Disney Breaks Through Augmented Reality In A Social Way

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Disney has always been about imagination and the ability to blend real world and augmented reality into magical journeys. Well as technology has changed, so has Disney’s ability to create these experiences.

Disney Research recently began a journey to discover how they could use augmented reality and mixed reality experiences to create social experiences. They have created something called the Magic Bench which is a blend of augmented and mixed reality that groups of people can participate in.

The system uses camera’s and depth sensors to identify how many people are present, where they are facing and alert the participants when a virtual “digital actor” is present. Take a look.

Facebook Translates Your Thoughts Into Text

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Facebook has many ambitions, some of which are obvious, some of which are not so obvious. Yesterday, Facebook announced its intention to build a brain computer interface that could allow people to type a message with just your mind.

Essentially….FB uses a technology to that scans your brain more than 100 times per second to detect you silently speaking and translate that into text. If you stop for a moment when you are typing an email, you will notice you are silently speaking what you are typing…this is what they are picking up on (try it and you’ll get it.)

They apparently have about 60 engineers working aggressively on the concept and have working prototypes of individuals being able to type 8 words per minute. They believe they can eventually accelerate this to 100 words per minute (well above typing speeds for average workers.) The applications are endless…help for people living with complete paralysis, people who suffer strokes and lose mobility skills to augmented and virtual reality controls.

FB is running all of this (and much more) through their Building 8 program and in partnership with UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Ultimate goal is to be able to solve the need for implants and to deliver non-surgical solutions at scale across a broad set of use cases.

Navigating To Your Next Meal – Waze Introduces Order Ahead

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Waze, arguably one of the most significant and popular GPS navigation platforms worldwide, has continued to evolve their consumer value proposition beyond directions. Within last 12 months, we have a massive acceleration of local advertising and offers embedded within the experience. It appears now they are moving to make these actionable with an order ahead function.

This week, Waze will introduce a pilot with Dunkin Donuts allowing users to order their coffee ahead, based on their location. While using the device, consumers will be presented with a coffee offer it real time, based on their location, that they can simply tap to order ahead. Waze will then an order to Dunkin with estimated arrival time for a grab and go experience.  Consumers will have to be enrolled in Dunkin’s mobile application for payment management but will not be required to use the DD app for purchasing. What’s powerful here is Waze as a logistics platform partner for Dunkin and how they become a sales and marketing, plus logistical partner (think Uber.) You can easily see how this could expand into other QSR  restaurants, parking spaces, and convenience stores.

This is reinforces the power of platforms and they attempt to drive greater value through simplicity and convenience. Imagine an app that helps you efficiently navigate the world to save you time, enables you to buy goods you need along the way and helps to manage logistics for millions of retailers connected to the network.

Adidas Taps Technology To Create Personalized Products

RTX31WBTAdidas is looking to breakthrough long design and production cycles by enabling on demand manufacturing…of sweaters (not shoes.) German fitness apparel company recently launched a pop up store in Berlin that allows consumers to design, manufacture and purchase a unique merino wool sweaters for ~$200 USD.

Here’s how it work… consumers set into a dark booth that projects a variety of pattern options and colors on the individual so they can get a sense for how it would look. They can then adjust for colors, styles, size and then place the order in the store. Instantly the robotic looms go into action and knit the sweater. Some elements appear to require a hand finishing, then the products are laundered, dried and packaged for delivery. The entire process takes about 4 hours start to finish. Memory of experience hopefully last longer.

While sweaters aren’t set to be the next breakthrough fashion trend, Adidas is tapping into localized manufacturing capabilities that enable them to maintain virtual shelves of products without having to retire expensive inventory.

This could radically change distribution models and place many traditional manufacturers at risk…something many industries are watching closely.

A Different Type Of Leak Detector For Water

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Water is certainly a precious commodity and its sad to say it is wasted frequently throughout the day. In US alone, it is said to be 1 trillion gallons a year due to leaky faucets, sprinklers, etc. For major cities and emerging ones, water systems play a huge role is the population and economic growth. For other markets, people struggle to get any clean water.

When issues arise, they have incremental effect on many elements of the ecosystem. Utilis, an Israeli startup, is looking to solve the leak problem through data and science. Essentially they have built a data modeling capability that allows them to identify leaks via satellite imagery before issues get to a point of significant repair.

This concept was enough to win them the IH2O for 2017, which is a competition between tech startups to develop solutions for particular problems around our global water supply.

Future Is So Bright, I Gotta Wear Augmented Reality Sunglasses


Samsung and its in house product development group C Lab seems to be lining a number of new hardware and software for announcements at Mobile World Congress. These additions appear to be focused on growing the use of AR & VR exponentially and making it more practical for our daily lives. They have invested significantly in the 1st generation gear platform and it appears we will begin (maybe) to see the potential for how these capabilities could be monetized.   Here are a couple of app launches expected over next few weeks:

“Monitorless” appears to build on the promise of Google glass by connecting your smartphone to a pair of sunglasses that can support both AR and VR experiences. Think of it as a second screen experience that has intelligence and interactions. Separately, the

“VulidUs” application will allow users to explore interior design by enabling them to see what furniture looks like placed around their house before they buy it. And lastly

“traVRer” is an app designed to allow users to experience 360-degree video before and after they take a trip. Travel, especially experience travel, has long been thought to be the next big thing in VR, allowing consumers to see and experience far off lands from the comfort of their own homes…looks like the future is arriving sooner than expected.