The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is due to join the five other spacecraft parked at the station after it launches from Florida April 30. Dragon is scheduled to arrive May 2 and Saint-Jacques will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and capture the cargo vessel. Dragon will deliver over 5,000 pounds of new science, supplies and hardware to the orbital lab.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin stayed focused on the Russian side of the station with their complement of orbital science and lab maintenance. Commander Kononenko updated communications gear, cleaned fans and filters and explored enzyme behaviors. Flight Engineer Ovchinin offloaded cargo from the new Progress 72 resupply ship and studied radiation exposure.
Immersive experiences that highlight the importance of environmental protection.
There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Day than hitting the streets with a garbage bag and cleaning up random litter scattered around your local area. It may feel like an insignificant effort in the grand scheme of things, but only by holding ourselves accountable to our environmentally-destructive behavior can we begin to take more serious steps towards preservation.
Thankfully, immersive technology—such as VR—has proven to be the ideal tool for educating the public on environmental issues and spread awareness through immersive projects designed to envoke a sense of empathy with the user.
If you’re looking for another reminder of the importance of environmental conservation, here’s a small collection of powerful immersive experiences designed to educate users on the environmental impact of the human race and encourage them to take a more active part in its protection.
Developed by Frontline, Nova and Emblematic Group in association with X-Rez Studio and Realta, Greenland Melting is a captivating 6DoF VR film that shines a light on the gradual disappearance of Greenland’s famous glacial structures. Throughout the immersive experience, you’ll travel across nine different locations and learn more about the changes taking place beneath the ice.
Whether you’re flying over low altitudes in a photo-realistic NASA research aircraft or standing waist-deep in the spectacular Arctic Ocean, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of NASA’s studies across the glacial region via narration provided by one of the many accredited NASA scientists guiding you through the experience.
Narrated by Lupita Nyong’o, My Africa is an eye-opening 360-degree documentary short that covers the courageous efforts of Northern Kenya tribes to protect African wildlife from animal poachers. Throughout the nearly 10-minute experience, you’ll follow Natlwasha Leripe, a young Reteti Elephant Sanctuary keeper who has been charged with caring for a newborn elephant.
It’s truly inspiring to see African tribes utilize rudimentary tools at such an effective level, from digging for water to coordinating animal rescue efforts with modern wildlife organizations.
THE STANFORD OCEAN ACIDIFICATION EXPERIENCE
Ocean acidification caused by rampant CO2 emissions has resulted in lasting damage to various coral reef ecosystems across the globe. Unfortunately, showcasing the effects of carbon pollution in a way meaningful way is a difficult task, especially when it comes to those totally unfamiliar with pH levels or marine biology.
The experience begins with you surrounded on all sides by heavy traffic as gasoline-powered vehicles spew noxious carbon monoxide fumes in your direction. You’re then transported underwater to see the effects of the dangerous fumes on various coral life, draining them of vitality due to the acidic water; a powerful representation of humanities destructive capabilities.
Back in 2009, two chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, were ‘leased’ to Stony Brook University in New York. It was there the animals were subjected to years of invasive and painful medical testing.
18 years later, the tortured creatures were finally rescued from isolated captivity by Project Chimps, a non-profit organization responsible for the release of over 200 chimpanzees being used as test subjects in numerous facilities. To better highlight the many difficulties these animals have faced, the dedicated animal rights organization has showcased the results of their incredible work through a two-part docu-series shot in 360-degrees.
GOOGLE EARTH VR
An oldie but goodie, the virtual rendition of Google’s immensely popular satellite-based geobrowser can be found in a majority of VR owners libraries. Whether you’re walking through the streets of Paris, France as a giant, or zooming out into space to view a miniature version of our planet, Google Earth is the perfect VR experience for showcasing the jaw-dropping beauty and scale of Earth.
Instantly teleport to famous landmarks, explore foreign countries, and fly through beautiful scenery in this captivating room-scale VR experience, available free on SteamVR and Oculus.
NATURE TREKS VR
Take a break from all the commotion of your urban lifestyle with a relaxing trek through a collection of serene locales, from stunning waterfalls and beautiful forest sunsets, to calm ocean beaches and desert oases.
Nature Treks VR not only lets you travel to-and-from exotic locations but allows you to alter the weather and time of day to create your ideal natural paradise. The games last update, Animal Kingdom, introduced 60 different animals to the experience, injecting new life into your digital environments.
According to a report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global carbon pollution needs to be cut in half by 2030 and continue to decrease to a net zero by 2050 in order to circumvent the absolute worst effects of global warming.
Mainstreaming XR Wearables Starts with Styling for Inclusion
The old adage “seeing is believing” certainly checks out, but to believe in something, an idea, a notion, has one seeing it proven over and over again. I decided to create a photo campaign to make mixed-reality wearables look good and diversity in tech industry marketing a must. It’s what I believe in and what I want to see. Pics or it didn’t happen, ya know?
When the Magic Leap One (ML1) originally shipped and went to market, I eagerly tried the headset the first moment I could. I was impressed by a number of features right away and the care the good people of Magic Leap put into constructing the hardware, but remained unsurprised when the wearable did not fit over my big glasses and even bigger hair. Plus, there’s no place for the Lightpack when you’re wearing a pocketless dress in your startup’s Silicon Valley office (one of my coworkers had to carry it behind me while I balanced my prescription frames as I tried outProject Create).
Let’s be clear, there was no “woe is me” as I realize the future of wearables’ industrial design is inclusive, fashionable design; the concept of styling them has been danced around, yet barely asked to come to the floor for a waltz or even a twirl. See, we need to address the issue of ‘looking silly’ as soon as possible, of creating flexibility for different hairstyles and body types and the sizes of diverse facial features. It’s all part of the solution to the conundrum of adoption, sales and success for our industry.
With a proactive push and a desire to imagine what the future of fashion might look like if immersive technology truly embraced different bodies, brains and beauty standards around the world, I created a concept to bring to life: what if I pulled from my background as a fashion photographer and produced the first-ever street-style photobook for the ML1 featuring a model and look that could make the wearable come across as a mainstream accessory? My images are meant to make one wonder what our strong model could possibly see, what world is she creating, which one does she live in?
I poured over fashion influences and decided to find inspiration in sets of trendy neons, colorful patterns, Afro-futurism + Asian street-style. With vaporwave-infused illustrations as another source for funky, future imaginings I found myself bringing this project together on a passionate whim. I knew I wanted to cast a female model of color as the protagonist as they are so often underrepresented in tech while notably being the population of entrepreneurs and creators who are most often a great bet to bet on. I wanted her to be intense with clear eyes and an unapologetic stare as if she were an oracle seeing what is to come.
Calling around to every woman I knew who worked in AR and VR, I asked for their ideas about representation, if they’d ever seen a concept campaign like the one I was working on, how they saw their own place in the industry and the state of wearables. Every single one shared that they were optimistic about inclusion, but also that they had struggled with headsets that were too big or didn’t fit their bodies properly, let alone over hijab or braided hair or big glasses, like mine. All this, plus the dreaded smudging inevitable for those who wear makeup.
With a talented team of West Coast women (shoutouts to Taryn McKeen, Jessica Clark and Taylor Smith for making make-believe real) we ran off to San Francisco’s Mission District and brought these vibrant, defiant photos to life. I’d like to consider that what we did together took hardware and twisted it, turned it, put it in heels making it cool, casual hardwear. This is the next step in bringing the rest of the world out of the dark and into our trendy threshold (that, and more content!).
Considering the global fashion industry is valued at $2.5 trillion and the overall tech trade at $3 trillion, it’s easy to see how the two complement each other economically. Factoring in additional cosmetics commerce coming close to $532 billion annually (we need to solve the makeup problem), we have to consider the impact these industries will have on each other as they continue to grow. Just like technology, fashion updates, upgrades and changes almost at lightspeed. From la haute couture to la mode du jour, it is as tumultuous as it is tremendous and it is one of the few industries that could potentially keep up with the tech sector. What besides the ML1 costs $2,300? Louis Vuitton monogram boots, Tag Heuer formula one watches and Gucci bomber jackets, and people are buying those.
For the Business of Fashion’s 2019 report Leonardo Bonanni, advocate for fashion industry transparency and Sourcemap CEO, almost describes tech as he acknowledges that the apparel market is “one of the most volatile and fast-changing supply chains that I know of.” Realistically, only wearables, whether mixed-reality or otherwise, are the products that can merge and match up, but we have to adopt parts of the substantial fashion industry if we want the mainstream to adopt us.
This challenge is not superficial, instead it’s survival and incredibly crucial to overcome as we manufacture similar industrial designs for billions of potential, future consumers. With prayers and pushes for the acceptance of XR or spatial computing wearables in general, we simply cannot expect enthusiastic admission of new users, let alone their capital and ultimately purchases of this gear and the content that comes with it all until the hallowed influencers of fashion and social media choose to style headsets as effortlessly and creatively as they do suits, skirts and sportswear.
Think about it all this way: we owe it to ourselves and our budding industry to make it look as cool as possible in as many ways as possible and to vary the voices and forces leading the charge. Like a colorful and assorted diet, it’s statistically proven that diverse teams are better, stronger ones.
We need more XR imagery that features of the faces and personalities of those we wish to see in the industry, if only to attract them to join us, to invest in us, to create with us. Consider stock photography—we seem to only have access to a myriad of repeated looks of shock and awe in headsets on the same body types with the same skin colors without any break for diversity. Try to imagine how much nicer all our pitch decks would be with a photo upgrade.
This photoset is a call-to-action to bring women and minorities into the fold to rebuild our world, redesign our technology and reimagine the potential for wearables and mixed-reality through and through. We’re coming for you.
Special Thanks: Erika Barraza, Young Byun, Lynda Choi, Jesse Damiani, Debra Davis, Bob Degus, Jayna Finucane, Rogue Fong, Ali Heston, Autumn Kelly, Michell Muldoon, Malia Probst, Lucas Rizzotto, Vivian Tan, Martina Welkhoff, Aidan Wolf
Lufthansa Aviation Training gehört mit der Kompetenz in der Aus- und Weiterbildung von Cockpit- und Kabinenpersonal an zwölf Ausbildungsstandorten zu den führenden Unternehmen im Bereich Flight Training. Zum Kundenportfolio gehören über 200 national und international renommierte Airlines.
XR-TRAININGS FÜR 20.000 Flugbegleiter pro Jahr
In einer realitätsidentischen virtuellen Umgebung erfüllen die Teilnehmer Aufgaben, die speziell auf den Ausbildungsplan der Cabin Crew abgestimmt sind. Mit dem Trainingsmodul Pre-Flight-Cabin-Check entwickelte NMY das erste VR Sicherheitstraining, welches jährlich über 20.000 internationale Flugbegleiter in Frankfurt und München absolvieren werden. Weitere Trainingsmodule und Simulationen wie Galley & Service Training, Emergency & First Aid Simulations, Aircraft Familiarization und Pilot Training sind bereits in Planung.
LERNEN NEU ENTDECKEN
Im Virtual Aviation Training verschmelzen wir Simulation, Instruktionsdesign und Gamification und überschreiten dadurch die Grenzen konventioneller Lernweisen. Das Konzept der VR-Trainings sieht maximalen Komfort, Sicherheit und Motivation vor. Hierfür entwickelte NMY ein international kompatibles VR-Bedienkonzept, bei dem die Anwender intuitiv durch natürliche Handgesten im virtuellen Trainingsraum interagieren – ohne Bewegungseinschränkung durch Controller und Kabel.
Für einen reibungslosen Ablauf des Trainingsprogramms im Hochbetrieb in jeweils 18 VR Kabinen an zwei Standorten realisierten wir das Trainingssystem mit einer dazu gehörigen Command & Control Station. Diese Steuerzentrale für den Panel Operator, ermöglicht eine Überwachung aller Trainingsfortschritte und die Kommunikation mit den Teilnehmern per live Voice Chat. Die gesamte VR Hardware und Technik haben wir darüber hinaus über ein smartes Backend vernetzt, um Updates und Remote Services 24/7 weltweit durchführen zu können.
HELLO „I AM VIA“
Orientierung, Spaß und Vertrautheit für die Trainings schafft der 3D-Roboter VIA. Der Virtual Assistant Sprachroboter ist ein wiederkehrendes Element aus der von NMY entwickelten Corporate Mixed-Reality Identity von Lufthansa. Gleichzeitig emotionaler Sympathieträger und Ankerpunkt für die Trainees, steht VIA stets bereit für Hilfestellungen, Tipps und Motivation.
Die Zukunft des Flugtrainings ist hier
Durch immersive und qualitativ hochwertige Trainingssimulationen in einer realistischen Umgebung bekommt unser Kunde ein nachhaltiges Ausbildungsinstrument. Virtual Reality-basierte Trainings sind skalierbar, reproduzierbar und ermöglichen eine dauerhafte und unkomplizierte Durchführung von Ausbildungsmaßnahmen. Lufthansa Aviation Training kann nun zu jeder Zeit, und je nach Bedarf, ressourcenschonende Trainingsprogramme durchführen und die Qualität des Services im Flugzeug stetig verbessern – eine Win-Win Situation für Lufthansa Aviation Training, Flugbegleiter und schließlich auch den Passagier.
With last month’s announcement of the Rift S, it became clear that Oculus was not ready to deliver a ‘Rift 2’, and instead opted to focus on making the existing Rift experience easier to use, rather than pleasing enthusiasts looking for a next generation experience. It was suggested that the company could have opted to offer a ‘Rift Pro’ for that latter group at the same time as the Rift S, but Facebook’s Jason Rubin explained in a recent interview why they didn’t think that was the right call.
Jason Rubin has been a key spokesman for Oculus since he joined the company in 2014. While he now more broadly oversees AR and VR content & partnerships at Facebook, he’s still closely involved with Oculus. Rubin sat down with Road to VR for a wide-ranging interview at GDC 2019 last month, during which he spoke to the idea of offering a more expensive ‘Rift Pro’ as a high-end option for enthusiasts, alongside the Rift S.
“There’s a cost to everything that a company does. And while there might have been some people that we’d make very happy with [a ‘Rift Pro’], or something along those lines, some group of people would have to prototype that device; some group of people would have to deal with the supply chain for that device; some group of people would have to deal with warehousing, shipping, and everything else. And those people—when you can only have a company of a certain size, we can’t grow infinitely—those people would be taken away from the other things we’re working on,” Rubin said. “So everything that we deal with is tradeoffs, and there will always be somebody who thinks that there’s a better tradeoff that they could manufacture. I can tell you, sitting around the room, these are hard [internal] discussions, but I think we’ve made the right tradeoff with where we are right here.”
For those who were hoping for a Rift Pro or Rift 2, Rubin claims that VR enthusiasts have diverse opinions on what would even constitute a ‘next-gen’ VR headset, and so it would be difficult to please the enthusiast group as a whole.
“The other questions is: ‘what is Rift 2?’ If I go around a table of 10 Rift users and ask them ‘What are you missing?’, some would say things that we’ve added [with the Rift S]—like higher resolution, which doesn’t break the ecosystem—other people would say things like ‘Wireless’—which might not break the ecosystem, but fights against higher resolution. Another person might say ‘Well I want full body tracking’—well that does break the ecosystem, right? Because that’s not something that you can just easily add—that’s going to add back some external sensor or some complicated additional thing that you have to ship, and probably sends the price up,” said Rubin. “As you go around that table of Rift users, what you’re going to find out is what’s really needed, is a $3,000 or $4,000 device that has all of the features that they want at the same time.”
In May of 2018, Facebook teased the Rift ‘Half Dome’ prototype which included eye-tracking, a varifocal display, and a 140 degree field of view. While the company was clear that it was only a prototype, it was surprising to see that none of those features wound up in Rift S which is set to launch this Spring, about a year after the reveal of Half Dome.
There will be a next-gen headset one day, Rubin said, but not until it can come to market at the right price.
“VR is going to keep progressing. So, beyond and shadow of a doubt, at some point we will have a next generation where we add some sort of feature that breaks all of the old stuff and makes it either not work, or makes it seem obsolete. Our goal is not to do that right now. Our goal is to bring as many people into the ecosystem as possible. Bifurcating the ecosystem with a Rift and, say, a Rift 2 […] is not the right thing to do right now.”
“We know from Rift we don’t want to sell even an $800 system. Let alone a multi-thousand dollar system. So if we went right now to something like Rift 2, we’d make some people really happy because we’d give them what they want, but most of the people around the table wouldn’t get what they want,” said Rubin. “So what we’re doing is we’re building a bigger ecosystem on what we have now. We know gamers want really nice resolution screens and a really high-definition high-quality light headset, and they want to see their hands. We’re going to build on that until the point at which we know what we want to do next, and the price is right on what we want to do next.”
Right now, Rubin said, the company believes that the most important thing it can do is grow its ecosystem, rather than introduce any major new features or fragment their userbase.
“[We don’t want to] end up launching new hardware that has a lot of people but not enough people that developers want to develop for it and so people start saying ‘there’s no software for this new thing, why did I buy it?’; it’s just hard right now to do that. And we think these two devices [Quest and Rift S] are the right thing to do to suck more people into the business. Once more people want VR, are in VR, and love VR, some subset of them are ready to go to the next generation.”
Orbus Online, the indie studio behind OrbusVR, announced that their first expansion ‘Reborn’ now has an official street date. The studio also released word that users will be able to jump into the game on Quest “later this spring.”
OrbusVR is a made-for-VR MMORPG that launched into Early Access on Steam (Vive, Rift) and the Oculus Store (Rift) in December 2017. With the launch of OrbusVR: Reborn however, the game will officially be heading out of Early Access on April 23rd, 2019.
Update (April 22nd, 12:22PM PT):OrbusVR: Reborn launches tomorrow at 10AM PT (your timezone here). In a recent blog post, the developers have detailed what to expect at the time of launch:
Existing owners on Steam or Oculus Store will see a free update to their game available starting this evening.
Non-owners will be able to purchase the game no later than one hour before launch.
All existing characters will be imported, each with one chance to change the look of the character.
If you previously had levels in the Fisher class, that has been converted to reputation for the appropriate activity.
If you participated in the beta and earned either the Dev Slayer or Super Leveler: Reborn achievements, speak with the Backer Rewards Vendor to receive your achievements, titles, and/or capes.
If you achieved the minimum 18,000 points during the Defend the Realm event in the original game, speak to the Backer Rewards vendor to get your cape, crown, and pet.
Your quests and talent choices have been reset.
The developers also said that since the game’s early access launch in December 2017, 60,000 people have played the game, spanning more than 575,000 of game time.
As a virtual reality-native, OrbusVR delivers VR users many of the classic MMORPG conventions like multiplayer dungeon raids, world bosses, several combat classes, and missions across a large, open-world.
Set 20 years after the defeat of the Order, the ‘Reborn’ expansion is set to add a bevy of new classes, enemies, dungeons and raids; the art direction has also substantially changed, taking on a look ostensibly influenced by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
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All existing owners will receive ‘Reborn’ for free, although if you were looking to get in before the eventual price hike, it appears both the Steam and Oculus Store versions are currently unavailable until launch later this month.
OrbusVR is set to be one of the first of many games to offer cross-buy through the Oculus Store, meaning if you already bought the game for Rift, you’ll be able to jump in for free on Quest (and vice versa). Thankfully the game is going to be offer cross-platform play between Rift, Quest, Vive, and other OpenVR headsets.
Currently the original game is no longer playable, until the launch of the expansion. The official launch of ‘Reborn’ is set for 10AM PT on April 23rd (local time here).
Linden Lab’s website maintains Sansar is their platform for creating social VR experiences, and that “Sansar will democratize VR as a creative medium, making it easy for people to create, share, and sell their own social VR experiences.” It seems however the company is less bullish on VR now that hype has died down—at least as far as the company’s messaging goes.
Speaking to New World Notes at GDC 2019 in March, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg says the company’s latest platform has always been a majority desktop experience ever since it went live back in 2017, and it seems he doesn’t expect that to change in the near term.
“Statistically, it’s always been a majority PC, desktop. I don’t know what the exact numbers are: 75/25, 80/20, of […] desktop versus VR. And so you’ll probably be seeing us less pitching it as a VR thing,” Altberg told New World Notes.
In the early days of release, Altberg says Sansar rode high on VR’s hype, however since hype has died down somewhat following the heady days of 2016 and 2017, the company is recentering its messaging around desktop users.
“It was hot, hip, and interesting to talk about VR, and we kind of rode that a little bit, but ultimately our goal is to make it so that desktop and VR can both enjoy Sansar. I switch back and forth; I cruise around on desktop, but when I hang out with people, I definitely put my ‘gear’ on and hop in, because it’s so much more immersive to hang out with people and do stuff in VR.”
Altberg says that since day one, Sansar has been focused on bringing equal access to both desktop and VR users, however he admits it’s been a big challenge.
“You have to rethink a lot of user interfaces in dual. It’s kind of like desktop and mobile. It’s a very different paradigm in how things work. We want to make it so you don’t have some magic advantages on one versus the other. Certainly on more of the play side. On the create side, we dabble a little bit with VR, so that you can at least you look at your environment and move some stuff around but we didn’t go all out on VR creation. It’s definitely much more of a desktop creation environment.”
While Altberg didn’t speak about Sansar’s concurrent user numbers in depth, its forerunner Second Life is still the core business for the company in the interim, and undoubtedly funding Sansar’s creation. The studio employs around 70 developers to build Sansar, while Second Life’s development team has around 130.
“Second Life has an audience that peeked just over a million, and is now just below a million. What would it take to build a platform that could, if executed properly with the right strategy, have tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people on it? That’s why a lot of the approach we took to Sansar has been different. We still have to prove that degree of success, but I think it’s definitely worth a shot, because I think it’s possible.”
Notably, High Fidelity, the VR social platform from Linden Lab co-founder Philip Rosedale, recently announced is taking a similar step back from VR by emphasizing the platform’s desktop userbase—something that appears to be in response to slow platform growth.
You can watch New World Notes’ full interview here.
3DSen VR(formerly known as 3DNesVR) is an emulator tool that runs Nintendo Entertainment System games in VR, letting you play the ’80s and ’90s classic titles that made the console a world-wide phenomenon.
Update (April 22nd, 2019): 3DNesVR, in its original form, was removed from Steam some time ago. However the new rebranded emulator, named 3DSenVR, has been reapproved for use on the platform. The free demo is back, along with an appended ‘Mid 2019’ launch date for the full product. The free demo is said to include support for more than 40 10 classic games, however you’ll need the applicable ROMs to make use of it; 3DSen VR is only an emulator!
Original Article (October 23, 2018): Created by Geod Studios and first launched on itch.io in May 2017, 3DNesVR is finally heading to Steam, with support for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows VR headsets.
3DNesVR automatically turns NES games into a sort of ‘pop-out’ 3D version of the 2D game (not included), and lets you play it natively via SteamVR and Oculus runtime. While there are controls that let you adjust how the 3D effect renders, Geod Studios has created a few presets and tips in its 3DN Repository.
You can try it our for free now, as the demo on Steam supports a limited number of titles including (see update):
Super Mario Bros
Battle City 1990
Legend Of Kage
The full release, slated to launch on January 21st, will support what Geod calls “massive games” including both classic and modern homebrew NES ROMS.
Supported controllers include gamepad, Steam controller, and system-specific VR motion controllers.
For obvious legal reasons, 3DNesVR doesn’t provide ROMS, so you’ll have to obtain them yourself and plug them in like any other standard emulator.
If you’re looking for a decidedly more modern emulating experience, Dolphin VRdoes a surprisingly good job with Nintendo Wii and GameCube games, although the project seems to have been put on hold since mid-2016.
‘View in Room’ mode opens up access to Shutterstock’s massive image library in AR.
Shutterstock—one of the leading commercial providers of stock photography, footage and music—have officially entered the AR market with ‘View Room’ mode, a new feature on the official Shutterstock customer app that lets you to select any image featured on the Shutterstock platform and view it in a real-world location.
After selecting an image and clicking on the “View in Room” button, the app will then open up your smartphone’s camera (so long as you’ve given it permission to do so) and allow you to stick the image to any flat vertical surface in your near vicinity. You’re then free to resize the image and move around the space to view it from any angle, gaining a crystal clear preview of how it looks in relation to the rest of the room in the process.
“We have been committed to experimenting with cutting-edge technologies for over fifteen years,” said Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock. “After years of advancing our in-house computer vision technology to enhance search capabilities on web and mobile, we are very excited to announce our first AR-powered mobile viewing experience for customers.”
“This is yet another great project to have been developed from its initial iteration at our annual employee Hackathon, Hack to the Future. We decided to put this hack into production because of its potential to have an immediate customer impact.”
While several companies have already begun experimenting with AR home design, Shutterstock’s adoption of the technology marks a major stepping stone for the industry. The company fosters a growing community of over 650,000 contributors which results in hundreds of thousands of new images being added each week. Currently, the platform hosts an astonishing 250 million images and videos.
Shutterstock’s “View in Room” feature is just the latest in a series of AR applications designed specifically for home design. Back in 2017, Amazon launched their own augmented reality shopping feature which allows customers to preview certain furniture in their homes before purchasing. Last year IKEA turned to AR to help its customers with assembling products at home.
Augmented reality is proving to be a potent marketing tool in the hands of the right brands, and world-famous spirits maker Jack Daniel’s is today unveiling one of the strongest uses yet of the technology. Developed by Tactic, the company’s AR Experience app turns the classic black-and-white front label of any Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey bottle into a matching pop-up book, educating consumers about the company and brand.
Intended solely for users of legal drinking age — 21 and over in the United States — the free app uses a smartphone or tablet camera to recognize the shape of anything from a 50ml miniature to a giant-sized 1.75L bottle. A photorealistic version of the front label then syncs up with the real bottle’s position, unfolding to reveal stylized objects, text, and environmental effects.
There are three experiences. The first is a step-by-step explanation of whiskey manufacturing, including everything from water sourcing and mash milling to the barrel making, fermentation, and distillation processes. Each step appears as its own small pop-out diorama.
Next is a wider-format look at the company’s Lynchburg, Tennessee distillery, complete with its own barrel cooperage and cave spring — all rendered to a surprising level of detail. Last up is a collection of stories about “the man himself,” Jack Daniel. All of the content is voice narrated in a Sam Elliott-like baritone for an extra air of old American authenticity.
If you already have a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on hand, or find a bottle at a store, it’s impressive that you can learn so much more about the product and brand simply by looking through your phone’s screen. The only limitation — and a likely intentional one — is that you can’t get the AR experience without actually buying or otherwise having one of those bottles handy. Flat 2D-style scrolling text content is all you can view if you don’t have a bottle.
The Jack Daniel’s AR Experience app is available now through the iOS App Storefor iPhones and iPads, and through the Google Play Store for Android users. In addition to being age-gated through both stores for users 17 and up, the app requires a 21-or-older age-confirming birthdate on first run.