Happy New Year: Our IndieGoGo Goal And The Year Of Wearables

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I’ve always loved New Year’s, there’s so much hope and excitement with the promise of the year to come, but less than a week in 2014 has already established itself as my most exciting year so far: last week we reached our funding goal on IndieGoGo, a full month before the deadline! The response has been overwhelming and amazing, and I’d like to send another heartfelt THANK YOU to the hundreds of developers and early adopters on Indiegogo so far who are helping to turn Atheer’s vision into a reality. I can’t wait to see what you go out and build on our platform.

While my own enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of every Atheerian here in Mountain View cannot be bridled, 2014 promises to be a very important year for all wearable computing in general, and not one without dangerous pitfalls around every corner. Excitement for wearables is at its peak right now, and this year will prove pivotal in shaping the face of this bursting market.

Robert Scoble wrote a great post last week about the problems many have identified with certain design and functionality choices in Google Glass. On a lot of the issues he raised Mr. Scoble was spot on – Glass is made for a limited UI and use case, there won’t be enough apps in its ecosystem for a long time, if ever, it’s too difficult to acquire and the current UI is too limited. The battery life isn’t great, contextual filtering isn’t smooth, and no, you can’t even get onto Facebook.

Of course Google is working on all of this, as Mr. Scoble knows, and they’ll probably produce a great product in the long run – we’re preparing to ship that product later this year. Scoble noted ten problems with Glass, and we had worked hard in Atheer to tackle those exact same problems:

1.       Expectations – The expectations are too high for Google Glass given its limited size and functionality, but the first Atheer units to ship will provide all the capabilities of a 23” 3D HD tablet and more just a gesture away. Star Trek set the bar pretty high, but here’s a video that shows the vision for where we’re headed.

2.       Glass is too hard to acquire – anyone, developer or consumer, can order their Atheer wearable computers today, and they don’t require custom fitting so they’ll be ready to go they day they arrive at your door.

3.       Not enough apps – Atheer will be able to leverage the full power of over 1,000,000 Android apps on day One.

4.       UI Can’t Handle a Lot of Apps – Atheer’s interface features 2XGA resolution displays that have the immersive experience of 23” tablets held at half an arm’s length.

5.       Battery Life – battery technology hasn’t caught up with where Atheer’s is headed, so we’ve decided to keep the battery in your pocket for now until we can deliver the lightweight, long-lasting experience we want.

6.       Contextual Filtering – With Google Now and other apps, Atheer is on the leading edge of contexualization. Going to the airport? You’ll get a perfectly timed alert for you to catch your flight and see all the needed info while you’re in the cab. With the Atheer SDK, developers can take contextualization to another level.

7.       Photo work flow- Atheer devices are super-charged Android tablet that float in the air in front of you, and so the easy photo work flow in current tablets and smartphones gets inherited directly. Share to wherever you want with a click or a swipe, and add a description just like you do on your tablet.

8.       Facebook – WE NEED IT! So we have it. When Facebook made their mobile push their best developers were working on Android so the best Facebook experience will be on Atheer.

9.       App distribution system – Google Play, the best development and distribution experience out there is at the service of Atheer developers so there’s nothing to hold you back.

10.   The Gruber Problem - Some of the smartest people in the world didn’t believe you’d have a PC in every house, and others didn’t believe in tablets. With time, many people will adapt and take advantage of wearable and immersive computing.

We haven’t perfected wearable computing yet, far from it, but we’re getting close and the future is just around the corner. We’ve been working for years to get to build our platform and get to this point, and with the enthusiasm and participation of all our Indiegogo backers, we’ll show you just how close we are later this year.

Happy New Years from all the Atheerians here in Mountain View!!

-S

Wearables and privacy

We’re currently in the crux of the Information Age with reams of data being generated by everything from cars to thermostats. People are even staring to generate data at a dizzying pace: they share every place they visit on foursquare, every meal on Instagram, and every mood swing on Facebook. People want to share information. They want to share it with friends, family, and selected services (they tell Netflix what they like so that they get more of it, and they let Gmail read their emails so that they get free service). On the other hand, people are really careful about their personal information. They’re always worried about who’s snooping on them, who’s collecting their data, and who will have access to it.

This bipolar behavior reveals an important fact: It’s not the information we’re sharing; it’s whom we’re sharing it with and why they want to know that matters. Google collecting WiFi information and data was a very big deal, even for people who let Google read all of their email. The reason is that they know what the information of their emails will (and maybe more importantly will not) be used for, and who will have access to it (only analysis computers in the case of Gmail).

The iPhone 5S takes this issue to another level with the M7 coprocessor, which has the ability to track all of your movements even when the phone is in sleep mode. Its API is open to all apps that you download on your phone. This setup is getting some people worried about the who and the why again, and it makes sense. People trust Apple, but they don’t trust all the companies that make apps, and having those apps possibly accessing all of our motion information all the time makes us just a bit uncomfortable.

An important point here is that the iPhone 5S with the M7 is part of a great trend, a trend where information and services come to us when we need them. A trend where the functionality we need from any application is personalized just for us. This trend actually includes Siri, Google Now, and many features of the MotoX. All of these services are about avoiding desktop or Internet search and getting the information directly. It’s a beautiful world where you don’t need to worry about downloading an app or finding a website. When you need them, they will be there. Wearables are the kings of that world, since they are always with you, they’re made to understand you and to mold into your life.

Of course, this world is only possible if the system learns about you and understands your habits, preferences, and needs. This is very close and intimate knowledge, collected from your location, motion sensors, cameras, social networks, and the other information that you shared on the Internet. It’s very private and precious, and people do have the right to be extremely careful about sharing this information, and they will be. It’s all about the who and the why, though. If people know that their information will never be used against them, then they will happily share it to get a lot of convenience.

To make people more secure, we need to make sure they know who is using their information and for what, and to give them control over what to share with whom. When you download an app, Android tells you what access and sensors this app is requesting. Wearables should develop these options even more. They need to give users full access to similar information about applications and full control of who has access to what. An “airplane mode” for certain sensors would also help: A one button solution that will stop all sensors, giving you total privacy. There are many ways to let people have both security and personalization, and having the conversations about these issues as early as possible will help get these functionalities optimized and integrated into wearable devices.

Soulaiman Itani, Founder/CEO of Atheer Labs

@AtheerLabs

@soulaimanitani

Mobile Hand Detection – Sneak Peek

Gestural computing has been a big part of sci-fi movies for a long time, from Minority Report to Ironman, and people have been dreaming of grabbing and interacting with digital objects and content displayed around them ever since. Doing away with physical input devices such as keyboards and mice, and instead interacting with digital devices in a natural manner has been a key driver for many real-life technologies, a very recent and popular example of this being voice recognition.

At Atheer Labs, we’re taking this natural computing problem head-on, and not only developing immersive 3D see-through displays, but also a completely natural way to interact with it, using only your hands as input devices. Our platform has been described as 3D glasses with a Kinect mounted on top, which is actually a great way to explain what we’re doing. However we want to unplug the the Kinect and take it out of the living room and with us in the real world, down the street, and wherever life takes us.

Making that possible, however, presents a couple challenges, the first being how to fit a hand gesture recognition system in a small head-mounted mobile device. If we weren’t limited by the form factor that would be a different story, as there are many solutions already doing gesture recognition today, but they are all taking advantage of the power of the PC. And by power, we’re not only talking about the processing power of the desktop-grade processors, but also about the power (in Watts) used to run the sensors which collect the depth data. By staying on the cutting edge of 3D sensor technology, we’ve been able to integrate a very small sensor into our smart glasses which also uses very little power, allowing it to run on batteries alone.

The second challenge, of course, is delivering the quality and performance needed for seamless interaction in real time, i.e. with minimal latency, and consistently, frame after frame. The algorithms we designed to do this are based on highly efficient and proprietary hand gesture models that were created from the ground up with these constraints in mind. They were designed and optimized to run fast on ARM-based mobile processors so that we can deliver the best mobile gesture recognition possible to our developers and our users, no matter how far away from a power supply they may be. For a sneak peek at what that looks like, check out the video below:

Combining mobile hand gesture recognition with see-through 3D displays in a small and lightweight form factor, we’re enabling people to reach out and touch the digital objects and content that they see in a very natural way. We believe that this fundamental shift in how people interact with the digital world will change things forever, and not only for AR apps, but for information consumption as a whole. We’re about to revolutionize mobile user experience as we know it, are you ready?

Allen Y. Yang, PhD, Chief Technical Officer

@Atheerlabs

 

Let’s vote! SXSW 2014 Panel – Wearables: The New Marketers’ challenge

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SXSW2014-panelpicker

Augmented reality is not science fiction anymore. We’ve teamed up with Velti, Forrester Research and MetaWatch to debate how wearables will change the way we interact with technology.

Wearables: The New Marketers’ Challenge

In 2007, the iPhone mapped the frontier for smart devices; since then we’ve seen extraordinary devices pushing limits on how we interact with technology. From the release of tablets to smart cameras and more, the world has quickly adopted these advances. The release of Google Glass brings the next smart revolution: wearable devices. Wearable tech is a $3-$5 bil market, but in the next 2 years it may reach $30-$50 bil. All the leading players are racing to the finish line, but will wearables live up to expectations? In 2011, 30 mil devices were sold in the US, up 37% from 2011, and sales are expected to reach 160 mil a year by 2017. With this new audience, comes opportunities for marketers to engage and reach connected consumers. The question is, how will they be able to scale and what tactics should they keep in mind to make sure the experience is personal, nonintrusive and locally relevant? Join us as we debate how wearables will change lives or if this fad will quickly fade.

SPEAKERS:

Krishna Subramanian, CMO of Velti

Soulaiman Itani, CEO & Founder of Atheer Labs

Sarah Epps, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research  

David Rosales, Co-founder & CTO of MetaWatch

CAST YOUR VOTE: Click here, create an account, and choose our session, Wearables: The New Marketers’ Challenge, to make the agenda for SXSW Interactive 2014! Deadline is September 6, 2014.

Setareh Shayesteh Mehr, Brand/Product Architect

@Atheerlabs

Atheer Labs 1st Developer Community Event

We are excited to announce our First Developer Community Event on Thursday August 8th at Prospect in San Francisco from 5:30 – 8:30 PM.

A large part of the event is mixing with like-minded entrepreneurs and developers. Members from the engineering team will be available to chat, answer any questions, and learn about how we can best support your vision.

We will talk about Atheer Labs’ platform, and how it can help you make your vision come to life. We will also give updates regarding our SDK and developer portal, and answer any questions you may have. To sign up and attend please visit our Eventbrite page to RSVP.

We’d love to see current and new developers attend and learn more about Atheer Labs’ 3D augmented reality platform. To learn more and sign up click here.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Soulaiman Itani, Founder/CEO of Atheer Labs

@AtheerLabs

@soulaimanitani

Prospect is located at 300 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105 and can be reached at (415) 247-7770. To RSVP and attend the developer event on August 8th click here.

SDK and developer goodies

 First off, I want to say a huge “Thank you” to all the developers that have already signed up to be part of our developer program in the short time since we launched it. The excitement about the platform that we’re building, and the eagerness to be part of the future of wearable technology is incredible!
 
Of course, to start working on their applications, developers need a complete SDK, with all the supporting documentation and code examples, not to mention design guidelines for the new 3D AR devices that these applications are going to run on. Our software team has been hard at work putting this all together, and providing you with all the information and support that you will need to develop successful applications. As our platform is built on the latest Android release, it will feel like home to many of you, albeit a different and new one full of possibilities, and allow the use of many of the same tools currently being used to develop mobile Android applications. We are expecting to have the documentation and code examples available in early September to give you time to familiarize yourselves with how our platform is structured, and the SDK will be ready shortly after that, before the end of September (2013 of course!).
 
But what is an application without something to run it on? We will be addressing this in the short-term by providing Emulators that will allow developers to visualize and interact with their application in real-time. This will allow developers to test their applications rapidly, as well as on the go using existing mobile devices, such as the Nexus 7 tablet. Of course we want developers to truly see how it feels and experience their application in immersive 3D, and we will have some units available before the end of the year to select developers and partners to use. We know everyone wants one, and we’re working hard to make that possible and affordable, but more to come on that later.
 
Theo Goguely, Senior Product Manager

 

 

The future has arrived, come be a part of it.

Wow, we are so excited to finally let everyone in on what we’ve been working on here at Atheer Labs! As we showed the audience at the recent All Things Digital conference, we’re pioneering a Mobile 3D platform with a Human Interface to give people new ways to interact with their digital world. I know what you’re thinking, what exactly is a Mobile 3D platform with a Human Interface? That’s a common question, and what we’re doing is combining a fully 3D way to see the digital world in which we all live in, wherever you go, and allowing you to interact with it in the most comfortable way for you, be it reaching out and touching what you see, or using voice commands. A lot of these technologies aren’t new, like 3D TV and movies, powerful mobile devices, and gesture control, in fact most of them are now part of your everyday life, and each has been hyped as being the “next best thing”. By bringing them together, we’re creating something even bigger: the future of wearable technology.

Today, good products and platforms become GREAT products and platforms thanks to the creative developer community that pushes the boundaries of what is possible. By giving them an Augmented Reality platform on which they will be able to build interactive and immersive apps, we believe that the way people see and use mobile devices is going to be revolutionized.

In the coming months, Atheer Labs will be hosting developer events and hackathons to give some of the most innovative minds a chance to get behind our device and start coding! To make sure you’re in the know about all the pertinent developer information, sign up at www.atheerlabs.com/devs. And be sure to follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook to be part of the discussion that will be shaping the future of mobile.

The future has arrived…. come be a part of it.

Soulaiman Itani, Founder & CEO

@Atheerlabs @soulaimanitani