Monday, February 22, 2010

Bing Maps Augmented-Reality Demo on TED

In a demo that drew gasps at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos new augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft. He is the architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, building augmented reality into searchable maps. He's also the co-creator of Photosynth, software that assembles static photos into a synergy of zoomable, navigatable spaces.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bionic Eye - An Augmented Reality iPhone App

Bionic Eye is a new iPhone 3GS application to visualize Points of Interest (POI) located in your nearby environment in the US, thanks to a unique Augmented Reality functionality using the iPhone camera. It is similar to the Layar Mobile Augmented Reality Browser which have been released for Android phones earlier.

Bionic Eye's POI databases include restaurants, WiFi hotspots, subway stations (New York Subway, Washington Metro, Chicago L Rapid Transit), etc. Over 100.000 POI are already included in this application.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Netflix Everywhere: Sorry Cable, You're History

Wired: Netflix Everywhere: Sorry Cable, You're History

Today, nearly 3 million users access Netflix's instant streaming service, watching an estimated 5 million movies and TV shows every week on their PCs or living room sets. They get it through Roku Digital Video Player, which was successfully launched in May 2008. (The Roku now also offers more than 45,000 movies and TV shows on demand through and, since August, live and archived Major League Baseball games.) They get it through their Xbox 360s—Microsoft added Netflix to its Xbox Live service last fall. They get it through LG and Samsung Blu-ray players. They get it through their TiVos and new flatscreen TVs. By the end of 2009, nearly 10 million Netflix-equipped gadgets will be hanging on walls and sitting in entertainment centers. And Hastings says this is just the beginning: "It's possible that within a few years, nearly all Internet-connected consumer electronics devices will include Netflix."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Layar Mobile Augmented Reality Browser

Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.

Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in all Android Markets. It comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands.

How do you use Layar?

By holding the phone in front of you like a camera, information is displayed on top of the camera display view.

For all points of interest which are displayed on the screen, information is shown at the bottom of the screen.

What do you see in the screen?

On top of the camera image (displaying reality) Layar adds content layers. Layers are the equivalent of webpages in normal browsers. Just like there are thousands of websites there will be thousands of layers. One can easily switch between layers by selecting another via the menu button, pressing the logobar or by swiping your finger across the screen.

The Layar Content Catalog includes the following categories:
  • Real estate
  • Health care
  • Transportation
  • Tourism: Places to stay
  • Tourism / Tours / Guides
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Games
  • Weather
  • Retail
  • University / Schools
  • Local search & Directory service
  • Social networks & communities
What does it take to make a layer

A layer consists of three parts: The layer definition, the list of POIs (Points of Interest) and each individual POI.

The layer definitions are created on the Layar Provisioning website and stored in the Layar database. The web interface will allow developers to set all the attributes that make the look & feel of the layer. It will also allow the developer to manage the publishing process of a layer. Once published, the end-user will be able to view the new layer in the Layer Gallery inside the app.

In summary, a layer developer needs to create a layer definition via the Layer Provisioning Website and expose a web service (REST) that can be called by the Layar Server using the Layar API and optionally expose (made-for-mobile) web pages for further action on each POI.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wireline and Mobile Broadband Penetration and Traffic Study

In Q1 2009, the US market exceeded $10B in quarterly mobile data service revenues for the first time. The subscription penetration in the US is well past 90% and the mobile data usage is on the rise. While the rate of new subscriptions has slowed, the pace of innovation is going very strong. It is quite apparent that the mobile industry is going through a significant transition from voice to data, from making calls to getting lost in applications and from voice communications to multimedia communications. Helped by the ever expanding wireless broadband networks, and release of hit devices every quarter, and consumer’s insatiable appetite for information and content has brought us to the surge of a data tsunami that will shake the industry to its core.

In 2009, the global yearly mobile data traffic will reach a new milestone – 1 Exabyte(EB) or 1 Million Terabytes (TB). By 2016-17, the global yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 1 Zettabyte (ZB) or 1000 Exabytes. By 2014, in the US alone, the total yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 40 EB. How do you go about managing such growth in a profitable manner when the cost of supporting such traffic will increase exponentially despite the move to 4G? Will the move to LTE offer some respite?

The new report Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era discusses the analysis done by Chetan Sharma Consulting on the growth of mobile data traffic in the US market and how the ecosystem can apply some strategies to manage growth and profits. We built detailed models to estimate the rise of mobile data network traffic and discuss some solutions to handle such growth in this paper.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Youtube 3D Video Player

YouTube introduced a stereoscopic player for watching videos in 3D. If you play a 3D video a drop-down menu will show options for red/cyan and amber/blue 3D glasses and some options that don't require glasses. Here's a brief overview video.

To enable the 3D player, you need to add the following tag to one of your videos: yt3d:enable=true. Peter Bradshaw, a Google employee, has more information about this experimental feature:

I'm the developer working on the stereoscopic player as a 20% project. It's currently very early, hence the silly bugs like swapping the eyes for the anaglyph modes. A fix for this is in the works.

The current tags are provisional and may change or expand. They are:

yt3d:enable=true Enables the view mode.
yt3d:aspect=3:4 Sets the aspect of the encoded video.
yt3d:swap=true Swaps the left and right sources. You may need to add this to videos when the player with fixed anaglyph modes ships.

You can try the new feature by searching for yt3d:enable=true.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Self Destructing E-Mail with Vanish Firefox Plugin

Computing and communicating through the Web makes it virtually impossible to leave the past behind. College Facebook posts or pictures can resurface during a job interview; a lost or stolen laptop can expose personal photos or messages; or a legal investigation can subpoena the entire contents of a home or work computer, uncovering incriminating or just embarrassing details from the past.

Vanish is a research system designed to give users control over the lifetime of personal data stored on the web or in the cloud. Specifically, all copies of Vanish encrypted data — even archived or cached copies — will become permanently unreadable at a specific time, without any action on the part of the user or any third party or centralized service.

For example, using the Firefox Vanish plugin, a user can create an email, a Google Doc document, a Facebook message, or a blog comment — specifying that the document or message should "vanish" in 8 hours. Before that 8-hour timeout expires, anyone who has access to the data can read it; however after that timer expires, nobody can read that web content — not the user, not Google, not Facebook, not a hacker who breaks into the cloud service, and not even someone who obtains a warrant for that data. That data — regardless of where stored or archived prior to the timeout — simply self-destructs and becomes permanently unreadable.

The technical paper, which will appear at the 18th USENIX Security Symposium in August, describes the concepts behind Vanish in detail. Briefly, as mentioned above, the user never knows the encryption key. This means that there is no risk of the user exposing that key at some point in the future, perhaps through coercion, court order, or compromise. So what is done with the key?

Vanish leverages an unusual storage media in a novel way: namely, global-scale peer-to-peer networks. Vanish creates a secret key to encrypt a user's data item (such as an email), breaks the key into many pieces and then sprinkles the pieces across the P2P network. As machines constantly join and leave the P2P network, the pieces of the key gradually disappear. By the time the hacker or someone with a subpoena actually tries to obtain access to the message, the pieces of the key will have permanently disappeared.

The Vanish prototype uses the Vuze Bittorrent Distributed Hash Table as the underlying P2P network. It supports data timeouts of 8--9 hours by default, though longer timeouts are possible.