Peak Pokémon Go has already passed

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A new report from Axiom Capital Management suggests that Pokémon Go is on a downward trend in daily active users and engagement of those users. The data comes from Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

Additionally, "The Google Trends data is already showing declining interest in augmented reality, whereas interest in virtual reality remains high," says senior analyst Victor Anthony.

(Bloomberg Markets)

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Will augmented reality be quite this unpleasant?

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Augmented reality, where stuff is visually superimposed on the real world using special glasses or whatever, is often touted as a more convincing and likely future than, say, everyone ending up in some kind of VR entertainment matrix hooked up to nutrition and shitting tubes. Sadly, AR will be even worse, at least if it resemble Keiichi Matsuda's hellish Hyper-Reality. Read the rest

The magical future of virtual reality

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In Wired, BB pal Kevin Kelly wrote a definitive feature about the current (and future?) state of virtual reality, technology that many of us first tried in the late 1980s but took nearly thirty years to be ready for prime time.

I first put my head into virtual reality in 1989. Before even the web existed, I visited an office in Northern California whose walls were covered with neoprene surfing suits embroidered with wires, large gloves festooned with electronic components, and rows of modified swimming goggles. My host, Jaron Lanier, sporting shoulder-length blond dreadlocks, handed me a black glove and placed a set of homemade goggles secured by a web of straps onto my head. The next moment I was in an entirely different place. It was an airy, cartoony block world, not unlike the Minecraft universe. There was another avatar sharing this small world (the size of a large room) with me—Lanier.

We explored this magical artificial landscape together, which Lanier had created just hours before. Our gloved hands could pick up and move virtual objects. It was Lanier who named this new experience “virtual reality.” It felt unbelievably real. In that short visit I knew I had seen the future. The following year I organized the first public hands-on exhibit (called Cyberthon), which premiered two dozen experimental VR systems from the US military, universities, and Silicon Valley. For 24 hours in 1990, anyone who bought a ticket could try virtual reality. The quality of the VR experience at that time was primitive but still pretty good.

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Weekend reading: an augmented reality murder mystery

Bill Shunn writes, "The second and concluding part of my science fiction novelette 'Our Dependency on Foreign Keys' is available now at the online magazine Across the Margin (part one). Read the rest

Kickstarting a prismatic, hat-brim mounted heads-up display for your phone

The Hattrickwear is an improbable ball-cap designed to mount your phone horizontally along your eyeline with a mirror and prism that keeps your screen in your field of vision all the time. Read the rest

Kickstarting an augmented reality, artificial lifeform in a kids' picture-book

Wagner James Au sez, "Created by virtual world/avatar pioneer Jeffrey Ventrella, Wiglets are self-animated, augmented reality creatures for mobile devices powered by an open source AI system, and have genomes that are stored in the cloud along with their geo-locations. 'This means they can exist in specific locations in the real world,' Jeffrey explains. The overall goal with Wiglets is to encourage kids to find/play with their creatures in the natural world."

$65 gets you the book and a virtual Wiglet. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling Augmented World keynote speech

Here's Bruce Sterling's snappy, excellent keynote for Augmented World Expo. This is definitely AR beyond mere Google Glass.

Bruce Sterling - Keynote at AWE 2013 Read the rest

Short sf film about future augmented reality graffiti

Tim Maughan and friends produced a short film based on his excellent story Paintwork, which is about graffiti and augmented reality.

Augmented reality card routine

'Virtual Magician' Marco Tempest blows it out of the water with this augmented card routine recently posted at TED.

Spacecraft 3D: Nifty robotic space travel augmented-reality app from NASA JPL

I recently had a chance to visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory with Miles O'Brien. At the NASA center in Pasadena, engineers are readying for the long-anticipated landing of the Mars Curiosity rover on Aug. 5. During our visit, we met with the team behind a cool new iOS app from JPL: NASA's Spacecraft 3D, an augmented reality application that allows users to "learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe."

Using a printed AR Target and the camera on your mobile device, you can get up close with these robotic explorers, see how they move, and learn about the the engineering feats used to expand our knowledge and understanding of space. Spacecraft 3D will be updated over time to include more of the amazing spacecraft that act as our robotic eyes on the earth, the solar system and beyond!

The app is really a ton of fun. You can download it here for free, iPad and iPhone and iPod Touch. Here's the JPL press release announcing its release. Read the rest

Paintwork: cyberpunk++ stories of killer augmented reality mechas and QR code graffiti writers

Tim Maughan's self-published short story collection Paintwork collects three of his stories, including the British Science Fiction Award-nominated story "Havana Augmented."

In an era of "post-cyberpunk" science fiction, Maughan is firmly cyberpunk -- or maybe "cyberpunk++," a genre that captures all the grit and glory of technology with a higher degree of plausibility and respect for real computers and networks than the genre had in its glory days.

"Paintwork," the first story, is a noirish, Gibsonian story of a graffiti writer in an econopocalypse-scoured Bristol, whose specialty is elaborate augmented reality animations that he inserts into the public consciousness by overwriting the QR codes on advertisements. "Paparazzi" is a story of gaming celebrity and global economics, with a wry and funny take on gold-farming that went to a place no other writer has ventured. The final novella, "Havana Augmented," is justly famed as Maughan's best work today: a political games/AR thriller set in Havana, where a bootleg augmented reality mecha combat game becomes part of the Communist Party's plan to liberalize the country's economy, and the young rebel gamers who are caught up in the plot.

Maughan has a keen eye for the fictional possibilities of technology, a good hand with the what if/ten seconds in the future mode of storytelling, and he's quite adept at filling his work with hyper-cool eyeball kicks. These stories are fun and thought-provoking, a great combination.

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SVK Warren Ellis/UV ink comic is back on sale

SVK, the fab Warren Ellis/D'Israeli comic published by London's BERG with hidden UV ink action, sold out in hours. The second printing just came back from the printers and it's back on sale. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling's Augmented Reality project

Bruce Sterling has launched an augmented reality product with Layar coder Menno Bieringa, German media artist Aram Bartholl and Layar artist-in-residence Sander Veenhof: "With Sterling’s 'Dead Drops Layer,' users can scan the horizon for handy Dead Drops that might be lurking nearby. A few taps and clicks create a map that will lead to the site. Network users can then plug their laptops directly into the 'Dead Drops,' which are commonly embedded in brick walls and almost invisible." Read the rest