Augmenting the Web: Bringing AR to Billions of Web browsers
Augmenting the Web: Bringing AR to Billions of Web browsers
We use your web browser to give you Augmented Reality super powers! See through walls & magically see what others can't!
We use your web browser to give you Augmented Reality super powers! See through walls & magically see what others can't! Read more
We'd like to thank all our backers, family and friends for their AWEsome support.
Since we started planning our "Augmenting the Web" Kickstarter project we've learned an incredible amount. From the preparation of the core message, through to when we kicked it off, and then over the past month through the interactions with all of the people that have expressed interest in our vision. And when we say we've learned a lot...we mean "A LOT" 8)
The vision of the “Augmented Web”, a web where Augmented Reality can be unlocked without the need for proprietary apps, has resonated with so many people around the world. This goes far beyond just those of you who’ve backed the project.
There was an amazing demand for us to run in-house workshops to help people learn more about the Augmented Web. This has been fantastic! However, what we hadn’t anticipated is that most organisations simply can’t support the Kickstarter payment model. Engaging a company to provide services in most organisations or in the government and education sectors requires that this be processed through a defined procurement process that results in payment via bank transfer with a purchase order. And that process, no matter how hard anyone tries to fit a square peg in a round hole, just doesn’t align well with raising funds on Kickstarter. To give you an idea, had all the people that have booked in workshops with us been able to pay through our Kickstarter project we would now be over our Kickstarter funding goal!
So while we’ve learned a lot and attracted support from lots of people that are keen to participate in the future of the Augmented Web, we've decided it's time to wrap up this Kickstarter project.
For more information visit us at https://buildAR.com/kickstarter
And here's the rest of the information about our project. We're proud of this "big picture" vision for the future of the Web and we'd still encourage you to share this story with your friends.
#HERE'S OUR STORY
We're bringing Augmented Reality to the Web and our platform makes it easy for you to both create and view AR - all without downloading any apps!
AR overlays information onto your view of the world. Just like in iron man, the minority report or the terminator. And we're making this possible through any standard Web browser on any of your devices.
If you back us as an educator we'll give you the tools to create experiences such as an AR treasure hunt or historical exploration that'll have your students running around your school or campus having fun while they learn.
If you back us as a curator we'll give you the tools to enable your visitors to point their phone at items in your exhibition to unlock extra information that extends your collection beyond what's physically on show.
If you back us as a web designer or user experience professional we'll give you the tools you need to create a new type of interactive web application that'll make people go "wow!".
If you back us as a developer we'll guide you through the process of creating Augmented Web applications and show you what amazing things are on our development roadmap.
Or, if you just want to show your support for our AWEsome project then back us in exchange for an "Augmenting the Web" t-shirt so you can show your friends how the Augmented Web works in style.
If you create AR today then you literally have to start by "begging your users to download restrictive AR apps". Trying to get people to use your AR through one of these existing AR apps is a giant hurdle.
Here's how this clunky process currently works. First you have to tell your users that your AR content exists, then you have to send them to an app store to download the AR app, then ask them to wade through the "first use" experience, then ask them to search for and find the AR content you told them about in the first place... Hello...is anyone still there?!
Our project will eliminate this complexity by making AR a seamless part of the Web. Augmented Web Experiences (AWE) are based on open Web standards so all you need to view them is a standard Web browser. Our platform will enable you to "create" AND "view" AR using any standard Web browser. Plus Augmented Web Experiences work on all kinds of Smart & Wearable devices. Just share a link to your buildAR project, then people can open it in a standard Web browser and it just works. In fact, it'll automatically adapt so you can easily deliver Web based AR to all kinds of Smart & Wearable devices.
Please back our project and help us set Augmented Reality free!
A little background info
If you're like us you live on the Web, you love the latest technology and you can feel that there's a new revolution just around the corner. We believe the Augmented Web delivers that new revolution and it combines the latest Web standards with AR on Smart & Wearable devices.
We’ve spent the last 5 years working on the R&D that’s enabled this vision (see our "Who is buildAR?" story below) and we’ve already taken the important first step so you can see what's possible right now. At the beginning of the year we released the first phase of the open source portion of this project along with demos of rich, interactive AR running on standard Web browsers. Your support will help us continue this open source development and allow us to integrate it into the next generation of our buildAR platform.
If you haven't heard of buildAR.com before, you can think of us as “Wordpress for the Real World”. We aim to make creating AR as "easy as adding a blog post or sending a tweet". With our platform you can simply embed your digital content into the physical world around you by linking it to images, locations and more.
See what some amazing people are already saying about this project
What’s the big idea?
Over the last few years a flood of new Web standards have opened the door to new and exciting ways to interact. On top of this, AR is reshaping the way we see and interact with the physical world all around us. New wearable displays, like Google Glass and the Oculus Rift have grabbed consumer attention. Amazing new input devices like the Leap Motion Controller and the Structure Sensor allow you to create interactive magic with a simple wave of your hands. And now Google has released Project Tango, showing mobile devices can come with built-in sensors that let you scan and map the space around you.
But we need a flexible way to support this complex mix of devices and technologies. We need more than just Responsive Web Design to adapt to this new world.
This is where Augmented Web Experiences (AWE) come in. They take HTML5 as a starting point and grow from there. The Augmented Web is what comes after HTML5 and it combines the latest Web standards with AR on Smart & Wearable devices to create an exciting new vision for the Web of the future.
Here's a few videos of the working demos we've already released.
Using the Leap Motion Controller with the Augmented Web.
Adding AR to the Oculus Rift using the Augmented Web
Visual Search and AR on Google Glass using the Augmented Web
How would I use the Augmented Web?
As a content creator, you’ll be able to open buildAR in any standard Web browser, on almost any device and easily start creating Augmented Web Experiences. When you’re ready you can share your AWEsome content via any of your social networks, or add it to your webpages as easily as you can with any YouTube videos.
As an educator, you’ll be able to use buildAR to create Augmented Web Experiences for your classroom. You can teach your students to create their own AWEsome content, or even write their own code using our open source awe.js library. Your students learn to interact with course content in a whole new way and take part in shaping the Web of the future.
As a curator or cultural content creator in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums, etc.) sector you will be able to use buildAR and awe.js to create rich Augmented Web layers that link your artefacts to the wealth of rich information that is so often hidden away from the physical exhibition. This can be added to your website where your visitors can continue their journey and keep interacting with your artefacts in a physical way even after they leave your exhibition space.
As a marketer or business owner, Augmented Web Experiences can help you engage with customers in new and innovative ways. You’ll be able to use buildAR to create compelling, interactive Augmented Web Experiences for your webpages and campaigns. Your customers can share your AWEsome content via social media or the Web and anyone with a standard Web browser can access it by just tapping on the link.
As a developer, you can use our open source awe.js library as an Augmented Web Engine to quickly and easily build cutting edge Augmented Web Experiences. You can create new plugins to add support for any new wearable display or input device you like. You can easily use plugins created by other developers, or make your own plugin available as a contribution to the community.
How will my investment be put to work?
The money you invest will be used in three different ways.
Up until recently, the public buildAR.com platform was focused on supporting downloadable AR browser apps. We’ll use some of the funds raised to extend buildAR to help you take full advantage of the Augmented Web. This will make it easier for you to create compelling Augmented Web Experiences without requiring any development skills. We’ll make it easy for your viewers to access the content you create and help you unleash your AWEsome creativity!
We’ve already released the first phase of our open source awe.js project on github as our contribution to the community. This makes AR available in standard Web browsers on a wide range of different devices including computers, smartphones and tablets plus wearable displays like the Oculus Rift, Google Glass and more.
Finally, we’ll use the remaining funds to support the growing Augmented Web community. We’ll run hands-on workshops in key cities around the world and give you access to specialised webinars to help get you started creating Augmented Web Experiences. This is your chance to be the first to get hands-on experience with the latest technologies. This is also your chance to provide your input to help shape this vision for the Web of the future.
Combined, these three stages will take 12 months to complete with the first tangible output starting in May 2014. At the end of this journey we’ll have created the next generation of buildAR.com as well as fostered and grown the Augmented Web community. A community that will build the next generation of the Web. We invite you to back our project and join us on this journey.
When will I get my rewards?
Here's an overview of our project timeline.
Who is buildAR?
Think of buildAR.com as “Wordpress for the Real World” and creating AR as "easy as adding a blog post". With our platform you can embed your digital content into the physical world around you by linking it to images, locations and more.
buildAR.com was launched in 2009 as the world's first Cloud based AR Authoring Platform, and we’ve been leading the way ever since.
In 2010 we presented an overview of how we believed AR could work on the Web at the 1st International AR Standards Workshop in Seoul, Korea. At the time, most people thought we were crazy and that the Web would never be able to offer an experience as good as downloadable AR applications. We continued working on this vision and now we’ve proven that Augmented Web Experiences really do work.
Since 2010 we've co-founded ARStandards.org, traveled to a lot of workshops, hackfests and conferences and actively participated in shaping these new Web standards. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to both Web and Web browser developers. We’ve been working hard to contribute to the AR and Web standards communities and this work has been recognised as we are now Invited Experts with the W3C, ISO and the Khronos Group.
We even wrote a book on one of the key Web standards that is enabling the Augmented Web called "Getting started with WebRTC" (the Web Standard that enables access to Video Cameras and Microphones) and this is now a 5 star hit on Amazon.
We’re really proud of the small team we’ve grown and in 2012 we made the decision to stop using a dedicated office. Today, our team work remotely from all over the world and we’ve never been more productive. We’re spread out across different timezones and work a lot of crazy hours, but we’re proud to say that none of our development is outsourced. We believe it’s important to stay focused and only bring very experienced people into our tight-knit team.
After all this hard work, we’re now ready to create the next generation of our buildAR platform to deliver on this vision. Our focus is on making it easy for you to create Augmented Web Experiences you can easily share with the biggest audience in the world - Web users! We want to enable you and your Web creations to support AR on Smart & Wearable devices through any standard Web browser.
We’d love your input and feedback to help us shape our platform and we want to help you unleash your AWEsome creativity!
Why do I need awe.js and buildAR?
This is a complex and technical discussion, but in the end the answer is simple.
Each of the areas that make up the Augmented Web are very complex specialist domains. WebRTC covers real-time networking and video or audio streaming. WebGL involves complex 3D mathematics and specialised development of software called shaders. WebAudio involves deep knowledge about sound file formats and audio engineering techniques. Wearable displays and input devices involve all kinds of specific hardware knowledge and complex system integration. AR is built upon sophisticated Location-based mathematics, Computer Vision and Sensor Fusion.
Each of these individual domains have targeted frameworks or tools designed for their specific needs. Yet, there hasn’t been a simple and easy to use solution that binds them together. Until recently, making them work together has been almost impossible.
With the current working examples built upon our open source awe.js library, we’ve shown that this really is possible, and that it works right now.
Next, our goal is to make sure that the new generation of buildAR is the best platform for creating these new Augmented Web Experiences. We aim to be the platform that helps you unleash your AWEsome creativity!
Will the Augmented Web really change my world?
It’s a big claim and we understand that at first it might sound like hype or spin. But think back over the last two decades about just how much the Web has reshaped almost every aspect of our lives. Then imagine what’s possible when we augment the Web with AR on Smart & Wearable devices.
Please back our project, and share this vision with all your friends on Twitter, Facebook and G+!
Special thanks goes out to all our team, advisors, friends and family, as well as some of the guys and girls from 25Fifteen who modeled for our Glass shots! Thanks to Phoenix for his great camera work. Plus a massive shout out to those of you in the industry who provided your thoughts that we included in our story and video. Also thanks to the great photographers that released their images on Flickr under Creative Commons licenses - seedling, eyeball, rubiks cube, baby hedgehogs and the forrest. Thank you all very much.
Plus Augmented Web Experiences work on all kinds of Smart & Wearable devices.* Just share a link to your buildAR project, then people can open it in a standard Web browser and it just works. In fact, it'll automatically adapt so you can easily deliver Web based AR to all kinds of Smart & Wearable devices.
We are setting Augmented Reality free!
Risks and challenges
Augmenting the Web with the latest Web Standards is a challenging process that involves working with evolving specifications, pushing Smart & Wearable devices to the edge of their available performance and solving problems that nobody else has tackled yet. We address these challenges by using an iterative development process and involving our supporter community to help us thoroughly test and refine our software.
This project also faces two key risks.
First, while WebRTC (the Web Standard that enables access to Video Cameras and Microphones) and WebGL (the Web Standard that delivers web based 3D) are broadly supported by Chrome, Firefox, Opera and more on both computers and Android devices, there is the risk that they will not be fully adopted by Apple on iOS devices within a reasonable timeframe. This risk is beyond our control, however we believe that by providing compelling working examples and a strong community voice calling for this support then Apple are much more likely to adopt these modern standards. We also believe that this creates a strategic challenge for Apple and that they will not want their iOS devices to lag behind the rest of the market for much longer.
Second, there is a risk that we won't know exactly how our open source Natural Feature Tracking algorithm will perform until this R&D is completed. However, we are confident that the range of Computer Vision options available on the Web Platform will increase significantly over the next few years leading to other possible solutions if required.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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