Top 5 AR TED Talks You Must Watch

Fun fact: I first met Augmania CEO Rania Reda during her TED talk at my alma mater!

The passion from Rania, other speakers, and the organizing TED team that night was palpable.  A year later, it inspired me to join the TED community myself. Without a doubt, the experience remains among the closest to my heart throughout my young career.

So as a former TEDster myself, allow me to elaborate on what makes TED and TED talks so reputable. TED as an organization is founded on a simple yet wonderful principle: ideas worth spreading. Duly, audiences have come to expect TED talks to provide them with novel, provocative, well-researched, and well-presented ideas.

They know that a TED stage is the last place on Earth to find money scams or cheesy acts. The cherry on top? TED talks generally are not allowed to last over 18 minutes. TED curator Chris Anderson (bless his benevolent heart) believes that’s the most a speaker can hold attention of viewers.

Eventually, the success of the TED formula gave rise to a monumental cascade with the creation of TEDx events. TEDx events are TED-licensed yet independently organized. That is, TED gifted its stage to thousands of communities to share their own ideas. When I joined my university’s TEDx, I saw that it didn’t matter how far we were from TED’s headquarters. ‘Ideas worth spreading’ was still at the core of literally everything we did.

The TED acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The TED stage has seen a who’s who of tech pioneers showcase their new tech to the masses. As one of the world’s most impactful technologies, Augmented Reality is unsurprisingly featured in TED talks aplenty.

Now without further ado, let’s take a look at the top AR ideas worth spreading:

1- The dawn of the age of holograms | Alex Kipman

Alex Kipman, a tech aficionado and a key Microsoft player, has been growing frustrated with today’s tech. He believes that the most popular technologies today only serve to trap us inside pixels. Ultimately, Kipman longs for a day when humans are set free from devices and allowed to interact once again.

In his TED talk, Kipman demos the Microsoft Hololens. He goes on to explain how its premise of projecting holograms is the fitting technology for our non-binary universe. The target Kipman has in mind is a technology that “understands humans” rather than limiting them. To achieve that, he attempts to view our world from the perspective of a machine.

I may have spoiled a bit his Ted talk for you, but I honestly don’t feel guilty. That’s because there’s still a lot more amusement in this mighty interesting visually stunning talk.

2- Augmented Creativity | Bob Sumner

At first, this TED talk sounds like an introduction to what AR is before quickly taking an intriguing turn. Bob Sumner is an animation and gaming expert. He’s the Associate Director of Disney Research Zurich. His TED talk examines how AR potentiates creative output.

Specifically, he sheds light on that topic due to worries about the increasing passiveness of children. The kids may not be to blame, but it’s still an issue that Sumner wishes to act upon. Moving on, the TED talk progresses as Sumner starts showing many demos of his Augmented Creativity children games. These games encourage users to engage in many activities from painting to composing music.

3- Chris Kluwe | How augmented reality will change sports … and build empathy

This TED talk from former NFL player Chris Kluwe tackles the use of AR in sports. He starts with the use of technology in general in copying sports experiences. After going through GoPro 360 videos and VR, he gets to the edge AR offers in that aspect. AR will more than just let fans and coaches see what a player is seeing. It will transform how American football as a whole is played.

Footballers will wear AR-enabled helmets. These helmets overlay important data over players’ field of vision. This data, obtained from cameras monitoring stadiums, helmet sensors, and accelerometers, will allow players to strategize better mid-game. Thus, a purely athletic contest turns to one where players must know how to use data to their advantage.  

4- How augmented reality could change the future of surgery | Nadine Hachach-Haram

Surgeon Nadine Hachach-Haram uses her TED talk to reflect on the use of AR in a noble cause. She reports that 5 billion people don’t have access to surgeries. When these people need to undergo surgeries, they have to travel elsewhere. Needless to say, that’s a costly move. That’s especially true when you consider that a majority of these patients live in economically compromised areas.

Dr. Nadine has an AR solution for this medical crisis. Instead of making patients’ surgery travels more affordable, she wants to train unexperienced surgeons in the patients’ countries. That’s why she has come up with what she called remote surgery. Essentially, it allows renowned surgeons to teach young surgeons good surgery practice using AR headsets. In her TED talk, Dr. Nadine showed many examples of the project’s success in different countries.

5- Marco Tempest | The Augmented Reality of Techno-Magic

I may start by digressing a bit here. But if you’ve never seen Marco Tempest before, get ready to meet one of Earth’s most extraordinary people. Super impressively, Tempest has a habit for finding intersections between his very different passions. His first passion as a child was magic, but as he grew older he fell in love with technology. Today he calls himself the technology magician and he has worked on loads of projects to validate that name.

Tempest was one of the first speakers to bring AR to the TED stage. In this incredibly entertaining TED talk, Tempest uses AR as a modern platform for magic. It’s a reminder that while AR sure can solve our problems, it can also put smiles on people’s faces. As for Marco, I’ll have you know that he recently connected his passion for space to tech. By working with NASA. Yep, NASA. I would say ‘goals’, but that would still be an understatement.

You’ve seen for yourself how AR has been mesmerizing audiences even on a stage like TED. It’s time for you to get your hands on AR too! Sign up now to Augmania’s Web AR platform and explore all the magical possibilities you can create using AR!

The Limitless Wonders of AR EdTech

For all the resentment we give today’s age, we should be grateful for the current state of education. We’re seeing major strides everyday to make education more efficient and more accessible. Without a doubt, technology has immensely contributed to reaching that stance. Nobody can understate the impact of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), AI, and AR EdTech to name a few. Indeed, these technologies are effectively transforming the landscape of education as we know it.

Imagine if the great Richard Feynman got reincarnated in a random contemporary era classroom. In one scenario, his reincarnation could take him to a room with desks and a good ol chalkboard. As such, he wouldn’t be all that unfamiliar with the layout of that room. In another reincarnation, he may struggle to even identify that he’s in a classroom. That would be the room of a student taking an MOOC at home.

Yet the changes in education then versus now are far deeper than how classrooms look. Today, institutes armor students with all they need to create the change they want to see in their environments. Whereas back in the day, some educational entities merely focused on helping students secure future ordinary jobs. Professor Feynman would be mostly proud of modern educational systems, though, for they emphasize critical thinking and fundamental understanding.

However, there’s one thing the Physics icon wouldn’t be fond of.

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And that’s how some of today’s educational techniques, including MOOC, limit us physically. Humans learn best by interacting with objects and seeing them from different angles. Thus, our minds are not wired to learn by observing through screens. So there is some sort of dilemma here. Online courses fantastically allow students to enroll in courses offered thousands of miles away from their homes. At the same time, they don’t fully capitalize on our brain’s capabilities. There must be a solution that reaches common ground.

Well, it’s nothing AR can’t solve. AR EdTech can overlay all forms of content in front of users’ fields of vision. In this case, no matter where they are, students will be able to interact with materials they’re studying. Now while we’re at it, let’s take a look at the limitless perks of AR EdTech!

1- AR EdTech helps students lacking imagination

Imagination is defined as the ability to form images of substances not present to the senses at a moment. Sure, imagination is important in education. Albert Einstein even famously deemed it more intelligence-indicating than knowledge. Accordingly, many teachers aim to stimulate their students’ imagination. In spite of that, many over the years have reported not being able to imagine things inside their brains.

Researchers just recently started paying attention to the condition. They haven’t discovered enough about its causality or whether it affects subjects similarly. At this time, all we know is that the condition is called congenital Aphantasia and that it’s real. Still, we also know that we can use AR EdTech to aid those suffering from it.

AR EdTech programs can help students see the tiniest details in objects of study. Not only see, but actually move the objects and interact with them as they wish. For instance, AR anatomy apps are brilliant implementations of AR EdTech. Med students regard anatomy as one of the toughest medical subjects to study. The apps make studying anatomy easier and more fun and improves students’ dexterity. Funny enough, this is why you’ll see med students always advocating for more AR EdTech.

2- AR EdTech enables personalized education

Many education passionates cite personalization as the ultimate goal for education. Each student has his/her own interests. Linking each student’s individual interests to the course he/she is taking will make him/her eager to study it. Another reason to push for personalization is that not all students have the same pace in learning. It’s an injustice to disregard this fact and it can deter slow-paced students from the learning experience.

AR EdTech is one way to personalized education. Using a platform like Augmania, for example, teachers can create customized AR educational experiences for each student. The platform is entirely DIY and users don’t need design or coding skills to create AR magic. Further, teachers can also use AR EdTech to print AR-enabled worksheets for each student. That way each student will exercise according to his/her own pace. Impressively enough, new studies show that AR EdTech can also even accelerate learning paces.

3- AR EdTech leverages screen time instead of fighting it

So far, we’ve discussed AR EdTech perks for students of all ages. But this perk is especially for children. For a few years now, parents have had concerns over their children’s increased screen time. Screen time is basically the time a human spends staring at a screen; be it a TV, a PC, or a smartphone. Attempting to reduce their children’s screen time, some adults resort to drastic measures. These measures work sometimes. Other times, they lead to conflicts and barriers between parents and children that may last forever.

AR EdTech solves the issue of screen time in an unorthodox way. The main problem parents cite with screen time is that kids spend it idly with no physical action. Thankfully, AR EdTech can turn that upside down. AR EdTech can combine learning, physical exercise, and entertainment all together in AR games. Think of a Jurassic Park-themed game where players solve a mystery involving a chemical that makes all dinosaurs hostile. Through that game, kids will run, learn about different dinosaurs, and be entertained. Best of all, all of that will be screen time, but actually of the beneficial kind.

4- AR EdTech enhances memorization

We’ll keep this one short and sweet. According to a study by Mindshare, researchers discovered that the brain area responsible for encoding memory gets almost three times activity from AR content than from non-AR content. In other words, AR EdTech can improve memory retention by 70%. With that said, students can now much more easily memorize even the most boring bits of information they study.

So lovely teachers now the chance to put all these wonders of AR EdTech to the test. Sign up now to Augmania’s Web AR platform and transform your students’ learning experiences!

AR Portals Can Take You Places: Here are the 5 Best Portals

AR Portals

For years now, Augmented Reality has been clearing up problems for us left and right. It has made work, personal responsibilities, and the (at times, not so simple) task of enjoying things easier. Yet AR is the gift that keeps on giving. And speaking of gifts, it’s the Christmas season, isn’t it?

Well as a gift for this holiday, AR is giving us the benefits of travel but without paying a penny. It’s through the magical powers of AR portals!

There will definitely be those who managed to save for holiday trips. It’s an arduous process that requires some sacrifices. Congrats to all who pulled it off. More power to them! On the other hand, there are those (*raises hand*) who feel like 2018 was extra harsh on them. As a result, these folks have no budgets for travel this year.

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If “same” is the word coming out of your mouth as you are going this, lovely reader, then allow me to introduce you to AR portals. It doesn’t matter if you like traveling to learn new stuff or to get a thrill. AR portals will get the job done. Now hop along and let’s explore these 5 epic AR portals together!

Portal to Scottish Lore

Bagpipes, kilts, whiskey, and Angus meat may all pop into your head when Scotland is mentioned. But Scotland is one super awesome nation. Its centuries-long contributions to the world go way beyond. Telephones, TVs, bicycles, the Encyclopedia Britannica, penicillin, rock music, logarithms, and many other innovations we use daily originate in Scotland.

One of Scotland’s latest innovations ingeniously educates people on Scottish innovations and Scottish history. The country shows its forward-thinking ways once again with Portal AR. It is an app that invites users to experience Scottish culture while in the comfort of their homes. The app opens 4 portals of different disciplines: Visit, Live & Work, Business, and Study. Each portal unlocks unique destinations for users to travel to.

These destinations include the Edinburgh Castle, the North Coast 500, the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis as well as many iconic university campuses, headquarters of tech companies, and vintage whiskey distilleries. Through Portal AR, the Scottish government aims to boost tourism and establish leadership internationally in the tech world. The job was done well, I’d say.

Portal to Marriott Paradise

Since 1927, Marriott has been soaking visitors in its world-renowned luxury. Its impeccable hospitality has brought about an equally impeccable reputation and over 6500 hotels all over the world. To maintain this storied status, Marriott is always evolving in lots of areas. One of these areas is, of course, technology.

This past June, Marriott Caribbean & Latin America launched an AR app, Portal to Paradise. Marriott developed the AR portal in response to travelers’ change in perception of travel to the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year to ensure them that plenty of beautiful places were not affected.

The app opens AR portals to 8 majestic Marriott resorts in the region. Users can explore the resorts in all their glory as each comes with 6 unique sites. So the app is your chance to take a walk by the beach, jump in a virtual spa, or witness for yourself the unparalleled coziness of Marriott rooms.

Marriott became one of the first brands to utilize AR portals as a canvas to sell its services. Other brands who have joined the club include Lufthansa. The company launched an app that opens portals to popular touristic cities such as New York and Hong Kong.

Portal to the NBA Finals

Last season, the NBA allowed its diehards to watch the finals on demand in a whole new way. On its app, the league assembled over 20 AR portals! Each portal allowed users to watch the game from a different perspective. This created unprecedented immersion for fans who watched from home. The portals also let users be a part of team huddles, introductions, and celebrations.

The NBA’s tech team is currently working on user data to see which features resonated most. That’s hopefully a sign of more AR portals to come from the NBA later on. With the success of NBA’s AR portals, there’s no reason to think that other organizations like the NFL and FIFA aren’t working on portals of their own. So it’s a pretty exciting time to be a sports fan with different sports leagues competing for your attention.

Portal to the Moon

Imagine you’re at the mall and you overhear a couple having this bit of conversation:

Partner 1: Honey, before we go, I want to check out this furniture store. I know furniture is not your thing. You can wait outside if you’d like. I’ll be back in no time.

Partner 2: Sure, babe. I’ll go for a walk on the moon in the meantime. I’ll be back in no time too.

Ouch, right? Is there any way what Partner 2 said doesn’t lead to an instant argument? Is there any way Partner 1 wouldn’t take it as a sarcastic dig done in bad taste? Yes, there is one; if Partner 2 goes moonwalking via an AR portal. Alright, I’m sorry. I just can’t help but think of such scenario every time I see the portal in action.

Just watch that portal user walk on the moon like he/she was walking down a shopping aisle. The user takes a look at the stunning view of good  Earth from there. Then he/she heads back to the mall. It’s so casual.

So exciting to try. So AR portals, if you ask me.

Portal to the Upside Down

Any Stranger Things fans here? If you are one, you probably know of the AR portal I’m about to go through right now. The portal to the Upside Down! To celebrate the premiere of season 2, Netflix collaborated with Snapchat to create a world lens that let users into Joyce Byers’ infamous living room. Fans could interact with everything in the room and unlock secret easter eggs.

Shazam was also a part of the campaign. If Snapchat was open, it would detect if the show’s theme was playing and open the AR portal. The nice people at Ads of The World published some incredible stats on the campaign. It turns out the campaign reached 45 million users who lived in the Upside Down for 22.5 million minutes.

Developers have been using Snapchat’s world lens to create portals to other fictional realms, including my personal favorite. An AR portal to the Rick and Morty multiverse. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub Y’all!

Well, where are you planning to spend your next holiday then? There’s no shame in spending it at home with family, playing around with AR portals or even creating your own through Augmania.

5 Projects College Students Are Doing To Embrace AR 

College Students AR projects

Augmented Reality may not have been known to our world for too long, but the rise in its use and the impact it has had on all disciplines of life have been fascinating to watch.

College students, who may very well be the most energetic creatures on Earth have been watching closely the progress of AR and it was only a matter of time before they decided to get their hands on AR and create some magical AR student projects.

At Augmania, we’ve been researching AR for years. We would like to celebrate college students who devoted their diligent efforts to creating special projects using AR. Some of the projects are super exciting hints at what the future holds,  while others we’re sure will serve as an inspiration to fellow content creators reading right now. So here goes:

1- Guiding Astronauts through Spacewalks

Earlier this year, NASA invited students from many universities to apply to its S.U.I.T.S Design Challenge program in which students would design and create space suit information displays within an AR environment. A team of different majors from Bradley University and MIT among other universities was ultimately selected to take the lead. The undergraduates said they couldn’t believe it when NASA asked for their help in developing the AR project.

But that didn’t overwhelm them or stop them from innovating throughout the project. Working on Microsoft’s HoloLens and using input from NASA astronauts, the students came up with many impressive features for the suit. One of them allows astronauts to read instructions and view important diagrams through their facemasks. And if astronauts needed a clear view, an AI assistant could provide them with all the information they need. The astronaut will eventually use The AR program to facilitate communication between them and the ground control as they take spacewalks.

2- Creating An AR Film

Stanford students, Max Korman, and Khoi Lee,  had been observing the proven positive effect AR had on areas such as education. Nevertheless, they wanted to experiment with the use of AR in a narrative so they decided to create the first-ever short film using AR as a medium: Snowbird.

Snowbird tells the story of a bird stuck in a snow globe with an old ill-tempered snowman. The movie debuted at the Stanford Immersive Media Conference to much praise from attendees. However,  anyone who wants to watch it now can simply download the Snowbird app and layer the snow globe over any flat surface to start the viewing experience.

3- Empathizing with High Schoolers

Kiwi is an AR app that makes learning easier for high school students. The School of Visual Arts and Columbia University students recalled how some high schools were lagging behind in terms of tech when they themselves were high schoolers.

They created Kiwi to be a weapon to all bored students. They can use whenever they want to learn in more engaging ways. As students scan their textbooks using Kiwi, they unlock videos and other forms of content that provide extra info. This can make topics more interesting and more fun to learn. The app also allows features such as note-taking and highlighting to encourage sharing among students. The app won the NYC Media Lab Verizon Challenge 2017 in the category of AR/MR.

4- Celebrating History

The Washington College Archives has a rich selection of artifacts from different chapters in the history of USA. Visiting the exhibition is a great opportunity to learn more about the country’s history and remember its past. The problem is with how busy their lives have become today. Some students of The Washington College didn’t find a journey to the Archives too engaging. It didn’t take the people in charge of the Archives long to figure out that solving this problem had to involve new tech. This is why they decided to use AR.

They then left it to a team of students who took it all from there in what they called The Augmented Archives Project. They developed an app that gives users a 3D model of the item scanned. This allows users to interact with it in any way they like. In addition, they added to the experience videos and text to educate them about the history of the item. Other than turning students into history experts, The Augmented Archives Project is also a signal to how students may interact with materials they are researching while working on papers and projects in the future.

5- Bringing Art to Life

In 2017, MIT students Julia Rue, Tara Lee, Jessie Wang, Emma DeSoto, and Iris Fung who used to enjoy doing art before joining college set on to resurrect their passion for art with a series of 200 foot long murals inside tunnels and invited all MIT students to join them in creating the murals; a project they dubbed The Borderline Murals.

The tunnels where the murals were painted had been used before for protection against bad weather. That’s why they were quite useful even if they were bland. The project leaders wanted to change that and make the tunnels a place people anticipate and enjoy going to. To make that happen, they believed that art was not enough so they integrated AR into the project.

Scanning the murals using the BorderlineAR app brought the murals to life. It also unlocked extra content to tell the stories of the murals. Addition of an AR element made the visit to the tunnels a much more engaging experience. This helped the project achieve its goal of increasing the art’s appreciation. 

If you are looking to create cool college projects yourself, sign-up to The Augmania AR platform here.

5 ways AR reshapes your life

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I am sure you’ve heard about how top leading companies around the world are increasingly showing their enthusiasm regarding Augmented Reality. A perfect example would be Facebook’s recent announcement.
But, ever wondered what the fuss is all about?
The answer is simple: Augmented reality or simply AR is more than just a new trend or a new obsession. It is a key tool that will make our daily lives a whole lot easier. But how you might ask?
Well, here are 5 ways:

1/ Retail

By overlaying a virtual world on top of the real one, AR helps people visualize and try on products from distance. For example, you can use AR for clothes, accessories and furniture shopping. It’s tiring to wander around stores for hours putting on different items hoping to find what suits you best. Now, you can easily use AR to virtually try on whatever pleases you.

Or, even cooler, if you ever feel the urge to buy new furniture but can’t figure out how to display them around your house, just take their picture and AR will show you the best position.

Augmania spent years researching how AR can enhance the shopping experience. If you are interested in being part of the exclusive list of early adopters, make sure to join the waitlist here:

https://augmania.typeform.com/to/gUQLrS

2/ City Exploration

                                   

AR location detection feature has definitely proven itself a necessity for big city dwellers.

Regular GPS is struggling to give clear orientation because of the architectural complexity of streets and their proliferated buildings. However, augmented reality can better locate addresses and help you visualize your direction. AR can also make your trips and commute a ton more informative. For example, you can point your mobile or tablet at any monument you come across and AR will bring its walls to life, by giving you clues about its history. This could spice up your daily explorations and travels with both a sense of adventure and knowledge.

3/ Marketing

When competition is high, it is imperative for you as a brand manager or a digital marketer to trigger more customer interest and build a stronger brand loyalty. This is possible by applying AR technology for branding. In fact, many companies allowed consumers to try their products before buying them which earned them a huge success. Using tools like Augmania where you can make a creative and informative AR story about your products, will tremendously increase your customers’ engagement and, of course, augment your sales’ rate.

4/ Education

Educating children with boring textbooks and long lectures has resulted in many shortcomings; such as reluctance to go to school with lots of excuses to skip classes. This proves children’s need for more interaction and creativity to stimulate their minds, which is what AR is made for! By intriguing curiosity and making content more fun, AR is an epitome of the recognized educative approach “teach them while they play”.

5/ People with disabilities

By digitizing what surrounds us, AR helps people with autism through offering them an added layer to extend their capability of interaction. Moreover, with its very developed algorithm, you can use AR applications to point out at anything, anywhere, and you’ll hear a voice telling you what it is.
AR technology can detect your environment and basically guide you everywhere you are, which is a huge advantage for people with vision impairments.

Astonished by AR yet? Well, join the family and hit our subscription button for more info about AR’s awesomeness!