Posts tagged with "augmented reality"

QuantumERA × Battle of Gettysburg

Free and Early Release of Mixed-Reality App that Recreates Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg: A Nation Divided has pushed its launch date and waived download fees to assist teachers, parents, and students

Parents and teachers are in search of educational solutions as millions of students are now learning from home.  To help and expand their choices, a new mixed-reality app that recreates the Battle of Gettysburg is launching early.  Normally priced at $12.99, the app will be free of charge for a limited time.

QuantumERA‘s Gettysburg: A Nation Divided, is a mobile experience that envelopes students in the battle as it unfolds around them. Narrated by actor Scott Eastwood, the app’s immersive scenes transport users to 1863 with 360-degree views and avatars of men and women who were involved in the battle. Included is an artifact scavenger hunt with the ability to earn points. The student’s involvement and interactivity provide a better understanding of what happened during the turning point of the Civil War.

“Working from home while schooling our two children has been overwhelming,” said mother of two, Laura Aplin. The Gettysburg app ”has been an educational retreat for our kids. Not only are they learning about one of the most important battles in American history, but they are also able to travel through time and outside of our home. They’re not just watching something, they’re part of the experience. The added blessing is that it allows me to dedicate more time to work knowing that the kids are engaged in something productive.”

Gettysburg: A Nation Divided unites historical scholarship and mixed-reality platforms to transform students from being in the audience to becoming part of the experience. This is a critical point of engagement in a world of video games and social media, where audiences are craving highly visual and interactive experiences.

“The world we live in has changed so dramatically in a matter of weeks,” said Lane Traylor, CEO of QuantumERA. “The QuantumERA team wanted to help by waiving fees to help children learn and also escape for a while. We also want to support the millions of teachers and parents who are undertaking multiple roles, easing some of the stress that comes with navigating their new norms.”

QuantumERA is a leading content creation company that creates mixed reality experiences.  They are most well-known for their award-winning Experience Real History™ brand that recreates the Battle of the Alamo through augmented reality apps and products.

Teachers and students can find free resources for hours of engagement and fun at PerspectivesXR.org, QuantumERA’s education partner.

Free downloads of Gettysburg: A Nation Divided are available in The Apple App Store for a limited time. The BETA version of this app, optimized for Apple iPads,  is now available. Mobile optimization for other Android devices coming soon.

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red 6ar, Daniel Robinson, Air Force, 360 MAGAZINE

Red 6

God didn’t give me many skills, but I am reasonable with an airplane.

By Sonya Haskins

Retired Royal Air Force Daniel Robinson, the first foreign pilot who qualified to fly the American F-22A Raptor, makes this statement with sincere humility, despite the challenges he has overcome to accomplish more than most people could ever dream of.

Robinson grew up in County Durham, a coal-mining region of northeast England that was the setting for Billy Elliot, a 2000 British film about a young boy who wanted to pursue a career in ballet rather than follow his father into the coal mines.

Like the main character in the film, Robinson felt as if “aspirations were really low” for young people in the seaside town. He says he attended a bad school, the community was experiencing severe economic decline and as the local coal mines and shipyards were gradually closing, unemployment skyrocketed. Options for local employment at that time were few and far between. Fortunately, Robinson had his own sights set on something a little different. 

While he was a teenager, he worked as a milkman and saved up his money to take flying lessons. Following his first lesson at age 15, a mentor recognized the potential in Robinson and encouraged him to apply for a Royal Air Force Scholarship.

According to the Royal Air Force website, “a career in the RAF is about discovering your natural talent.” The description goes on to describe ordinary people who have joined the RAF “often with nothing more than a desire to lead a less ordinary existence.”

This was certainly true of Robinson and at the end of five years of training, he graduated as a combat ready fighter pilot in August 2001.

Let that sink in. August 2001. 

A few short weeks later the world changed and Robinson’s formative years as a fighter pilot were spent on operations and exercises across the world, including time in the Middle East. 

In 2005, he was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Fighter Weapons School (the UK equivalent of Top Gun). It was early in his career and again, Robinson states that he was very lucky to be selected and even luckier to make it through the demanding course. Meanwhile, forged by shared security concerns in the wake of 9/11 and joint operations in the Middle East, the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom continued to go from strength to strength.

Following graduation from Fighter Weapons School, Robinson says that in 2006, he “became the luckiest fighter pilot in the world.”

The Lockheed Martin F-22 is a tactical stealth fighter developed for the United States Air Force and is the most capable combat aircraft on the planet. An aircraft  that is without peer in the air dominance role but one that is also capable of ground attack, electronic warfare, and the ability to intercept signals for intelligence-gathering.

The United States Air Force allowed one foreign pilot to train as an F-22 Raptor pilot at Langley Air Force Base in Langley, Virginia. That incredible honor was bestowed upon Robinson and he became the first non-American fighter pilot in the world to fly the F-22 Raptor. He then went on to become an instructor pilot for the stealth fighter.

“It was a huge, huge privilege, as you can imagine,” Robinson comments about being chosen, “being that guy and being a Brit. It was extraordinary.”

His experiences during the three years he served as an instructor pilot with the United States Air Force began to form the foundation of what would become Red 6. Before he began to pursue AR technology, however, Robinson would face some of the toughest moments in his life.

Tragedy and Change

In 2009, when his career as an F-22 pilot came to an end, Robinson considered what he might want to do outside the military. 

First he attended Georgetown University and earned a Master of Business Administration. Soon after, he took a “transition” job in the greater New York City area. Although he kept coming back to his passion for flying and the problems that industry was facing, he wasn’t exactly sure how to solve them.

Then in November 2011, Robinson received a call from England. 

Daniel’s father had built Gus Robinson Developments, a construction, plumbing, and electrical company, from the ground up in the early 1970s. Nearly 200 employees, mostly local Hartlepool residents, depended on the company as the primary source of income for their families and Gus was calling to tell his son that the family business was going bankrupt. He needed him to come home.

Although Dan told his father he’d catch the next flight out, the next morning he awoke to the tragic news that his father had committed suicide. The man who had been his best friend, a wonderful father, and the most formative person in his life was gone.

“My world collapsed at that moment in time,” says Daniel.

Although he had faced many challenges during his life, those moments were nothing compared to the days following his father’s death. He was trying to process what had happened, comfort his mother and sisters, and also make decisions that would affect hundreds of others in his small community.

“I called a meeting the next day,” explains Robinson, “I went in and told them the truth of what had happened.”

He calls it a pivotal leadership moment because he knew that his speech “would either bind them behind me or we’d collapse.”

Robinson isn’t one to mince words. He clarified that the business was in trouble and their success or failure would boil down to the next six months. Since so many local families depended on the company, any decisions would ultimately affect an entire community. He asked everyone to sacrifice collectively for the good of the team and he would sacrifice most of all. 

It was a critical, inspirational speech and a turning point in the company. 

The next day Robinson met with the bank and asked them for time. They pointed out that he was close to bankrupt, but he asked them for a month to come up with a business plan. When they agreed, he went straight to work, taking no time to mourn the father he loved so dearly.

Over the next several years, he rebuilt his father’s business and shaped it into a much bigger company worth several million pounds. When talking with Robinson, you can tell he is incredibly proud of what Gus Robinson Developments had become. He did what was necessary to create the best situation for everyone and he sold the highly successful company in 2018. However, it came at great cost to him in every area.

“At that point,” Robinson says, “I was exhausted, shattered, and moved back to the United States to try to get back on with my life.”

He initially moved to New York, but decided to seek a fresh start in California. It was during this time that he began to think about the continuation of his life purpose. No doubt his father’s death had a great impact on him in this area.

“I began to ask myself a simple question,” he explains, “if my life was up in a month of time, how would I spend my days?” He decided he’d want to spend time with his friends, eat good food, drink good wine, practice his beloved art of Brazilian Jiujitsu, and he would want to fly again.

Back in the Air

Soon afterwards, Robinson walked into a flight school at the Santa Monica Airport.

“There was a young trainer there – a kid who was about 21 years old,” he recalls. “After the first lesson, the kid said, ‘You know. I think you might have some potential as a pilot.’”

Of course Robinson had a nice chuckle. 

The time around airplanes again was integral to the formation of Red 6. Robinson explains that each day he had been visiting the hangar, walking past a guy named Dave. Eventually he began helping Dave work on his Berkut, a homebuilt aircraft with tandem seating for two.

One day Dave found out that his friend was in fact a former F22 pilot so he asked if Robinson would like to fly his Berkut. 

“I was just flying around with a big grin on my face,” he says. In fact, he enjoyed flying the Berkut so much that he told Dave he’d like to build one of his own. His friend strongly recommended against it, citing the cost and the complications of finding a kit and the complexity of the build.

Dave also recommended against it for personal reasons. His best friend, Rick had been a Berkut demo pilot who was killed in a Berkut accident during the 65th Annual Santa Paula Air Show in 1995.

Robinson was processing all of this for a while, but then a couple of months later, when he walked into the hangar, he was met by an elderly gentleman, Sam. Dave had told Sam about Robinson and the two of them took him to the desert to show him something. It was a kit. In fact, it was Rick’s Berkut kit.

“It has been sitting in the desert for 21 years waiting for you to build it,” Dave said.

At that moment, although he knew he should be focusing on the next stage of his career, the fighter pilot who had lost so much knew what he had to do and he committed to building the finest example of the Berkut that has ever been built.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

There are moments in life when we see a clear path, but most of the time we just do the best we can, hoping we end up somewhere worthwhile. Then there are those times when we feel compelled to do something, but we can’t possibly know all the ways it will impact our lives. 

Robinson’s decision to build the Berkut led to several key contacts, including technologists in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality. One of them, Glenn Snyder had co-developed the famed virtual drift race car experience in VR.

As he began talking with these experts in AR and VR, his mind went back to the problems he had seen with the F-22s and he began connecting the dots.

Once he understood how VR and AR worked, he knew that some of the problems wouldn’t be solved with virtual reality, but he wondered if there was a way to use augmented reality to train pilots while they were in the air.

Together, they came up with a thesis and basically called up the U.S. Air Force, stating that they were developing a technology that could fundamentally help to solve their training crisis. He discovered that they had already been working on a research program when they referred him to the Air Force Lab.

It was at that point that Red 6 really began to come together. He began trying to find ways to answer the question, “How do we train in the future?”

The Problem

“Every time you go up and fly for training, you need an aircraft and an instructor to train against” explains Robinson.

There are some major challenges in training fighter pilots, including the fact that it’s incredibly expensive. In addition, we’re already critically short of fighter pilots because it’s difficult to recruit and train them. This also means there are fewer qualified instructor pilots available for the next generation of recruits.

Finally, Robinson points out that “the general public thinks you can just roll in and fight with relative impunity” because in the past we’ve pretty much been able to do this. He points out, however, that with the re-emergence of Russia on the world stage as well as the fact that China is really engaged in technology and innovation, we should be worried.

“The once technological advantage that we’ve enjoyed,” states Robinson, “is basically no more.”

Historically for training, our pilots would have other US fighter jets simulating the bad guys, but this isn’t feasible anymore, largely due to cost, lack of qualified pilots and critically, the inability to simulate modern near-peer adversaries.

Solutions

Once he had the attention of the U.S. Air Force, Robinson set about incorporating AR technology into an airplane so he could prove that their thesis was possible in a cockpit. In February 2019 he gave a demonstration on the ground.

Guests went into an AR headset that had been built by Red 6. They then flew up alongside a tanker, flew up into the sky, and then flew a mission against two Russian airplanes and did a visual dogfight. This was all simulated on the ground, but guests were introduced to augmented reality in a fighter cockpit. That was the goal of the first demo – simply to show possibilities.

Next Robinson had to prove that his concept was possible in the air. 

He obtained a small business innovation grant from the U.S. Air Force and since November, Robinson has been demonstrating the technology. The response has been incredibly positive.

Today, Red 6 has raised over $3.5m in seed funding and over $1.5m in non-dilutive USAF research grants. The company will be raising a Series A round in 2020.

“We’re solving AR outdoors and in dynamic environments as well,” Robinson states. “That’s something we should all be excited about.”

In fact, although he believes Red 6 is essential because the military must discover ways to address the national security crisis surrounding training, Robinson also believes the AR has many other practical uses.

“Today, AR is a solution in search of a problem,” he says, adding that “the consumer market is not here yet, but for a ubiquitous AR future to be realized, the technology has to be mobile in nature, be anchored around compelling use cases, and be a technology that people want to wear.” 

By helping to solve the challenges of using AR outdoors and in dynamic environments, Robinson’s team at Red 6 is not only helping the military, but they’re helping to provide answers to questions about an emerging technology that is sure to impact countless areas of our lives.

Demo HERE.

How cheap Internet prices has helped online education in evolving?

Imagine this is 2004, and you’re an engineering student aspiring to clear the GATE exam. What would your first instinct be? It would undoubtedly involve looking for a nearby institute or consulting your college seniors about how hefty a fee you should be expected to pay for the course.

The year 2017 alone projected the growth of EduTech market at about $255 billion. This number is likely to grow at an exponential rate because more and more students are deciding to enrol for online courses. But what are the circumstances that contributed to this enormous growth? What are the factors that dominate this market niche?

Online Education:

An underlying sense of how online education works is dependent on the goal of the learner. The primary category of learners come to earn certifications which when added to their resumes, boost their career portfolios. The second category of learners come with a sole goal to improve their professional skill set and thus to establish expertise in that area.

Gaining an online degree was earlier not respected or considered credible. But all that is rapidly changing with the drastic increase in the number of students opting to study online and also the number of quality education providers online. While the availability of high-speed internet is one major factor, ease in accessing this technology, economical pricing, superior quality of education and the flexibility it provides form the other significant factors which contribute to the growth of students opting to learn online.

How does affordable internet contribute to this growth?

India and Internet:

The origin of the seed for digital education in India is a bit hazy, but the presence of E-Learning has been prevalent thanks to the educational programmes done by Doordarshan and Aakashwani in the previous decades. Though the internet was a common phenomenon in the early 2000’s, learning wasn’t the main takeaway from any of it. It was primarily used to communicate and not an everyday household luxury because of its expensive setup costs.

With the advent of affordable and high-speed bandwidths, the penetration of internet increased, and with it, the user base surged. The highest surge in the number of users in India was probably towards the end of 2016 when Reliance Jio made affordable and cheap 4G internet a reality while the Indian Currency Demonetisation forced digital literacy in the country.

Rural Penetration and Indic Languages:

The internet has opened up a wide range of possibilities in rural India. Students who previously travelled hundreds of kilometres and paid thousands of rupees at coaching institutes for GATE, UPSC, CAT etc. examination preparation, can now prepare from the comfort of their homes. All they need is a laptop or a smartphone with a small internet pack or access to a community WiFi network.

Sreenath K, a railway coolie from Kerala has cleared the UPSC examination by using the free WiFi available at the railway station. Every day, while he moved the luggage around the station, he used to listen to classes via his earphones on his smartphone. While this is an epitome of ‘how affordable internet has empowered the common man and thus helped in evolving the education in India’, the question of content and trust issues still exist.

A Yourstory article indicates that a majority of the Indian population prefer and trust content in their native languages. This opens up an excellent opportunity for regional content creators.

Thus teachers from anywhere in the country can upload their content in their native languages, and peer-reviewed content ratings help students choose the best of the lot and learn from them.

Accessing Content and types of Content:

While there is an abundance of text-based content available for students to consume, the most preferred content type is video. Video-based content has made it easy for students to understand complex topics from a primary school level to even GATE, CAT or UPSC.
While this stands, audio and image-based content rank next to video content. This is so because before the advent of 4G, accessing a video file was a difficult task but affordable 4G and free WiFi has made video streaming easier and faster.

While there are numerable video tutorials and audio tutorials available for free on youtube and other podcasting mediums, there are many other paid course portals available which provide various certification courses. The increase in the demand for skilled certification has increased the number of contenders in this category. This healthy competition, in turn, has contributed to improving the quality of the course content available.

Educational content is not just confined to the limits of the formats mentioned above. There has been a significant surge in content being generated for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality too. Gamifying the material has helped it, but at the same time, the pricing and the costs involved in including these technologies in a daily learner’s life are huge as of now.

It is not just this new technology, India is ranked 67th by Ookla’s internet speed test, the average internet speed in India is 18Mbps. Though this is an acceptable speed, it is not enough to cater to the ever-growing digital population.

With an estimated growth in the edtech industry to about $1.6 Billion by 2021, the best way to achieve this is by complete rural penetration of the internet, promotion of Indic and regional languages based content, affordable higher bandwidth and integration of new technologies into e-learning modules.

Bloom: Open Space

Open to the public now, Bloom: Open Space is a new mixed reality generative music experience created by musician, producer, visual artist, and thinker Brian Eno and longtime collaborator, musician/software designer Peter Chilvers. For just five days, guests to The Transformatorhuis (Trafo House) at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam can explore this unique MR installation that blurs the lines between the physical and virtual.

 
Based upon their highly acclaimed, award-winning app of the same name, the installation explores uncharted territory in the realms of both applications and generative art. Guests can use the Microsoft HoloLens to physically experience Bloom – tapping the air around them to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies with the simplest of gestures.

 
Says Eno, “I have always been interested by the possibilities that new technologies offer, particularly that subset which falls under the heading ‘things nobody ever thought of doing before.’ This offer was an opportunity to explore the possibilities of Bloom further and augmented reality further.”

 

Bloom: Open Space seeks to inspire creativity in line with Brian Eno’s innovations, while the HoloLens allows the audience to directly participate and become part of the total experience. Eno has consistently pushed the boundaries of music, sound, and visual art, continually challenging both himself and those who experience his work. Eno and
Chilvers have been experimenting with generative systems for about 15 years, and as well as Bloom, have also released a number of other apps including Scape, Trope, and most recently, Reflection.

A part of the Microsoft Music x Technology program, this collaboration transforms the way we experience and create music. The installation is open to the public in Amsterdam through February 25th, 2018. For those unable to travel to Amsterdam, you can get an inside look at Bloom: Open Space here: bloomopenspace.com

 

Event Details :
Bloom: Open Space
A mixed reality installation by Brian Eno + Peter Chilvers
Open now – Sunday 25 February, 2018

The Transformatorhuis (Trafo House) at Westergasfabriek
Klönneplein 2
1014 DD Amsterdam

 

APPLE × SAMSUNG

OF SMARTPHONES AND SUPREMACY —THE NEVER ENDING RACE BETWEEN APPLE AND SAMSUNG

Written by: Amardeep Singh

2016 and 2017 have been strange years for smartphone giants that seem to show no signs of backing out on every front. From Samsung‘s gadgets being seen as potential explosive bombs to Apple admitting its dirty tactics in slowing down its older phones for better sales, from Nokia making a valiant return with the 3310 to Google releasing Pixel. But before techies and phone savants declare their opinions on the best phone for the year as 2017 comes to an end, it’s important to review two of the most happening smartphones that had gripped everyone in hype.

IT’S ALL IN THE SPECIFICATIONS

The iPhone X debuted with a staggering size of 43.6 × 70.9 × 7.7 mm (5.65 × 2.79 × 0.30 inches) showing an absent home screen button when compared to the Note 8’s size of 162.5 × 74.8 × 8.6 mm (6.40 × 2.95 × 0.34 inches).

Initial advertisements by Apple boasted several of the phone’s  features such as a stunning 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display that shows a beautiful 2,436 × 1,125 pixels (458 ppi) home screen. Apple wasn’t just betting on visual appeal to be the main selling point but it seems that the new animated emoji( called animoji) clearly took the stage at the keynote speech.

The phone runs on an A11 Bionic  64-bit architecture with a 2716 mAh battery that Apple promises to power 12 hours of internet, 13 hours of video playback, 21 hours of talk time and up to 60 hours of audio playback. Cameras have seen a vast improvement in the latest release with a M10 motion co-processor being coupled with a dual 12MP rear (both with OIS) and a 7MP True Depth front that captures images up to 4K at 60fps. Video making too has been augmented with users now being able to shoot 1080p at 240fps. Beneath the silver or space Gray exterior the, the provides up to 64GB or 256GB of storage space and the newest iOS 11 framework.

All this for a standard price of nearly a $1000 which is likely to increase in the coming months as Apple hints the possible release of more color variants and even a rumored iPhone 9.

The Note 8 too isn’t much far in that regard when it comes to technology. While slightly heavier than its counterpart, the phone still takes the lead with a 162.5 × 74.8 × 8.6 mm (6.40 × 2.95 × 0.34 inches) size with a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display and a 2,960 × 1,440 (522 ppi) resolution. While the rear camera is no different than the iPhone ‘s12 MP feature, the front has an 8 MP capability. Early reviews stated that the phone hosts features to create videos at 4K at 30fps and 720p at 240fps. The Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (U.S.)/Samsung Exynos 8895 (international) processor allows for 22 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 16 hours of video playback, and up to 74 hours of audio playback.

Available at three storage spaces of 64GB (U.S.) 128, 256GB (International) and two colors of midnight black and orchid gray, the phone will cost buyers $ 930.

VERDICT— WHAT THE PUBLIC HAS TO SAY

The iPhone X launch brought some radical changes to its generation of smartphones which were welcomed by some but ridiculed and criticized by most. Despite showing some amazing sales figures when compared to the iPhone 7 which was considered to be no less than disastrous on the public front, the Note 8 still holds a competitive edge against the former.

Buyers are specifically amazed at the uses for Google Assistant and the S pen along with several other features such as Bixy, peripheral ports and its special lock-in procedures.

However, newer versions of the Note 8 have attracted some hindrance after users reported that they were unable to charge even on plugging after using them for the first time. Users are also dissatisfied with facial detection, screen burning and short battery lives on the latest iPhone. And the company too seems to be on thin ice as it revealed details about slowing down ageing phones which took a big crunch at its stock prices.

But only time will tell if either company can maintain a stronghold of their investors and consumers as the year comes to another end.

Photo credit: Stuff.tv