Collaborative AR, Urban Exploration, and the Future of the Augmented Experience: Blue Vision Labs Releases SDK, Announces Funding
A truly collaborative AR experience is closer than ever, and thanks to Blue Vision Labs, it will be accessible directly from your smartphone.
Recently announcing $17-million in Series A funding from Alphabet’s Google Ventures division, Blue Vision Labs has created a proprietary SDK that utilizes improved mapping technology to connect users via mobile device. Allowing multiple users to see the same virtual objects, the Blue Vision SDK employs virtual maps that are even more accurate than current GPS capability, helping users interact in the virtual space with a spatial accuracy that has yet to be seen in existing AR technology.
The Blue Vision product is expected to have immediate implications in regards to multi-player games, on-street navigation apps, and social media. And for third-party developers like Ryan Isbell and LA-based Possible Reality, an AR studio that specializes in photo-realisitc avatar creation and facial mapping technology, the announcement signals a major advancement in the integration of augmented tech into the existing AR landscape.
“I think this is a very early start to augmented urban exploration, and a huge step in the right direction,” explains Isbell, who regards the Blue Vision SDK alongside Facebook’s AR Studio, ARKit, and ARCore. “Releasing their SDK and API to developers is a great way to get the ball rolling on original content, but Blue Vision takes it one step further with their Augmented Reality Cloud, which allows developers to create collaborative experiences that are shared between multiple users.”
This collaborative feature, which is expected to connect mobile users and improve geolocation capability, separates Blue Vision Labs from the competition. And while the Blue Vision maps currently only extend to San Francisco, London, and New York, the investment from Google Ventures hints at the future incorporation of the Google Earth and Google Maps products into the new SDK.
Like many new AR products, the Blue Vision SDK aims to usher in a new era of urban exploration, where users can seamlessly apply AR features to real-world experiences. An unlike their competitors, Blue Vision Labs has significantly lowered the barrier to entry by utilizing the smartphone technology that is already readily available in the market.
“The fact that a large percentage of the population already owns the hardware necessary to make this technology happen makes Blue Vision’s place in the AR market attractive to both consumers and investors,” comments Isbell. “Who really wants to go drop $1,700 on a Vive Pro, or even the Magic Leap One AR goggles? While the advancement of AR Glasses will be paramount for the future growth of the technology, Blue Vision has a great idea that will now be realized on a larger scale.”
For Possible Reality, and their flagship INTARACT application, which is set to begin alpha testing in the second quarter of 2018, the Blue Vision announcement does not have an immediate impact on their development of proprietary photo-realistic avatar creation technology. However, the release of any new SDK opens new avenues to developers like Isbell, who foresee the coming “AR-evolution,” where third-party content is accessible, and for sale, inside a number of AR apps and environments.
“As a developer, I would totally use this SDK,” adds Isbell. “I feel that it’s up to the startups coming out to really work with each other to make this technology more practical and functional for everyday use. Google, Facebook, and Apple have helped jumpstart our imaginations with awesome AR gifts in the form of free SDKs, with the hopes that we, the young entrepreneurs of the world, can help everyone advance closer toward the Fourth Transformation.”
So while Possible Reality imagines an AR experience that focuses on photo-like representation of the user in a digital environment, Isbell believes there will eventually be a way to incorporate INTARACT into the Blue Vision framework, pushing augmented reality further by combining these life-like avatars with AI technology and social media.
“These new advancements by Blue Vision will soon evolve into a more interactive environment, where digital agents help guide you,” states Isbell. “Using third-party SDKs like IBM’s AI Watson to take these digital agents and place them in your surroundings, INTARACT avatars will eventually be able to learn your likes and dislikes through social media connectivity to better help you navigate these new environments.”
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