurry to disclose the information about the hardware devices. It is well known that HoloLens contains one inertial unit (IMU), a sensor of environmental changes, a few microphones and cameras. Computing power is provided by 32-bit Intel processor based on Cherry Trail. Two lenses with high resolution are responsible for the image (2.3 million points of light).

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Microsoft is actively attracting partners to work together on their new product:

  • NASA;
  • Case Western Reserve Medical School;
  • Audi;
  • Volkswagen;
  • Japan Airlines;
  • Airbus.

First applications.
The conference “Build” introduced several business applications that had been created by Microsoft and its project partners. Now a set of programs has more a demonstration character, for example: RoboRaid; Actiongram, to work with holograms; virtual tours via HoloTour; Skype, which within augmented reality will hang as a flat screen in the air.
However, in addition to rave reviews, work on HoloLens is far from completed. Presented at the exhibition applications were not extremely difficult, but the hardware part periodically encountered difficulties. The developers have done a stand-alone device that solves the problem with wires, but at the same time limits and HoloTour power.

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Hopes and fears.
It is cannot say that the market has a new competitor for the Oculus or for announced virtual reality helmet from Sony, the augmented reality does not compete directly with VR. It is rather difficult to predict how Microsoft plans are ambitious for HoloLens. Considering the starting price tag of $ 3000, we can only hope that the market will have not just another GoogleGlass wannabe, but a completely new product with unique capabilities.

Images from Microsoft.

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VR and the economy

Virtuality influenced a different way on the economy. You can find many virtual stores online, where it is possible to order almost any product that will be delivered to the buyer. But in this case, the order will be done virtually. But a product itself that will be delivered is quite real. And how should we refer to the network purchase of music, movies, software, or any other commodity that exists only in binary code? On the one hand, this is a huge opportunity for services market, cinematograph, sound recording or IT companies, and many other business areas. But there are terrible problems with copyright protection. This issue has been being on the agenda of almost all over the world since early 90s. Despite the fact that there were many attempts to solve this issue, the problem has not disappeared. On average, more than 300 songs/per second are illegally downloading in the United States, and this figure is constantly growing.

At the end of 2010, while interweaving to one TV channel, Minister of Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, Igor Shchegolev, announced a change of counteraction tactics of the online counterfeit products spread. It is necessary to create adequate price market for the intellectual property sailing, which allow right owners to receive a steady income due to the number of downloads or plays. Unfortunately, despite of some progress in this area, the main problem of piracy hasn’t been solved.

Virtual economy is also growing in the field of online games. A set of computer games designed for online playing appeared after 2000. Some of them had story restrictions, others had rigid frame of the game world. There were also those that were created as a full, in many respects, self-organizing systems, limited only by capacity of the used equipment.

Incredible freedom of the player was their basic difference, as well as the opportunity to interact with other players from all over the world and, moreover, the ability to spend real money in a virtual space. In November 2010, it was made the most expensive buying in the history of online gaming. On the resource Entropia Universe, one of the users purchased virtual, not existing property, for $ 635,000. It is an incredible of its recklessness acquisition, isn’t it? Maybe, but only if you don’t take into account the buyer’s motivation. The fact is that the shopping, entertainment and sports complex of buildings acted as a real estate. Within the game, the user can be rented a trading area for the sale of any goods from the owner for real money. The calculation is carried out through the money transfer from one account to another. You can buy your character a subscription to the pool or the gym, go shopping, paying the seller for his goods, or by paying a pass to the gym to its owner. As a result, the income of the previous complex owner was about $ 200,000 a year!

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Olympic units in Sochi

The 2014 Sochi Olympics is a worldwide event. Various designers and architects got the task to present unique and interesting projects. The specialists have presented their projects in the most realistic and accurate way, with 3D visualization. One of the Olympic park general plan variations had been developed and presented in 3D visualization, by RF Architects Union, headed by Oleg Kharchenko.

The 2014 Winter Olympics` units

There are 10 main units, which had been in the center of attention in winter 2014. All of them where made with 3D visualization:

  • Mountain cluster has lodged the complex where ski races, marathons, biathlon competitions had been conducted. At the same time, this cluster has lodged Olympic village with 1100 dwellers;
  • Mountain ski center to lodge about 18,000 spectators;
  • Sledge bobsleigh track equipped with all engineering communications had been lodged at the same mountain cluster;
  • Freestyle center and snowboard park for 29,000 spectators;
  • Ski jumps of various construction and configuration;
  • The near-bank zone has lodged small ice arena with assembly construction;
  • Ice sport palace for the conducting of competitions on short-track and figure skating;
  • Figure skating center;
  • Field for curling competitions;
  • Central stadium lodging up to 40 000 spectators.

Video – Sochi Olympics` buildings and structures
The video presentation materials, of 2011 International Forum, devoted to this Olympic Games. It`s really captivating film with impressive effects and 3D visualization.

This video has won the first place, for the best animation, graphics and special effects» at Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards ceremony. The ceremony took place in Cannes in 2012.

3D visualization of big ice-arena
Lots of talented architects and visualizers worked over Olympic units exterior and interior. The visualization of big ice arena, which differs by the presence of roof specific lighting with glowing with all colors, is especially realistic and original.

The designers of Olympic units and constructions have paid attention to interior as well. The inside of one of the main units of Sochi 2014 – big ice palace contained a lot of lighting, shining metal and glass, highlighting the design.

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Mars Base Best Projects

How will the houses on Mars look like? The participants of the unique 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition offered their vision. NASA held this contest under specific rules: architectural concepts had to be creative, functional and user-friendly. Geografical position was also taken into account. NASA underlined that participants should take advantage of the unique capabilities of 3-D printing technologies. Three winning teams received a total award of 40,000$ in the first stage of the contest. 165 teams contended for the prize, 30 highest-scoring were judged at the Market Fair on Sept. 27.

Winners

Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office teams were awarded fist place and 25,000$ for their Mars Ice House design, wich is slightly reminiscent of an Escimo igloo. The authors of Ice House believe that water resousces are of primary importance for the planet colonization. That’s why water, frozen by Red Planet’s low temperatures, allows to create mulilayer ice dwelling, providing shelter from wether and radiation.
3-D printer will print ice layers, which will instantly freeze in the cold Martian atmosphere. PTFE membrane will prevent house from vaporising (PTFE has to be produced on Earth). Fiber optics and aerogel are also required.

Second and Third places

Second place and 15,000$ was awarded to team Gamma. Gamma offered to create the buliding’s basis from inflatable pneumatic frame. The frame modules have to be fixed on Martian ground by microwave radiation. Such a building has to be constructed by robots. Team Gamma’s house looks like an octopus, naturally complementing local harsh landscape.
Team LavaHive received third place. Their concept is extremly practical: they propose to use infatable modules and used up space ship parts. These elements are supposed to become “rooms”, connected by regolith passages. This desing is definetly not a breathtaker, but still very functional.
NASA has been working on man-rated Mars expedition for a long time. NASA scientists believe it is possible to launch such an expedition by 2030.

Image from NASA

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Oculus Crescent Bay: what has changed?

The presentation of third helmet prototype, the pre-release helmet version Rift – titled as Crescent Bay (DK3) – has made acoustics to be the main ascent. The developers have fully managed to cope with this task as the value of audio flow in virtual reality had been underestimated till recent times.

Important changes

It has been proved that presence effect depends directly both view and sound. 3D-sound has been developed based on RealSpace3D technology, which has been created by Maryland University specialists. The result is impressive and now there is a possibility to make rather accurate definition of sound direction and distance to its source. Crescent Bay is equipped with integrated detachable headphones, which can be replaced for your own ones, if you want to. At first, such designers’ idea has caused many discussions among the customers and experts. Though having tried new Oculus, parties concluded that it is not worth paying attention to rather queer construction.
In general, the helmet got much easier than its predecessors not it looks more like glasses with more elegant design. Here we see the advantages. Another important difference lies at another optics improvement: the device uses two separate displays for the first time. In previous version, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 the display had been divided into two sections with high resolution. Independent displays grow resolution capacity and image quality. The image update frequency is higher than the one of DK2. The device has grain effect on image.
Another important trait is the option of head movement track for 360 degrees. It became possible due to infrared lights located from 4 sides of the device. Developers admitted that such effect was rather difficult to attain.

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Some critics

Disadvantages found by DK3 users. There are not much of them:

  • There are the cases of deep basses lacking;
  • When moving the head the surrounding units tremble distorting the image reality;
  • At the same time, the headphones design is far from perfect.

The main issue lies at PC capacity. The Oculus founders closely collaborate with Unity and Unreal Engine 4 developers, allowing users to hope for soonest options improvement. Besides this, the Crescent Bay goes well ahead of its competitors as it can be used in applied activity spheres.

Images from arstechnica.com

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