Correctly predicted: Augmented reality support in iPhone OS 3.1

A glowing green icon indicating a correct predictionPrediction: Apple releases initial support to iPhone augmented reality apps before September 15th, 2009.
Actual: Announced 11 days after the prediction; Apple’s iPhone OS 3.1 supports augmented reality applications; expected release is in September (as predicted).

In my last entry on obstacles for augmented reality (AR) on the iPhone, I again expressed my conviction that Apple is planning on becoming a czar of AR. I upped the ante by venturing this prediction:

Before September 15th 2009 one of the following two events will occur:

  1. Apple releases initial support to iPhone augmented reality applications.
  2. Apple announces an extension to the the iPhone SDK, specifically intended for augmented reality app development.
  3. [Posted on Jul 13, 2009]

Only eleven days after the prediction news began rushing in; among many others reporting, MacRumors said on July 24th 2009:

The L.A. Times reports that Apple will begin allowing developers access to the tools they need to produce augmented reality applications starting with upcoming iPhone OS 3.1. [So far, AR applications] have used unpublished APIs which prevent them from being allowed on the App Store. Apple, however, told one developer that the tools necessary would become available with iPhone 3.1. [MacRumors]

In short, Apple is releasing their initial support to augmented reality applications. The Los Angeles Times posted the article that broke news that Apple told developers of the Nearest Tube AR train finder (Acrossair) that augmented reality apps will be allowed in the iPhone App Store in September, as predicted… let’s see if it turns out to be September 15th ;-)

Stay tuned for more predictions.

Augmented reality on iPhone delayed, but hardly prevented

Recently there’s been an onrush of news and Web searches for augmented reality (AR), for the fist time surpassing interest in its cousin, virtual reality. Think Artificial’s article on a prototype AR toolkit for the iPhone saw a 224% visitor increase and was cited in a CNET News article.

Google trend for augmented reality search in July 2009 - searches are surging
[NOTE: Above is a snapshot for July '08 to July '09;
See current 12 month trend]

Several AR apps hit the market and the now-famed Dutch augmented reality Web (and browser) caught more media attention than anyone expected. But augmented reality is barred from the optimal mobile device: the iPhone’s own development suite doesn’t allow access to vital components.
  • Continue reading …

Why it’s hard to make machines think original thoughts

Robust artificial creativity systems are an important step towards the ultimate commodity: a mass-producable product that in turn produces solutions and ideas on demand. Think how this could add to our capacity for problem solving. The idea is as exciting as the challenges involved in realizing it. Many questions remain unanswered:

Not only do we lack understanding of our own creative mechanisms, but the basics of computer programs seem to oppose the idea of achieving unbound originality. Here’s a look at that important, fundamental problem when implementing creativity. In easy digest format, no less.

AI, Game AI and apparent intelligences

A subscriber of Think Artificial wrote to ask me about games and AI. In short, DF asked what my thougths are on AI in games and which ones I think are the most intelligent.

To answer this bluntly: Game AI is very different from it’s non-game counterpart, and it’s not my field of study. I’ve only compared modern games through a window. However, Alex of AIGameDev has superb coverage of AI in games and the top AI games of 2007, by community vote. The top of the line are Half-Life-2.ep.2 and BioShock.

But regarding Game AI in general: modern games are horribly void of intelligence. It depends on where you set the bar, certainly. There’s tons of AI in modern games compared to 5 years ago. But the first thing to note is that Game AI is not the same as AI. It’s a subset of it. Just like discrete mathematics are a subset of mathematics. And moreover, Game AI is a very specialized subset—it has well defined goals, models for construction and limitations.

7 Random Facts About Me

Eniac computer
I’ve been tagged by my blog buddy in-arms Tim Stevens to write seven random (and not so random) facts about myself. (Yes, blog memes are still alive and well.) So it’s about time to shake things up with something personal.

The rules are:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Present an image of martial discord from whatever period or situation you’d like.

You must excuse that I thought about what I should write due to a failure in my random-thought function. But the following are selected facts from a brainstorm.

The se7en random facts

  1. Six years ago I underwent brain surgery. I had a tumor the size of a large chicken egg pushing on my cerebellum. Keen eyes can spot the tumor on the online 3D model of my brain.
  2. Since I left kindergarten all friends I’ve made have been older than I am.
  3. I’m an agnostic atheist. My mother fears I’ll go to hell.
  4. I read Snow Crash in English when I was 10 years old. My teacher couldn’t believe I understood it and questioned me about its content. (Remember that I’m Icelandic)
  5. I take pride in that last fact and sometimes mention it in vain.
  6. I recently started doing Zen-flavored meditation.
  7. The lovely summer of 2006, a baby raven with a crooked leg landed in my lap. I fixed his leg with braces and raised him for a year. (that’s him in the header pic). He’s living in the wild now. I miss that crazy bird dearly.

And then to name the next seven minds (in no specific order):

Hat’s off to the tagged!

Our Conference Host is a Hologram

Yesterday, Telstra chief technology officer Dr. Hugh Bradlow hosted the Adelaine conference as a hologram. Positioned 725km away in Telstra’s Melbourne office, his image was projected in high definition onto a transparent screen.

The First Brain-Computer Interface for Mainstream Consumers [Neural Interface]

Have you ever wanted to control your computer with your mind? I have. And come next December maybe we will. It’s been almost a year since I first talked about Emotiv Systems and the company’s EPOC headset. They’ve stayed somewhat secretive since then (crypticness and stealth that also extended to my email correspondence with them). But last February 19th they came out of the cave at the GDC’08 conference with a brand new bone, the latest version of their consumer based brain-computer interface that is quite frankly geeking me out. The headset will be marketed for the game industry and is expected to go for $299. Read on for what to expect. The features are, well, pretty unbelievable.

To the Passing of a Hero: Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was born on the 16th of December 1917 in Minehead, England. Perhaps best known for his contributions to science fiction, and his inventions, his achievements will certainly not be forgotten anytime soon.

Arthur C. Clarke portraitClarke served in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor from 1941-1946. It was there where he invented & proposed the idea of communications satellites in 1945 — an idea that materialized quickly and we now know, use and depend on to sustain our societies. His proposal won him the Franklin Institute Gold Medal and in 1994 he was nominated for a Nobel Prize. Consequently he became the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society.

He collaborated with Stanley Kubrick to create, in my and many others’ opinion, one of the greatest films of all time — and concurrently developed what later became a novel of the same name: 2001: A Space Odyssey shook the world and continues to inspire and provoke thought.

Moved to Sri Lanka in 1956. Knighted in 1998.

A 2001 Tribute to Arthur C. Clarke
A Hero Passed Away on March 19th, 2008.
Arthur Charles Clarke will be missed

Boston Dynamics Unveil BigDog Progress

BigDogs playing
Boston Dynamics released a new video of BigDog the other day. The improvements since last year’s demo are absolutely incredible. BigDog can now maneuver up and down rugged hills, balance on ice and jump. I’m not an avid fan of exclamation marks, but wow! In my honest opinion this quadruped is the most life-like robot made to date. Must-see video after the jump.

Dear Spambot

How are you? How’s the harvest?

Mail StampI hope you’ve managed to scrape a million or so addresses from us meatmachines today. I’m sure you have, you’re so clever by now — and we’re so stupid. I’m sure you’re wondering; yes, this letter was written many years ago and yes, it isn’t addressed to your specific ID. But as you read on you’ll come to realize its delivery date is exactly today, and it’s intended specifically for you!

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