The current state of Augmented Reality

In spite of the subject line of this posting, my state of knowledge on that topic may be somewhat incomplete. I apologize to the reader if this is so.

A decade or more ago, Augmented Reality started to make its way to mobile devices, mainly smart-phones, and it consisted of an application that would record the scene which the forward-facing camera was viewing, and would perform some amount of image recognition, or of decoding of humanly imperceptible optical codes, and the app would then overlay CG content over that camera video, to give an enhanced experience to the user on the phone’s display, such as, to highlight certain geographical features of tourist sites, or, to highlight certain commercial products which the user was also seen as a potential customer of…

I think that one phenomenon which has taken place with AR has been, that that market was not lucrative, so that AR apps which did exactly those things have become less frequent. However, some such apps still exist, such as the Android app named ‘ROAR‘. This app does not require that regular users create accounts, but does require that content designers do so. Yet, content designers for this app have expressed pessimism in the question of, whether to create content of this form will pay off in increased profits, because of the simple fact that a customer would need to have this exact app installed, and be running it, either, when visiting a certain store, or, when pointing the app at a product which has already been purchased, say, in order to obtain instructions on how to set up the product. One might say that there is less of a will to invest as much money as was done decades ago, into content creation.

But while this assessment sounds rather bleak, there now exist some newer forms of AR, that have led to more apps. In one new form of AR, the user points his phone at an inside room, and places virtual furniture into it, in order to preview what the best arrangements of furniture would be, before actually spending the money and committing to buy said furniture.

The main reason I don’t want to link directly to such apps is the fact, that they sometimes belong to one specific furniture company, and I don’t want to play favours.

Additionally, AR apps now exist, which do exactly one thing: To act as rulers, i.e., to give a measuration of the distance between two points in 3D, when the 3D scene has been video-recorded in 2D. This would be one example. I can’t really tell how accurate such a ruler app finally is. I’m only documenting that it exists. It seems to have averaged more than 4 stars in user satisfaction reviews.

Another type of AR which exists now, takes the form of “Google Lens“. This was once integrated into ‘Google Photos’, but has been made a separate app. It acts as a search engine, but in order to use it, instead of typing in a search, the user points his phone-cam at a scene or object.

But then, there is also a form of AR, the only purpose of which seems to be, to allow the user to start with a photo, and to create an animation from it himself, that has some sort of fictitious- or fantasy- aspect, and which is simply supposed to look interesting. The resulting animation can then be posted on social media, to impress friends. In one case, the result is an animation in which parts of the photo end up seemingly to move, while in another case, random objects which the user uploaded to a Web-site, are placed ‘in front of’ an actual scene, just like virtual furniture was, except that no intention ever existed, to place those objects physically.

Therefore, in some forms, AR still exists. I suppose that yet another, big context in which it exists is, gaming.

Dirk

 

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One way in which technology appears to be moving forward.

One of the facts which I only posted about a few years ago, was the existence of external sound devices, which effectively acted as an external, USB-connected sound card, and, whether they could be made to work with certain Android software. That particular sound device had as main feature, studio-quality sound (96kHz, 24-bit).

Well, there is a more recent way to accomplish approximately the same thing:

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I should mention in what context this later technology presents itself to the users of mobile devices:

Much as Apple rolled out smart-phones with no traditional, 3.5mm stereo headphone jacks, Samsung has rolled out similar tablets, where the universal connector-type of the latter, is a USB-C port. The ‘Tab S6′ is an example of that. Thus, because some users do want to connect ‘wired’ headphones to this tablet, it’s suggested that users buy a so-called “dongle”, that adapts the USB-C port on the tablet, to a female, 3.5mm stereo phone jack, even the microphone feature of which seems to work. This one cost me CAD 22, including 1-day delivery.

A simple question which some people might have, especially if they are deeply mired in the analog days, and in the technology which existed in the 1970s and 1980s, could be: ‘Does such a dongle just connect the analog pins of the headphone socket, directly to the pins of the USB socket? If not, what exactly does it do?’

The correct answer to that sort of question would be the fact that, as small as that end of the dongle is, on the USB-C side, there is a tiny chip. With that tiny chip, the manufacturers have added a completely unpredictable amount of complexity, to how the dongle might work. Chips exist that have 100,000 transistors. And chips also exist that have 1,000,000 transistors, although that last type of chip is less common, and exists in spectacular cases, such as CPUs, GPUs, etc..

What this means is that, in theory, the chip in this adapter could do everything that the ‘Focusrite 2i2′ external sound card was able to do. But, that’s in theory. There are two important ways, in which it will fail to do so, at least at the time I’m writing this:

  1. The accuracy of that chip is in doubt, And
  2. The protocol with which the adapter communicates with the USB-C port of the mobile device, which is actually referred to as its USB Profile, has not been made backwards-compatible with the older generation of external sound cards…

 

(Updated 6/28/2020, 12h45… )

Continue reading One way in which technology appears to be moving forward.

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Possible Downtime Tomorrow

One fact which I’ve posted about often, is that I host my Web-site and blog on a private computer at home, even though this is probably not what most people should do. Therefore, the availability of my site is only as good, as my ability to keep my computer running, as well as the quality of my Internet connection.

It’s past 22h00 on June 25, 2020 as I’m writing this. But, the possibility exists that, due to some emergency work which will need to be done on my home, my power may need to be cut by 9h30 tomorrow morning.

If that happens then, once again, my blog will be offline.

I apologize.

(Update 6/26/2020, 6h15: )

It turns out that the emergency work, which was pending for my domicile, will not need to take place. Therefore, there should not be any power-cut, and, for the moment, this site and blog will just remain operational.

Dirk

 

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I now have a new tablet.

According to This Earlier Posting, an Android-based tablet which I’ve owned for several years, is dying. I have now received my replacement for it, in the form of a “Samsung Galaxy Tab S6″, and the version of that tablet which I have, is not the ‘Lite’ version.

Beyond that, I have read that many other customers were having problems, attaching the (dedicated, Samsung-provided) Keyboard / Case, for which reason I did not buy that. Instead, to go with that tablet, I have purchased the “Feitenn Galaxy Tab S6 Keyboard / Case“. One fact which must be expected, however, from this third-party Keyboard, is that it will connect to the Tab S6 – electronically at least – the same way any Bluetooth Keyboard would connect, and in so doing, it will also fail to trigger the ‘Samsung DeX mode’, by which that brand of tablet can behave more, the way a regular desktop or laptop would behave. (:1)

For the moment, the new tablet will just continue to behave, as an Android tablet. Yet, Samsung left in the possibility of their famous Multi-View feature, which is available as long as ‘DeX mode’ is not.

As for the question of, whether that amounts to a positive experience, only time will tell.

What I do know is the fact that, the Feitenn Keyboard / Case attaches mechanically, while the dedicated case from Samsung would have attached partially by way of suction, and partially, magnetically.

Additionally, I benefit from the “Samsung S-Pen” – supplied with the tablet – that attaches to the outside of the case magnetically, and that charges wirelessly, as long as it has been attached, oriented correctly. With the Feitenn Case, that S-Pen also receives protection from ‘just falling loose’, while the case is fully closed. (:2)  The flap of the Feitenn Case has magnets to hold it closed against the back of the tablet, as well as, to signal to the tablet to go into standby.

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(Updated 7/01/2020, 8h40… )

Continue reading I now have a new tablet.

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