Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘augmented reality’ Category

Apple AR Acquisition

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Happy Thursday.

Reuters is reporting that Apple has acquired a startup focused on making lenses for augmented reality glasses, a sign that Apple has ambitions to make a wearable device that would superimpose digital information on the real world.

The company, Akonia, could not be immediately reached for comment, according to Reuters. it reports the company was founded in 2012 by a group of holography scientists and had originally focused on holographic data storage before pivoting to creating displays for AR glasses.

Neither the purchase price nor the date of the acquisition was revealed, although one executive in the AR industry said the Akonia team had become “very quiet” over the past six months.

Reuter’s suggests that this acquisition is the first clear indication about Apple might handle one of the most daunting challenges in AR hardware: producing crystal clear optical displays thin and light enough to fit in the glasses similar to everyday frames with images bright enough for outdoor use and suited to mass manufacturing at a relatively low price.

Meanwhile, from The Verge we learn that Google’s Titan Security key set — which includes a USB key, a Bluetooth key, and various connectors — is now available to we mere mortals for only $50.

The Titan keys work as a second factor for a number of services, including Google Cloud customers, Facebook, Dropbox, and GitHub. But as The Verge points out, they’re built particularly for Google account logins, and, specifically, the Advanced Protection Program announced last October.

The Verge writes that “Because the keys verify themselves with a complex handshake rather than a static code, they’re far more resistant to phishing attacks than a conventional confirmtion code. The key was initially designed for internal Google use, and has been in active use within the company for more than eight months.”

Google has also indicated the production process makes the keys more resistant to supply chain attacks, because the firmware is sealed permanently Into a secure element hardware chip at production time in the chip production factory. Google says that the chip used is designed to resist physical attacks aimed at extracting firmware and secret key material.

Anything to keep the very bad people away from my data.

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

Apple Invests In Laser Chipmaker

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Great news for Sherman, Texas!

CNBC is reporting Apple is investing $390 million into Finisar, a company that makes chips used by Apple products for depth and proximity sensing.

The company will use the money to reopen a shuttered plant in Sherman, Texas, and create 500 jobs.

More details here:

Finisar will transform a shuttered, 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, into a high-tech facility developing VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) chips. These chips enable depth and proximity sensing, helping to power some of Apple’s new features, including Face ID, Animoji, and ARKit, which is the set of tools that allow developers to create augmented reality apps. There are three VCSELs in every iPhone X. VCSEL chips also are used in Apple’s AirPods, but those chips are not made by Finisar.
– via CNBC

And as to how Finisar’s products are used…

Finisar’s primary products are transceivers and transponders that enable high-speed voice, video and data communications for networking, storage, wireless and cable TV applications. The company, founded in 1988, is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and employs 14,000 people. In addition to Apple, its customers include Cisco, Huawei, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise
– via CNBC

Sounds to me like a ramp up for Apple’s aggressive augmented reality strategy!

Written by turbotodd

December 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

A Swedish Task

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Swedish purveyor of home goods and furnishings, Ikea, has bought TaskRabbit, the contract labor marketplace, according to a report by Recode.

No price was revealed, but TaskRabbit is a major player in the “gig” economy that connects freelance workers with jobs (handymen, movers, etc.)

Recode reports TaskRabbit already had a partnership with Ikea for furniture assembly in the United Kingdom, and that Ikea’s purchase will get them “even more deeply into the tech space.”

Just this week, Ikea released its own augmented reality app for the iPhone called “Ikea Place.” The app allows shoppers to scan a room and place Ikea furniture virtually to see how it looks (no word yet on whether there’s a virtual Ikea assistant to tell you how much that sofa just doesn’t go with that carpet).

Back in Washington, D.C., Twitter appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss “a number of questions about how malicious bots and misinformation networks on Twitter may have been used in the context of the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.”

Hey, no pressure or anything.

All this talk of Twitter and bots and Russian misinformation makes me pine for 2007, when all we technorati used Twitter for was to figure out where we were going for lunch during SXSW.

So what did Twitter’s self-inquiry find on the matter? According to their own statement, of the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook recently shared as a part of their review, Twitter concluded it had 22 corresponding accounts:

All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules, most for violating our prohibitions against spam. In addition, from those accounts we found an additional 179 related or linked accounts, and took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules. Neither the original accounts shared by Facebook, nor the additional related accounts we identified, were registered as advertisers on Twitter. However, we continue to investigate these issues, and will take action on anything that violates our Terms of Service.
– via blog.twitter.com

They go on to cite several Russia Today (RT) accounts that spent $274,000 in U.S. ads in 2016, and those three accounts promoted some 1,823 Tweets that “definitely or potentially targeted the U.S. markets.”

Interestingly, the Twitter blog post indicates those campaigns were “directed at followers of mainstream media and primarily promoted RT Tweets regarding news stories.”

So the endgame is that Russians were buying ads on Twitter to target other Twitter users who were members of the U.S. mainstream media.

I’m shocked, shocked, I say, that there was gambling going on in this here casino!

 

Written by turbotodd

September 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Apple’s Augmented Reality

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We’re well into March Madness and it sounds like there have been some major bracket busting upsets.

I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so I’ll keep my observations to myself.

The SXSW circus is over and the tent’s (and corporate takeovers) are quickly being demolished.

Thanks, Garth Brooks, for coming to Austin to close out the show. Here’s hoping you found some friends in low places.

Looking forward, Bloomberg has a piece out today on Apple’s next big thing, augmented reality:

As previously reported by Bloomberg, Apple is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner.
– via Bloomberg.com

Investors impatient for Apple’s next breakthrough will be happy to know that Cook is very serious about AR. People with knowledge of the company’s plans say Apple has embarked on an ambitious bid to bring the technology to the masses—an effort Cook and his team see as the best way for the company to dominate the next generation of gadgetry and keep people wedded to its ecosystem.
– via Bloomberg.com

Bloomberg observes the global market for AR will “surge 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024.”

Them’s a lot of Pokemon.

Written by turbotodd

March 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

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