TWNKLS will unveil vision for Industry 4.0 at Virtual Revolution

Categories:News

On March 7th, 8th and 9th Veldhoven will be the backdrop for the annual Virtual Revolution event.

This event is about connecting innovative AR and VR technologies with the industry, healthcare, architecture, and education sectors. As one of the largest enterprise AR/VR meetups in Holland this event is a must for those industry professionals wanting to stay on top of the latest developments.

 

This year TWNKLS will be hosting its largest presence to date!

We will give a series of lectures in which we unveil our exciting new vision of Augmented Reality for Industry 4.0. On top of that we will host a large stand where we will demonstrate our latest solutions to you.

 

Visit the Virtual Revolution site to get more information and claim your free ticket.

Be sure to come by and find out how Augmented Reality can work for you.

See you in March!

TWNKLS at Emerce Dare 2016

Categories:News

 

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On the last day of November Emerce held the first edition of Dare.

Dare is a conference for creative professionals in Holland, catering to designers and developers from a variety of fields.

Speakers included Frog Design, Fabrique, Momkai and our own Marnix Kickert. He gave a talk on designing for augmented reality, with special attention to designing for wearables such as Hololens. Augmented reality is one of the most exciting challenges facing designers today, and interest was high. We definitely got an interesting discussion going!

We’d like to thank the people at Emerce for making this possible and we hope to see you next year at Emerce Dare 2017!

The new worker: bridging knowledge and action with augmented reality.

Categories:General

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At TWNKLS we believe that knowledge is the most valuable good we produce. This is especially true in the complex automotive field. Factory workers use their knowledge to build your car, salesmen make information sparkle in order to sell you that car, you’ve had to learn a whole lot of it to even be legally allowed to drive your car and perhaps someday you will teach that skill to someone else.

Knowledge is the fuel for action. It is something that we share, that we acquire, and that we apply. These things are all interconnected. By doing something often you get more skillful, by sharing knowledge you come to new insights, and through both these processes you turn external knowledge into internal, tacit knowledge. Through simple repetition you can turn a complex task like shifting gears into something you do purely from instinct.

 

Turning knowledge into skill

Knowledge is a valuable good to the automotive industry. And in order to get knowledge we learn. You spend a lot of money training your workers, empowering your salesmen, letting your customers know how to navigate, operate and enjoy your cars. And you spend even more money having to fix the mistakes made by those that didn’t have the right knowledge.

There is, however, a big gap between learning and doing. We learn from a book, a teacher, or a course, and then later we apply that to what we want to do. We alternate our attention between taking in knowledge and using it. In between a lot is lost in interpretation, in bad memory.

This gap wastes time, creates mistakes, and burns efficiency. Luckily that is now a thing of the past.

 

Augmented reality is the most direct link between knowledge and action.

Augmented reality is one of the most exciting things to happen to knowledge. It is the process of putting digital information into a real context. Augmented Reality (AR) has you look at the world through a device, like a smartphone, tablet, or smart glasses. The device recognizes what you’re looking at and then places a digital addition to your reality that we call an augmentation. This can be an instruction, a video, a 3D animation – anything that adds value. You see information about your task directly onto what you’re doing, while you’re doing it.

No need to learn first and do later. Now you can do both. It’s always in the right perspective, it’s always clear, and it’s always accurate. Augmented reality bridges the gap between information and context.

 

The new worker

This is what makes augmented reality key to the fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0. By bringing information into context augmented reality enables a new kind of worker that can learn while doing. It can show you which faultcode relates to which sensor, right in your engine bay. It can show you which exit you need to take directly onto the road. You can now see the torque you need to apply directly onto the bolt you’re tightening.

Augmented reality offers you instant expertise. It empowers you to do a new task first time right.

Augmented reality recognizes your world and filters information according to it. It forms a smart system that knows what you want to do and will help you do it. It reduces information load and lets you focus. And by using a smart wearable, such as Microsoft’s Hololens, you can get the information you need while still having your hands free to make it happen.

 

The real world

These qualities have allowed augmented reality and its close relative virtual reality to grow rapidly over the years. The industry is finding out that augmented reality is a way of making a worker learn faster, with fewer mistakes, and higher efficiency.

Augmented reality is deployed in a number of fields:

  • Training and assistance
  • Maintenance and inspection
  • Measuring
  • Sales and conversion

AR is a huge step in the field of technical documentation, for example. AR’s ability to show critical information has drawn the interest of several large companies who have complex tasks that need to be performed first-time-right. This proven effect is backed up by decades of research by respected parties such as Columbia University, VW, or NASA.

TWNKLS has performed a test for Koni with smart glasses to assist order pickers in their handling and routing through a warehouse. DHL launched a similar test with Google Glass, which resulted in the pickers working significantly faster, and also reducing mistakes by 40%.

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Accuracy is key in this. For a stair lift manufacturer TWNKLS used AR technology to develop a system that measures stairwells based purely on visual input. You can now measure a stairwell, notorious for being error-prone and time consuming to measure, in minutes using only a simple iPad. This generates an automatic 3D reconstruction of the stairwell which is used to make the stair lift itself. This method isn’t just a lot faster than measuring by hand – it’s a lot more accurate a well. All measurements are accurate to 0.2%.

The results also speak for themselves in assembly situations. In a test with Boeing unskilled laborers were given a complex assembly task, assisted by either smart glasses or a paper manual. The group with smart glasses performed their task 30% faster and with 96% fewer errors than the other group. TWNKLS is now closely working together with DAF Trucks to apply these gains to DAF’s assembly process.

For machine manufacturer Wemo we created a groundbreaking Hololens application that lets a machine operator control his machine and schedule completely handsfree, wherever he wants. By offering full control at your fingertips this mobile solution saves time and costly mistakes.

Lastly the rich visualizations that augmented reality offers can be key in helping a customer choose a product. IKEA uses augmented reality to let a customer place a virtual piece of furniture in their own home for example, bringing the product close to the consumer. But you can use AR to configure your car, bringing a realistic yet playful element to picking out your perfect ride.

 

At TWNKLS we are one of the pioneers in this field. We know that augmented reality is about the interaction between humans and knowledge. Over five years of experience working for AAA customers has given us a broad portfolio of real-life solutions that work. For us AR is not science fiction, it is a proven way to create value. This leadership has equipped us with the knowledge to constantly push the boundaries of new technologies. Such as the proprietary technology that we develop to recognize the world more accurately and more faithfully than any other system on the market. Or how we combine experience and research in interacting with AR to make sure that our users can do what they want in the most natural way possible. At TWNKLS we create better interactions through innovative technology

We know that augmented reality is a proven way to bridge information and context. But it is also a disruptive field that is rapidly evolving. A lot of potential value is yet to be unlocked.

We are in the middle of a new wave of powerful wearable devices and finding new ways to interact with them. The field of augmented reality faces the challenge of matching these new possibilities with the real world. Augmented reality is part of an information revolution. Technology leaders and industry can now work together to empower a new kind of worker. We are no longer bound by fixed media, by books or screens that distract us.

We can take in knowledge while we apply it, letting us perform quickly and without fault. By bridging the gap between knowledge and action to transform the way we work, sell, and learn augmented reality is the driving force behind Industry 4.0.

Now is the time to empower your workers and join the fourth Industrial Revolution!

Augmented Reality in the Automotive Industry 2016

TWNKLS will be present at the two-day Augmented Reality in the Industry 2016 conference in Berlin (November 28 & 29). This conference focuses on the challenges of AR for the driving experience, workshop repair and general use in the automotive industry. This is the second annual conference organized by CTI and brings together experts and decision makers from automotive companies and technology providers.

Gerben Harmsen, CEO of TWNKLS, will give a presentation on the first day of the conference and you can meet TWNKLS at the booth where we present multiple demos. The complete two-day event program can be viewed here.

Dutch police use augmented reality to investigate crime scenes

Categories:General

You’re the first police officer to arrive at the scene: a suspected ecstasy lab. There’s drug paraphernalia everywhere, but which piece of evidence could be most helpful for your investigation? Then, a massive virtual arrow appears, pointing out a bottle of chemicals, accompanied by a note saying: “Bag this please”.

Dutch police are trialling an augmented reality (AR) system that streams video from body cameras worn by officers to experts elsewhere. These experts can then guide the officers by annotating the scene virtually with notes that the officers can see on a smartphone or head-mounted device like Google Glass.
“We now have good enough software and hardware to use augmented reality at crime scenes,” says Dragoş Datcu, principal researcher at AR company Twnkls in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Datcu and his colleagues at the Delft University of Technology have been developing the AR system for five years and have now tested it in collaboration with the Dutch Police, the Netherlands Forensic Institute and the Dutch Fire Brigade. “In six months, the police will be able to buy the complete package,” he says.

Location, location, location
When an officer arrives at a crime scene, it is often important that they explore it immediately – there could be a suspect hiding, or a dangerous chemical giving off toxic fumes. But the first person there is not necessarily the most qualified to investigate. The new system aims to allow the most relevant experts to get actively involved in the search, even if they’re hundreds of kilometres away.

Using the prototype, a police officer can view an AR version of the scene in front of them on a smartphone or head-mounted device. As they explore the area, footage from a camera on their vest is sent to people at different locations, such as forensic scientists or chemical specialists. These remote colleagues can add information and notes to the officer’s AR view, ranging from a request to explore a particular area to a big arrow saying “body here”.

It’s a similar principle to the Pokémon Go smartphone game, which allows players to catch virtual creatures that appear transposed over the real world when viewed through a smartphone.
“We’ve tried the system and it really adds a lot of value to many different areas of policing,” says innovation adviser Nick Koeman from the National Police of the Netherlands.

Cut out contamination
The technology isn’t suitable for use when making an arrest, Koeman says, because officers trialling the system sometimes found the additional information distracting. But it is ready for more routine aspects of policing like crime scene investigations. “The technology makes it possible to get the right information to the right people at the right time, in a way that’s easy to see,” he says.
While it would be preferable to have a team of the most suitable investigators search every site in person, this isn’t always possible because of time and cost constraints.
The system could also keep numbers at a crime scene to a minimum without sacrificing thoroughness. The more people you have at a crime scene, the more likely you are to find important evidence – but you also raise the risk of accidentally contaminating evidence. With AR, many people can help uncover clues without physically touching anything.
The recordings from the system could also potentially be used in court. “The advantage of augmented reality is the potential ability to recreate a crime scene for a jury,” says Michael Buerger, professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. However, Buerger says there are likely to be legal challenges the first time AR is used as evidence.

Written by Timothy Revell
Article published on 21 November 2016 in the New Scientist:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2113450-dutch-police-use-augmented-reality-to-investigate-crime-scenes

The largest event dedicated to AR come to Europe

Categories:News

Augmented World Expo (AWE), the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to augmented reality (AR) is coming to Europe October 18-19, 2016 to the bcc Berlin Congress Center in Germany.

Join over 1,500 professionals including a mix of CEOs, CTOs, designers, developers, creative agencies, futurists, analysts, investors, and top press in a fantastic opportunity to learn, inspire, partner, and experience first hand the most exciting industry of our times.

Gerben Harmsen, CEO TWNKLS, will give a presentation and will showcase Award winning projects.

EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Grab tickets now for €350 off of the regular ticket price. Early Bird tickets available until August 31!

ECCV’16 European Conference on Computer Vision Amsterdam

Categories:News

The 14th European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) is a premier international conference on research in computer vision. The event consists of workshops, tutorials, demonstrations and exhibits, and provides a forum for expert discussion on recent innovations and applications in these technologies.

•During the days of the main conference (October 11-14), a number of research papers will be presented.
•The workshops (October 8-10, and 16) will provide attendees with the opportunity to explore current research on topics such as Augmented Reality, data, visualization, autonomous driving and others.
•The regular and invited tutorials (held on Saturdays October 8 and 15) will feature topics such as deep learning, computational tools, analysis and more.

In addition, the event will host an exposition of over 100 exhibitors and sponsors that is free for attendees.

Demo Chair
All researchers in computer vision and related disciplines are invited to submit applications to present demonstrations at ECCV 2016. Applications are not limited to ECCV 2016 papers or ECCV 2016 workshop papers. Any demonstrations showcasing the effectiveness of computer vision methods are welcome. Demonstrations will be held in parallel with the poster sessions during the Main Conference (October 11-14, 2016).

The best demonstration will be awarded the Best Demo Prize. A committee of established computer vision researchers and the demo chairs will make the selection of the best demo. Demo Chairs hosted by Dr. John Schavemaker – TWNKLS | augmented reality, The Netherlands and Dr Andy Bagdanov – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Standalone or Wide field-of-view HMD? (HoloLens vs. Meta2)

Categories:General, Technology

July 1, 2016 - Dr.ir. Dragos Datcu, Principal Researcher Augmented Reality

Up to date, two of the most promising Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) for Augmented Reality (AR), are Microsoft HoloLens and Meta2. The two (still experimental) optical see-through HMDs have similar appearance and (presumably also similar weights – no full specs available). Several technical characteristics of the two are comparable, yet there are few major differences one has to consider to determine which HMD is more appropriate for a given scenario.

On short, HoloLens has a small field-of-view (FOV) but it already incorporates a 32-bit computer in the HMD (2GB RAM + 1GB RAM for the Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit). Meta2’s has better optics featuring an impressively large screen FOV, but has no processing unit.
HoloLens platform is powerful enough to support the whole human computer interaction, including the data processing and the (3D) visualization. HoloLens features good user tracking in the physical environment and accurate interaction with the augmented content, allowing to pin windows of running apps directly on surfaces from the physical environment (like walls). HoloLens benefits from Universal Windows Platform (UWP) protocol-based apps via Windows Store. Consequently, apps like Outlook Mail and Calendar gets adapted and are just made available to run on the wall-sized holographic display.
Even though HoloLens’ hardware was tailored to run smoothly in most of the cases, the fixed built-in computing platform represents a big limitation for more complex scenarios.

On the other hand, Meta2 HMD does not include any computer – it is just an external (very good) AR visualization device. On one hand this aspect represents a big drawback, because another (mobile/heavy and powerful/expensive) computer has to do all the work, and because the HMD cable connecting Meta2 to the computer limits the mobility and the interaction in AR. The effects are even more significant, especially when the user wearing Meta2 HMD walks freely outside, pursuing AR-based productive or entertainment activities. On the other hand, the fact that Meta2 HMD accepts any computer to boost AR sessions, means any future, lighter, more-powerful mobile computer can enhance the capabilities of an existing Meta2 HMD and so can extend its use duration. For Meta2, the pixels density – the number of pixels per degree is presumably half (estimated, no complete specs) than for HoloLens.
In May Microsoft Research proposed a lower tech solution to augment HoloLens’ low field of view and to greatly improve the situational awareness and user experience. This was presented at a top-level conference on Human-Computer Interaction (ACM CHI 2016). The solution is based on sparse peripheral displays (inexpensive array of lightweight, low-resolution LEDs) surrounding the central high-resolution display, and is shown to expand the field-of view up to 190-degree horizontal.




Choosing between the two AR HMDs depends on the budget and on the scenario the device will target. Meta2 can be an option if one already has a powerful computer around. More, the Meta2 HMD leads to higher flexibility, allowing for future upgrades on the computer so that it runs more complex, more demanding apps and new interaction capabilities.

Both platforms are excellent for researchers and for hobbyists. Apart from them, companies have to propose AR HMD-based solutions easy to monetize, to identify realistic production or entertaining scenarios that are appropriate for the capabilities of the current and yet-to come consumer AR HMDs. Microsoft HoloLens is more like a mobile, ready-to-go, full-solution AR HMD, while Meta2 is an excellent external visualization HMD providing higher immersion in AR. This is just another (essential) intermediary step towards future AR technologies which will enhance our everyday live. Meta already announced that they aim for standalone, non-tethered AR HMDs for the future. The competition steadily increases, with players coming and going and most importantly, with the consumer to take advantage on truly amazing advancements of the AR technology.

HoloLens

pros:

  • self-contained, standalone computer (Intel 32 bit CPU and custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit, passive cooling) running on Windows 10
  • UWP (Universal Windows Platform), cross platform capabilities, great support for apps from Windows Store, etc.
  • great AR tracking, good user experience that allows to pin apps directly on physical walls
  • no cables
  • game streaming feature of Xbox One (useful especially for playing AAA games)
  • universal recharging cable (the HMD is functional while recharging)

cons:

  • fixed hardware
  • small field-of-view

specs:

  • human interaction support: spatial sound, gaze tracking, gesture input, voice support
  • memory: 64GB Flash, 64GB Flash
  • sensors: 1 IMU, 4 environment understanding cameras, 1 depth camera, 1 2MP photo/HD video camera, mixed reality capture, 4 microphones, 1 ambient light sensor
  • connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Micro USB 2.0
  • battery life: 2-3 hours (active use), up to 2 weeks (standby)
  • weigh: 579 grams
  • Price: $3,000 (June 30, 2016)

 

Meta2:

pros:

  • Large field-of-view
  • Interaction: Clicker enables selection, scrolling, holding, and double-clicking during extended, interactive scenarios.

cons:

  • Cable-driven (9-foot HDMI 1.4b) for video, data and power
  • Tethered device, requires additional powerful computer (Windows 8 or 10)

specs:

  • field of view: 90-degree (diagonal)
  • display resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels (1280×1440 pixels per eye)
  • sensors: Sensor array (for hand interactions and positional tracking), 6-axis inertial measurement unit
  • camera: 720p front-facing camera
  • weight: 420 grams (without head straps)
  • Price: $949 (June 30, 2016)

Discussion and Comparison

  • Both are optical see though Head Mounted Displays (HMDs)
  • They have similar form factor design and appearance, and presumably similar weight
  • Both HMDs have capabilities for remote collaboration in AR
  • Both are experimental devices (for development only)
  • Meta 2 design is newer than HoloLens
  • field of view: Meta2 (90-degree – excellent, almost the same as Samsung Gear VR 96-degree) – that is better than for HoloLens (not specified exactly). Meta2 provides higher immersion in AR, and more natural interaction support
  • HoloLens is a self-contained computer while Meta2 is just a visualization-only HMD; the price is naturally higher for HoloLens
  • HoloLens is already shipping, Meta2 takes pre-orders and starts shipping in Q3 2016

2016 Dutch Interactive Awards nominations

Categories:News

We have been nominated for the 2016 DIA, in the best tools category for our communication and education tool for the Golden Room in the Mauritshuis, which we developed with the Mauritshuis and Shell. Using this app, visitors of the museum can restore the works of the artist Pellegrini, discover a strange white bloom and colour in the works in augmented reality. The award show will be held on the 26th of May and we will then find out if we have been able to capitalise on the nomination.

Four out of seven, DIA PRO

Out of the seven Dutch Interactive Awards that have been held, our CTO Lex van der Sluijs and his team have already received four nominations in four years for their projects, for which he mainly developed computer vision algorithms and software architecture. We are proud that Lex is nominated for a Dutch Interactive Professional Awards for Best in Technology

Pioneering with META

Categories:News

TWNKLS is one of the first companies developing applications for META’s Augmented Reality Glasses. Recently we were featured as one of the META Pioneers with our Augmented Sculpting App: Clay. With clay users can sculpt with their hands to make beautiful augmented reality artworks. Read the complete article over here.

META is counting down to a big announcement of their next generation technology. Robert Scoble got an early demo by META and is really excited about it as well, calling it “the most important demo since Apple Macintosh”.