New Snapchat Scan Feature Can Detect Clothes, Plants, Wine, and More

Snap released a new augmented reality feature on Thursday. Called Scan, it can detect objects in the physical world.

This latest version of Scan, which Snap previewed at its developer conference earlier this year, adds detection for dog breeds, plants, wine, cars, and food nutrition info. The majority of Scan’s features are powered by other companies; the app Vivino is behind the wine scanning feature, for example. Soon Allrecipes will power a Scan feature that suggests recipes to make based on a specific food ingredient. Snap plans to keep adding more abilities to Scan over time using a mix of outside partners and what it builds in-house.

WWDC21 Shows How Apple is Building the Metaverse

I’m not sure who the author is behind Codevoid but they nicely pieced together Apple’s continuing work with AR and the metaverse. I had similar thoughts when I watched WWDC21 and I like the way this article connects the dots.

The AR metaverse aren’t about immersive, focused interactions. Ephemerality will underpin the experiences. Those experiences need to provide you with contextual information when & where you need it — either ambiently as you move about the world, or as part of a more intentional ‘tell me more’ interaction.

Summon the Seven Princes of Hell With ‘The Book of Asmodeus’

“5300 years ago Asmodeus wrote a book that people can summon his demons. If you defeat the demons, all earthly lust and pleasure are yours. In 2021 we found that book.” The Book of Asmodeus is an “interactive horror book and game” that involves using the augmented reality capabilities on your iPhone. The Kickstarter page lists it as an upcoming project, but the team’s Medium post shares the details. In the game it sounds like you “summon” AR demons and defeat them, all while writing your own story. It sounds like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books. The book in question looks really cool. The team says it’s handmade with a 3D printed/polymer clay cover, with pages showing original artwork. There will be a PDF version for US$49 and a super early bird Kickstarter reward for the hardcover-US$79.

Microsoft Ends Support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it plans to end support for Minecraft Earth on June 30. Demoed at Apple’s WWDC event in 2019, the game was built for augmented reality as a way to make you feel as if you were actually in the game.

Today we are releasing the final build of the game, containing some changes to make your time in Minecraft Earth as fun as possible. We hope these adjustments will allow you to explore, craft, and build more – while staying safe indoors.

Prepare for ‘His Dark Materials’ Season 2 With AR App

To prepare for “His Dark Materials” season 2, HBO released an augmented reality app called His Dark Materials: My Daemon. Created in partnership with Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA-winning creative studio Framestore, His Dark Materials: My Daemon is a first-of-its-kind entertainment app that brings narrative elements from the show into daily life, as a user’s daemon is by their side at all times, encouraging them to participate in activities that contribute to overall mind, body and spirit health. Users are encouraged to take part in fitness activities like walking or running, as well as other kinds of self-care, such as taking some time to themselves, watching a movie, or reaching out to a friend. The app detects everyday activity through Apple Health and Spotify, syncing with favorite fitness, sleep, and meditation apps. Daily habits, hobbies and new challenges become fuel to progress further through the journey that’s at the heart of the app.

Snapchat Rolls out Lens Studio Update for iPhone 12 LiDAR Lenses

Snap, Inc. has updated its Lens Studio tool to let people make LiDAR lenses for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It will bring a better AR experience for Snapchat users.

Version 3.2 of Lens Studio includes an interactive preview mode to provide an idea of how the LiDAR lenses work, even before the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max start shipping. Creators can also preview their LiDAR lenses in the Snapchat app if they have the most recent iPad Pro.

AR Game ‘The Witcher: Monster Slayer’ Announced

An AR game called “The Witcher: Monster Slayer” is coming in the future. Evocative of Pokémon Go, this exploration game challenges you to become an elite monster hunter. See the world around you transformed into the dark fantasy realm of The Witcher, and explore once-familiar locations now infested with dangerous beasts as you start on the path as a professional monster slayer. A release date has not been announced but you can sign up to be notified via email.

Is Apple the Company That Can Transform the AR Industry?

Lucas Matney wrote for TechCrunch and asked if Apple can keep the AR industry alive.

AR startups have already been struggling and hardware efforts have largely cratered. The software platforms have had some success building what Apple hasn’t or won’t for niche enterprise customers, but as the economic realities shift, all bets are off.

First, I don’t think there’s much of an AR industry right now to keep alive. We have a scattering of AR features on iPhones and Androids, but right now it still seems niche. Second, in my biased opinion as an Apple blogger, I think Apple is the one to truly make AR mainstream. As an example, Apple didn’t invent the cellphone, but the iPhone transformed our lives and the cellphone industry. For the company to do the same with AR, we need an AR headset.

Could iPhone 12’s Fast 802.11ay Wi-Fi Be For AR Glasses?

The iPhone 12 is rumored to get support for 802.11ay, a high speed and low latency Wi-Fi standard. Jason Cross posits that it could be used for Apple’s AR glasses.

The alternative is to make the headset a relatively dumb set of displays and cameras, with all the processing happening on some sort of base station—like your new iPhone 12. An ultra-high speed, super low-latency connection like that provided by 802.11ay is a necessity to make that work.

A popular thought is that Apple Glasses will be an iPhone accessory like Apple Watch is (or, started out) with most or all of the processing happening on the iPhone.

‘Settlers of Catan’ Could be Niantic’s Next AR Game

Niantic has had two popular AR games on its hands in the form of Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. What possibly be next? Maybe Settlers of Catan.

Late last month, the company behind Catan said during a board games conference in Germany that it was working on a “upcoming massively multiplayer location based game” (albeit with no mention of Niantic). Called Catan: World Explorers, they noted that it “transforms the entire Earth into one giant game of CATAN”.

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