So what's new in augmented reality? Lenovo releases an AR headset, Google Maps AR mode reaches the app and a new immersive medical training app is blowing minds are among the selected AR news this week!
Lenovo is continuing its expansion into new, unexpected categories outside of its PC business and today the company announced it's launching a new AR-and-VR system targeted at businesses. It's called ThinkReality, and from the looks and description of the device and platform, it looks like a competitor for Microsoft's HoloLens. The headset has a better resolution than the first Hololens, but falls short of Hololens 2. The field of view falls in between the two. The ThinkReality is very light and a battery life of 4h continuous use and includes head and gaze tracking, voice commands, gesture controls as well as a hand controller. Targeted at enterprises, Lenovo aims at the headset being used in industrial training and manufacturing as well as for artists and architects working with 3D. The headset runs on Android meaning a big chunk of existing AR software will run on this headset without problems. No release date set, but rumours say it will be soon enough.
Google and Magic Leap have each released an app taking the real world and morphing it via AR. Google’s app Weird cuts, cuts out images from the real world and lets users paste them as AR elements back onto the real world, forming digital 3D collages. The app Blue Sky Paint, developed by an original member of Magic Leap’s Leap Squad, that uses a machine learning algorithm to recognise the sky and can apply graphics shaders to hide the horizon or remove objects. Art and creativity in AR are already opening up a completely new and undiscovered medium for artists and creatives alike, merging the physical and the digital to create something new that is yet to exist.
Google has released a lot of AR related features lately, including the AR search function. At the beginning of this year, some got to try out the Google Maps augmented, but it was still in the demo stage. Now finally it is finding its way to the actual app and Pixel phones can now use Google Maps in AR mode. The mode works in walking navigation and features the map as well as a camera with augmented map elements superposed on the street, virtual signs to facilitate finding your way to the destination of your choice. Sometimes finding the exact location on the map is not straight forward, especially in an area with many shops or restaurants. This AR feature will make navigating just that much easier.
Immersive technology and the medical field has merged beautifully with the whole spectrum of XR being used both in training and in practice. Using immersive technology and digital content for training medical students means they can simulate real situations and interact with parts of the body while learning. A company called Anima Res has released an app called Insight Heart in a line of upcoming releases which could in many ways revolutionise the way medical students are trained. Insight Heart is what it sounds like, a virtual tour of the human heart, to be experienced in AR or MR using holograms and interactivity controlling the experience with voice control or gestures while the tour shows all the ins and outs of the human heart. This gives students an up-close view of human anatomy with the space to explore it freely.
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