Mobile AR Game Minecraft Earth Is Now Available In The United Kingdom

Death, taxes and Minecraft Earth launch countries – that’s what it feels like lately, with new launch countries for the mobile AR game popping up every few days. This time, it’s the United Kingdom’s turn to get building.

People living in the UK can now download the game, which is in early access and launching gradually worldwide, a few countries at a time. The United Kingdom joins New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, South Korea and the Philippines as launch countries. There is still no word on a United States launch, but given that the UK is one of the bigger markets that the game has launched in, a US launch might be coming soon.

The mobile AR game is Minecraft’s response to Pokemon Go and other map-based mobile games that get you out of the house and exploring the real world, intertwined with AR elements. You can build structures, craft weapons, collect materials by exploring your real-world neighborhood and fight monsters in AR during the “adventure” events scattered across the map.

While the game does share similarities to other map-based AR games, it also has its own nice Minecraft-spin to it that offers some nice points of difference. I’ve been able to try the game out here in Australia already, so you can expect a first impressions piece on the game soon.

What are your thoughts on Minecraft Earth? Have you tried the game out, and are you still waiting for it to launch in your country? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Mobile AR Game Minecraft Earth Is Now Available In The United Kingdom appeared first on UploadVR.

Minecraft Earth Launches In More Countries, Now Available In Canada, South Korea, Philippines

The Minecraft Earth release schedule seems to be speeding up a bit – just a few days after the last batch of countries, the new AR mobile game is now available in Canada, South Korea and the Philippines.

The game, while still in early access, is now available publicly to anyone in Australia, Mexico, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Iceland. The release schedule is gradual, rolling out a few countries at a time. With Canada, Australia and South Korea now on the map, it looks like we’re getting closer to a release in some of the bigger markets like the US and the UK.

Minecraft Earth is Microsoft’s response to the mobile AR craze that started with Pokemon Go. You’ll have to get out of the house and explore the real world and use AR to build structures and complete “adventure” events set in the Minecraft universe. You can also collect materials, craft items and smelt resources just like you can in the original version of Minecraft, but not without a few changes to adapt it to the AR-based mobile platform.

I’ve been jumping into Minecraft Earth here and there since the Australian release last week, and it’s definitely an interesting spin on existing AR-based mobile games like PoGo or Wizards Unite. You can expect a first impressions piece, and other Minecraft Earth content, coming soon.

Have you been able to dive into Minecraft Earth already, or are you still waiting for the game to release in your country? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Minecraft Earth Launches In More Countries, Now Available In Canada, South Korea, Philippines appeared first on UploadVR.

Minecraft Earth Early Access Now Available In Australia, Mexico and Sweden

After an initial launch in New Zealand and Iceland, Minecraft Earth early access is now available in Australia, Mexico and Sweden. The game is gradually rolling out across a few countries at a time, seemingly in smaller markets first.

While it’s still launching in early access, this gradual launch is not restricted and is available to anyone, provided you’re in one of the supported launch countries. Minecraft Earth previously launched a closed beta for select players only, and early access marks the first time the game is available publicly.

This is Minecraft’s response to Pokemon Go and other map-based mobile games that get you out of the house and exploring the real world, intertwined with AR elements. You can build structures, craft weapons, collect materials by exploring your real-world neighborhood and fight monsters in AR during the “adventure” events scattered across the map.

I downloaded the app today and gave it a try. While it’s still early obviously, there are some really fun elements that hark back to 2011 and give me major Minecraft nostalgia. The game still has a lot to offer that I haven’t checked out yet, but it does also feel somewhat distinguished from other similar AR games like Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

There’s still no concrete word on when the game will launch in some of the larger markets like the US or the UK. The best indicator we have is on the Minecraft Earth site, which just indicates it will launch in more countries “in the coming weeks.”

Be sure to keep an eye out for more Minecraft Earth coverage from us in the next few weeks. If you’re in one of the supported early access countries and you’ve tried the game out, let us know in the comments below.

The post Minecraft Earth Early Access Now Available In Australia, Mexico and Sweden appeared first on UploadVR.

Novelis Augmented Reality Sales Tool

Augmented Reality Sales Tool

Novelis recently engaged Zugara to develop an Augmented Reality mobile app that could help act as an interactive sales tool for Novelis’ product team. The AR experience needed to help communicate the product features and attributes for Novelis’ new aluminum battery enclosure for electric vehicles. AR was utilized within the mobile app to enhance product demonstrations on multiple fronts:

  • An augmented reality product demonstration showed the battery enclosure in both an enclosed and expanded view. Different sub part features could be selected and viewed in a real world environment (pictured above).
  • The AR presentation of the product could be scaled for a full-size product demonstration in a factory or reduced for display on a conference room table during a board room presentation.
  • Different product features (including chemical compositions) were selectable and viewable in AR mode. In addition, we developed 3D viewable data that could assist engineers with viewing data in AR while also viewing specific product sub part information.
  • A product assembly presentation was also developed in Augmented Reality view to show how the battery enclosure was assembled in a step by step process.

“Novelis consistently seeks new, innovative ways to engage with our customers when it comes to marketing our products,” said Nick Dzierzak, Electric Vehicle Business Development Manager, Novelis Global Automotive Team. “Augmented Reality helps improve the interaction and engagement with our customers by offering our sales & technical teams a new way to present our products and material data and can be used anywhere and anytime in true to life detail and form. The Zugara Team was great to work with and helped explain how both Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality could be utilized both with our mobile application and within our organization.”

You can view a demonstration of the Novelis Augmented Reality Sales Tool in the embedded video below or on YouTube here. You can also view an Image Gallery at the end of this blog post.

The mobile AR experience was developed for smartphone and tablet devices with corresponding ARKit (Apple) and ARCore (Android) functionality.

You can view other AR apps Zugara has developed for our clients in our Augmented Reality Projects section. We’re also happy to help you build you next Augmented Reality experience so please feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions on Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality or Zugara.

The post Novelis Augmented Reality Sales Tool appeared first on Zugara.

ARCore Developers And Top ARCore Apps

ARCore Developers And Top ARCore Apps

Ever since the release of the ARCore platform by Google, there have been some amazing ARCore apps by ARCore developers. Similar to how we outlined the top ARKit apps and developers in a separate blog post, in this post, we wanted to highlight some of the top ARCore apps and demos we have seen to date. Unfortunately, since ARCore has limited availability on the Google Pixel and Samsung 8+ mobile devices, there aren’t as many ARCore developers yet in comparison to ARKit developers. However, there are still some amazing ARCore use cases that have become public. A few of those top ARCore apps and use cases can be found below.

ARCore Introduction

Similar to ARKit, ARCore is a SLAM-based technology. We went over some SLAM and Augmented Reality technology basics in our Top ARKits and ARKit Developers blog post that you can read here. If you want to get a more in-depth and technical review of both ARKit and ARCore, Matt Miesnieks from Super Ventures has some great technical reviews on both ARCore and ARKit.

For a more visual introduction to ARCore, we’ve embedded Google’s ARCore Introduction video below which we think does a great job of showing how ARCore technology will apply to a variety of Augmented Reality Use Cases.

In addition to the ARCore introduction video, Google also has a site called ARCore Experiments with some basic yet cool examples of ARCore technology. We’ve embedded an intro video for ARCore Experiments below along with two ARCore experiments we thought were great representations of what ARCore technology will do for Augmented Reality.

ARCore Developers

As mentioned previously, because ARCore has a limited number of mobile devices it is available for and that it was released after ARKit, there aren’t as many ARCore developer videos out there yet. However, we have included two of the most impressive ARCore videos we have seen so far.

Further Reading (and Viewing)

As we come across more ARCore apps by ARCore developers, we’ll update this blog post. This is similar to how we’ve been updated the Top ARKit Apps and ARKit Developers blog post with the best ARKit examples we come across. You can also view the Facebook Augmented Reality page for all the latest ARKit and ARCore news and videos. And finally, we’ll be posting any latest ARKit apps and ARCore apps on our Zugara developer page here.

In the interim, you can check out a few links below to get more information on both ARKit and ARCore:


The post ARCore Developers And Top ARCore Apps appeared first on Zugara.

ARKit Developers And Top ARKit Apps

ARKit Developer

Ever since the release of Apple’s ARKit platform, ARKit developers have been creating some amazing ARKit apps. Just in the last month we have seen everything from a variety of ARKit inter-dimensional portals, to ARKit measuring tools and an ARKit Pac-man recreation. With ARKit as part of iOS 11 and projected to be released with the iPhone 8, we’ll likely see even more creative demos over the coming months. The iOS ecosystem is ripe for ARKit disruption as ARKit developers will be looking at a projected 505 Million ARKit supported devices by the end of 2017.

With the explosion on ARKit apps, we wanted to highlight a few of the better examples of ARKit being deployed by ARKit developers. You can find most of these ARKit examples on YouTube or on the Facebook Augmented Reality community. At Zugara, we have also been experimenting with ARKit and will be releasing some demos publicly soon.

Listed below, in no specific order, are some of the better ARKit apps we’ve seen created by ARKit developers over the last month. Think of this as a living list of ARKit apps as we’ll continue to add any new and exciting ARKit examples as we see them.

ARKit Portals

There have been a variety of different ARKit “Portals” released by ARKit developers but the 3 best we’ve seen to date are the original ARKit inter-dimensional portal by @Nedd, ARKit A-Ha Music video and ARKit portal on the floor. ARKit inter-dimensional portal and ARKit A-Ha Music Video are embedded below and you can find the ARKit portal on the floor video here.

ARKit Games

2 of the more impressive examples of using ARKit for games utilize different methods. The first is the ARKit game by which utilizes the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope for interaction with Augmented Reality objects positioned with ARKit. The second method is more location-based where your environment turns into an interactive game with this ARKit Pac-man recreation.

ARKit 3D Object Placement & Interaction

ARKit has also been used in more straightforward ways (similar to SLAM) where 3D Augmented Reality objects are positioned and stabilized in the real-world environment. This method is similar to what was typically used with markers and image recognition to place and view Augmented Reality info. A few of the better examples of using SLAM-like functionality with ARKit include iPhone object product placement, an ARKit virtual tour of Van Gogh’s bedroom, and ARKit used to place and view a dancing robot.

Update 8/11/17 – Added this ARKit example showing very realistic 3D models for food ordering.

ARKit Other

There are also a few ARKit apps that don’t fit into a specific category but show the flexibility of the ARKit platform. These include using ARKit as a virtual measuring tape to using ARKit for tracking of virtual characters in a real world film.

Update 8/11/17 – Added amazing ARKit video showing how to paint with fingers.

As we mentioned earlier, a new ARKit app is released by an ARKit developer almost every day. We’ll continue to update this post with latest ARKit examples and you can also view latest ARKit news and apps at the Facebook Augmented Reality page.

The post ARKit Developers And Top ARKit Apps appeared first on Zugara.

IDC Projects Retail As Largest AR/VR Industry By 2020

Augmented Reality Virtual Reality Forecasts

IDC recently updated their Worldwide Semiannual Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Spending Guide to show an increase in forecast revenues of $13.9 Billion in 2017. AR and VR spending is also expected to accelerate over the next few years to a projected $143.3 Billion market by 2020. Wow…

In regards to specific industries that will drive this Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality spending, IDC’s report lists retail as a primary driver:

“Discrete manufacturing and retail are expected to be the only two industries spending more than $1.0 billion on AR/VR solutions this year. Driven by a five-year CAGR of 238.7%, retail will move ahead of discrete manufacturing to become the top industry for AR/VR spending in 2020.”

In addition, the report also lists the specific retail use cases that will drive this retail AR & VR spending:

“The industry use cases that will attract the largest investments in 2017 are retail showcasing ($461 million), product development ($267 million), and industrial maintenance ($249 million). By 2020, online retail showcasing will join retail showcasing and produce development as one of the largest use cases with a five-year CAGR of 403%.”

As we’ve stated on our site in the past, Augmented Reality will be one of the largest (if not the largest) segments for retail in the future. Virtual Dressing Room technology use cases continue to show different engagement and conversion tactics, mobile Augmented Reality with geolocation will help drive consumers to retail and so on.

As other Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality forecasts from Goldman Sachs have shown, it never has been an issue of “if” the retail segment will adopt Augmented Reality technology but “when”. With IDC’s latest report, we now have that answer as to when Augmented Reality technology for retail will arrive.

The post IDC Projects Retail As Largest AR/VR Industry By 2020 appeared first on Zugara.

Top 5 Augmented Reality Developments For 2016

As this year draws to a close, we wanted share our thoughts on the Top 5 Augmented Reality Developments for 2016. While Virtual Reality has drawn most of the spotlight, there have been some amazing developments in the AR space that are bringing it closer to consumer and enterprise adoption. Though there have been quite a few AR product launches, brand experiences and new startups funded this year, we wanted to isolate our Top 5 list to what we feel are developments that have had and will have the most impact on the Augmented Reality space as a whole.  So without further adieu….

#5 – Augmented Reality Investment / Funds

Augmented and Virtual Reality Funding 2016

A recent CB Insights article entitled, “AR vs. VR Funding: AR Deal-Making Growing Faster Than VR Deal Activity” shows that though VR investment grew in 2015, AR has taken the investment lead in 2016. Digi-Capital also pointed out earlier in the year that 2016 was the first year that Augmented Reality investment topped $1 Billion. And this was in the first quarter alone for 2016. Since that time, seed stage AR/VR investment funds, such as Super Ventures, were founded while institutional and corporate venture capital firms also started to make investments. Given the incredibly low level of AR investment prior to 2016, this years robust and growing amount of investment bodes well for numerous Augmented Reality startups and technology.

#4 – Snapchat & Facebook Monetize Augmented Reality

MSQRD Facial Recognition

With Facebook’s acquisition of MSQRD and Snapchat’s debut of Augmented Reality Lenses, mobile users worldwide were soon introduced to Augmented Reality selfies. While both platforms tout basic facial recognition and animated layers on your face or within your camera view, this AR feature became very popular with both users and brands. In addition, these features also became a new form of advertising revenue for these platforms with Snapchat charging $750,000 for a 24 Hour branded lens.

#3 – Tango Launches With 3D Camera For Augmented Reality

Tango Augmented Reality Example

While 3D cameras like Kinect have been around for a few years, mobile devices were restricted to a 2D camera that had limitations for Augmented Reality based technology. With the release of the Lenovo Phab Pro 2, mobile devices with 3D and depth sensing capabilities were soon a reality. The early reviews of Tango technology also bode well for the future of mobile-based 3D Augmented Reality.

#2 – Head Mounted Displays Arrive For AR Development

HoloLens Use Cases

When Google Glass debuted in 2013, it was ahead of it’s time – both technologically and culturally. However, with the debut of Microsoft’s HoloLens in late 2015, the Head Mounted Display (HMD) market quickly showed how we would utilize mixed reality in the future. After receiving initial positive reviews, the HoloLens has now been in the hands of developers for most of the year. With other HMD devices from Meta 2 and Magic Leap launching soon, the HMD segment for Augmented Reality will quickly be adopted by enterprise customers and eventually by consumers.

#1 – Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Augmented Reality Geolocation

Without a doubt, Pokemon Go was the biggest Augmented Reality launch and development in 2016. Though Pokemon Go only utilized “AR Lite” technology, it quickly made $500 Million in 8 weeks after launch and is on track to make more than $1 Billion in revenue by the end of 2016. More importantly, Pokemon Go introduced multiple generations to Augmented Reality technology in ways that no other app or technology has done to date. While it remains to be seen how popular Pokemon Go will remain, geolocation coupled with Augmented Reality will be one of the most important technologies for mobile users, advertisers and retailers.

Honorable Mentions:

So there you have it…our Top 5 Augmented Reality Developments for 2016. As always, you can read the latest Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality news on our Facebook AR Community Page. Have any other developments to add to our list? Let us know in the comments…

The post Top 5 Augmented Reality Developments For 2016 appeared first on Zugara.

The Evolving Augmented Reality Ecosystem

Over the last 8 years, we’ve been witnessing a growing and evolving Augmented Reality ecosystem. Image recognition has become more stable, facial recognition more popular through Snapchat and Facebook (MSQRD), and of course Pokemon Go’s arrival on the scene has introduced the majority of consumers to location-based Augmented Reality. However, as Augmented Reality has evolved and become more diverse, it’s also become more complicated to define Augmented Reality technology.

While Virtual Reality is a more straight forward ecosystem and experience, Augmented Reality often integrates with different types of computer vision technologies. Also, unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is also available on multiple platforms thereby creating different challenges and opportunities. We often speak at length on these different Augmented Reality technologies and platforms, so this an attempt to help clarify different areas within the evolving Augmented Reality ecosystem. We’ve outlined a few of the different computer vision-based technologies that integrate with AR below as well as various Augmented Reality platforms available now and in the near future.



McDonald's Vuforia Image Recognition Example

Image recognition has been one of the more popular Augmented Reality technologies over the last few years. Black and white markers were initially used to display a 2D or 3D animation. This evolved over the years to image recognition which could recognize an image to track and display a 2D or 3D Augmented Reality object. The next evolution of image recognition technology will lead into markerless object recognition which is being worked on by multiple Augmented Reality and tech companies.

Popular Platform(s): Vuforia, Catchoom, AR Toolkit

Technology Example(s): Muscle Milk / Shaq Promotion, McDonald’s Gol!, CraftAR


MSQRD Facial Recognition

Facial recognition has recently become popular through a variety of different use cases including Augmented Reality makeup, masking and more. Facebook (MSQRD) and Snapchat have recently offered Augmented Reality ‘masks’ that overlay and track to a person’s facial features and movements. Another example would be the recent Pepsi Emoji experience that recognized different facial expressions and overlaid a corresponding Emoji graphic on the person.

Popular Platform(s): MSQRD, Snapchat, Modiface

Technology Example(s): MSQRD, Snapchat Lenses, Pepsi Emoji


IVO Gesture Recognition Engine - Attach Virtual Objects Image

Gesture Recognition technology has been utilized for both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality environments. Gesture Recognition typically uses a 3D or depth sensing camera like Kinect for interaction. However, whereas the Kinect is typically used for longer distance recognition, Leap Motion and Intel RealSense target close range interaction. You can see examples of gesture recognition coupled with Augmented and Virtual Reality in Virtual Dressing Room technology or Leap Motion’s technology for Oculus Rift Virtual Reality interaction.

Popular Platform(s): Microsoft Xbox One Kinect, Intel RealSense, Leap Motion

Technology Example(s): IVO Gesture Recognition Engine, Crayola Art Alive


Pokemon Go McDonald's Japan

This type of Augmented Reality technology recently went mainstream via Pokemon Go. Augmented Reality objects are placed in geofenced areas based on GPS coordinates. In the case of Pokemon Go, the AR objects only display in the mobile device camera vs. tracking and displaying to environmental objects or markers. While we still have a ways to go for true object and/or environment recognition with Augmented Reality information and layers, there are creative applications that can utilize basic location-based data to display AR content. Another location-based mobile augmented reality technology method involves displaying AR objects in the mobile camera view based on the gyroscope and accelerometer of the mobile device.

Popular Platform(s): NianticWikitude

Technology Example(s): Pokemon Go, Hungry Jack’s Protect Your Whopper Game, Wikitude



Tango Augmented Reality Example

Mobile is the most popular platform for Augmented Reality at the moment (and for the future) and primarily breaks down into 2D vs. 3D enabled mobile camera devices. 2D cameras are already being used with image recognition, facial recognition and more. 3D enabled mobile devices, such as Tango, will open up more technical capabilities since a 3D camera can provide depth and 3D environment mapping/tracking to better place a virtual object or animation in the physical environment.

Popular Platform(s): iOS, Android, Tango

Technology Example(s): Walgreen’s Indoor Retail Mapping, Fiat AR Experience


HoloLens Use Cases

The HMD or Head Mounted Display area of Augmented Reality is where most AR purists consider the future of AR. HMD’s often use a visual display with integrated 3D cameras. This allows for gesture recognition, virtual object tracking and manipulation and more. You can view a more technical information and breakdown of the HoloLens vs. Meta 2 here.

Popular Platform(s): HoloLens, Meta 2, Daqri

Technology Example(s): HoloLens Overview Video, Meta 2 Launch Video, Daqri Smart Helmet


MLB VDR Kiosk Example

Augmented Reality experiences utilizing Kiosks or Display Technology are similar to AR experiences on mobile devices that use the front facing camera. Kiosk enabled AR experiences will often utilize a 3D camera and gesture recognition, facial recognition and even image recognition. Kiosk displays can also use 2D cameras or mounted mobile devices such as an iPad.

Popular Platform(s): Kinect, iPad

Technology Example(s): Major League Baseball (Kinect), Treachery of Sanctuary Installation (Kinect), Pepsi Emoji (iPad)

The post The Evolving Augmented Reality Ecosystem appeared first on Zugara.

Pokémon Go Players Want More Augmented Reality (SURVEY)

Pokemon Go Augmented Reality

In a previous blog post, we looked at the different areas that contributed to the success of Pokémon Go including the Pokémon brand, geolocation and Augmented Reality. Now a recent survey by Vasona Networks shows that most Pokémon Go players want more Augmented Reality.

According to the survey of Pokémon Go players:

  • 23% say the most exciting part of the game is playing outside, while an additional 17% cite the AR aspect as most exciting;
  • 69% plan to play future versions of the game, while 24% are unsure of future usage; and
  • 67% play at least a few times per week, of which more than 33% play daily.

The future Pokémon Go features that survey respondents said they were most hopeful for would cause the app to have a more significant data impact. When asked which one feature they most look forward to:

  • 39% said map overlays;
  • 26% said real-time syncing to see location and progress of friends;
  • 21% said characters that can react to player actions;
  • 9% said in-game video chat; and
  • 6% said to be able to live stream game commentary.

There are other interesting responses from the survey that can be found here.

The post Pokémon Go Players Want More Augmented Reality (SURVEY) appeared first on Zugara.