Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Pokemon Go! was huge two years ago, it took the world by storm by creating a game that gets people moving, interacting and used a very well known and loved game. The company Niantic, who created Pokemon Go, has been developing the game, HarryPotter: Wizards Unite!

 

 

The game will be similar to Pokemon Go!; turning real-world streets, neighborhoods and cities into a global game board, and bringing people together in a shared digital reality. It will be interactive and get you moving and socializing with people who also love Harry Potter. You’ll be learning and casting spells, battling magical creatures, and teaming up with others to take down enemies.

I LOVE Harry Potter, so I’m super pumped about this game! People seemed to have really loved Pokemon Go! I don’t know why people have stopped talking about the game, I just assume because its ran its course and people got tired of it, but I’m glad the company has continued with the Harry Potter project.

Details on the game are pretty scarce, but Niantic did say in September that the company was looking at using audio cues in future AR games because holding up a phone for an extended period of time ‘makes them look like a total doofus,’ So it’s possible that Harry Potter Wizards Unite, will have sound cues. OMG how cool is that!

The game is set to release sometime in 2018, so get ready for more strangers wandering around your neighbourhood and watch out for those people who wander out onto the street without looking! I think that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be a very good game and very popular, I personally think it will do better than Pokemon Go! So if you’re a fan of Harry Potter or augmented reality games then this is the game for you!

The New Reality (AR Breakdown)

I have only paid attention to Augmented Reality for a few years now but it has been going on since the late 90’s. AR is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. If I really wanted to, I could have a Smurf juggling apples in front of me. In reality that is, not happening but I am visualizing it through a screen. That leads me to ask the question; what is reality? With the growth rate of AR and its relative VR, otherwise known as Virtual Reality. Our realities are about to change, if they haven’t already.

PAST

AR began its life back in the olden days, well, by olden days I mean 1998. It first appeared as the yellow first down line that you see on TV while watching a football game. The term Augmented Reality was coined eight years earlier by Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell. Back then it wasn’t a serious topic but now they have evolved AR into such things like the Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields.

CURRENT

Technology Companies are taking advantage of this and using it to evolve their apps on mobile devices. Snapchat for example, uses AR to allow users to wear an augmented mask, otherwise known as a Snapchat filter. IKEA uses AR on their app to allow customers to visualize what a piece of furniture may look like in their house before they even buy it.

FUTURE

AR is heading in a very impressive direction. Holograms becoming a reality are very near. Microsoft and multiple other companies have dedicated teams to working on such a project. AR and VR are working with each other as well, allowing users to take advantage of the benefits from both Virtual and Augmented Reality. It’s a multi-dimensional reality.

IMPORTANCE

AR is not just some toy people can play with either. Multiple industries use the innovative technology, including: healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism, and marketing.

“Neural implants could accomplish things no external interface could: Virtual and augmented reality with all five senses; augmentation of human memory, attention, and learning speed; even multi-sense telepathy – sharing what we see, hear, touch, and even perhaps what we think and feel with others.” –Ramez Naam

It’s amazing technology; use it to your advantage.

AR for Visual Aide

By now, most of us have heard about augmented reality or have used it somehow. It is not a new technology, but the way it has been used lately is quite innovative and goes far beyond entertainment purposes.

Augmented Reality happens when we can see our physical real world environment and then modify, replace, or add objects to it (images, sounds, videos, graphics, and GPS data) generated by a computer. It is closely related to a wider concept called mediated reality, and it works by enhancing somehow our perception of reality.

It is important to keep in mind that Augmented Reality is soothing entirely different from Virtual Reality. In the second, we replace our real world environment by a fully simulated one.

OxSight, a new start-up, created and is testing Augmented Reality glasses to help people with very limited vision. They describe this device “as a hearing aid for the blind”. So far, the glasses have proven to work quite good for people who still have a little bit of sight (whether if it is a light detection, movement or shape impairment), and they use that slight portion of their vision to amplify it with the glasses.

One of the main advantages of the glasses, and that might be what is holding back its full potential, is that there is nothing connected to the brain and it doesn’t have a direct interaction with the eyeball. Instead, it works with well-known technologies like see-through displays, cameras and computer vision representations that have already been developed on Augmented Reality to understand the real world environment. It makes OxSight very friendly and easy to use.

Another great feature of the glasses is that their creators understand that there are a lot of causes for vision loss and that every case is different. That’s why they created a board so the user can customise and adjust the parameters of the image they are seeing. This board assures the user will be able to understand his/her surrounding and the objects in it.

For people who have lost their vision capabilities over the years, this has represented a great change because now, thanks to OxSight, they can see their families faces and that’s something they thought were never be able to do again.

Augmented Reality Hearing is Here.

Ever wonder what controlling what you hear would be like?

Neither have I, but now that I’ve read up about the “Here Active Listening” earbuds (lovely name, not at all last minute) I am genuinely interested in trying it out.

What does this allow you to do?

The Here Active Listening earbuds work by taking in sound from an out facing microphone. Then through the small processor in each earbud, in which produces an augmented sound. Of which, you can control the sound produced with a simple app on your phone.

What do you mean by “Augmented Sound”?

The sounds that can be produced by the Active Listening earbuds range from drowning out a car’s/plane’s engine, or you know, a baby crying. To giving everything a funky acid trip like in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (as described by the authors of my information, not me). You could also drown out the sound of a crowd of people at a concert so you could hear the music better, if you like going to those still.

What’s my opinion on this?

Unlike previously stated, I kinda don’t like the use of a phone app to control the output. Because what’s new technology without tying you to your phone even more. But criticism aside, I like the idea of controlling what you hear and I see the possible potential for it. Like if there’s a baby crying on an air plane you finally don’t have to listen to that for hours on end! You can drown it out and actually enjoy a flight for once.

Other than that, the only way to really understand the limitations and extents of what the “Here Active Listening” earbuds can do is by trying it out yourself.

Augmenting Your World

Augmented reality is the interactive media system of the future. It seeks to integrate two worlds which, until now, had been very much separate: Ours, and the digital world.

The primary feature of most augmented reality technologies is their real-time real-world interactability. Rather than having to use clunky and decidedly artificial input methods like keyboards and mice, they are instead controlled by natural inputs like gestures, voice commands, and movements. They seek to take the digital world out from our screens and into our environment where we can interact with it in a way that comes naturally to us.

Most, by now, have heard of the iconic Google Glass. Among the earlier platforms designed specifically for augmented reality, it provides an overlay that can understand and interact with the world before our eyes, bringing us new a wealth of knowledge and hands-free communication in a world that typically does not offer up such bounties. The Google Glass mostly makes use of one particular concept in terms of its interface, that of the Heads-Up Display, or HUD for short.

The average gamer is likely familiar with the idea of a HUD, as it’s not far off what you typically see in something like a shooter game. Live feeds of various information are provided in an unobtrusive interface that sits in front of your eyes, most often on the inside of a helmet or a pair of glasses.

Testing out the Oculus Rift

Testing out the Oculus Rift

Another up-and-coming technology that primarily uses something like the HUD is the widely-acclaimed Oculus Rift. The Rift is primarily a tool for gaming (although it does have a variety of other uses) that fully immerses the player in their digital world by fully replacing their field of view with two digital screens, portraying the left and right viewpoints of the character. On top of this, to look around, the player no longer needs to move their mouse or press a key, as the Rift tracks their head movements and rotates the camera accordingly. Some people have some motion-sickness issues with the technology still, which can be primarily attributed to the fact that it does not yet track motion fast enough to move the camera perfectly in real time, with the lag being disorienting for most people.

Augmented reality has a variety of applications and overall promises to be a major factor in many upcoming developments, with companies like Microsoft and Google dipping their hands into it.