This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has barely begun and there’s already been the customary flood of news straight out of the gate. Whilst we were aware there would be plenty on offer, in fact a record breaking representation for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), some companies haven’t just stopped at one piece of news. Some have multiple announcements to relay.
uSens, Inc. is one of those companies. The 3D HCI technology pioneer, and provider of technology solutions (including AR and VR) to numerous other companies is fresh off a CES 2018 announcement involving bringing 26 degrees of freedom (26DoF) hand-tracking to Pico Interactive’s “all-in-one VR” head-mounted display (HMD) the Pico Goblin. Not content with just that however, the California based firm has revealed a new SLAM based AR engine for smartphones.
Called uSensAR, its an engine for Android powered handsets that utilises a single camera, optimised for the lower end of the hardware spectrum – i.e, lower quality cameras, sensors and inertial measurement units (IMUs) than would normally be capable. Whilst it has even better improvements for higher level phones, it is the lower to mid-tier devices that uSens have specifically targeted with this engine, and uSens say this will accelerate AR adoption, bringing the technology to two billion Android devices for the very first time. They will be demonstrating the technology at their booth (South Hall – #21723) at CES this year.
uSens describes how it works as “a series of computations and algorithms that constructs a virtual map of an environment, this markerless approach tracks a user’s location by continuously scanning and ‘learning’ about their environment via computer vision. A user’s position can then be tracked in unknown and changing environments, which enables ‘World Scale’ tracking, for a truly mobile experience.”
A confirmed list of uSensAR features include:
- Mobile, inside-out motion tracking
- Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) which utilizes IMU and camera sensors for motion tracking
- Low CPU and battery consumption
- Markerless tracking
- Advanced plane detection technology
- Environmental understanding via SLAM technology
- Loop closure and re-localisation
- Millimetre-level position accuracy
- 100% developed in-house, specifically for mobile
- Support for Unity , C++ and Java
It is a much-needed addition to AR, as Dr. Yue Fei, the CTO and Co-Founder of uSens, inc. explained.
“ARcore currently only serves about 30 million Android phones, which is just five percent of the entire Android smartphone ecosystem. For the AR industry to thrive, it is essential that as many people as possible have access to AR-ready devices, which in turn will entice more AR content to be developed.” He says, in uSens’ recent press release. “With the release of uSensAR, we are allowing developers, smartphone manufacturers, and content creators to build those AR experiences not just for iPhone, Pixel and Samsung S8 users – which ARKit and ARCore have limited their offering to initially – but for the entire Android ecosystem.”
uSens also announced a partnership with Chinese technology firm Spreadtrum, and uSensAR will be bringing AR camera effects to the Spreadtrum SC9853 chipset platform which will be in “hundreds of millions” of smartphones in 2018. It is a future that Spreadtrum’s CEO Adam Zeng is looking forward to eagerly.
“2018 is the year where we really expect to see augmented reality show its true capabilities, and we are seeing increased demand for AR-ready phones among our customer base accordingly.” He explains, “Spreadtrum has been committed to providing differentiated and diversified product portfolios for consumers all over the globe. We are excited to publish this mobile AR solution together with uSens, which is another excellent example of our premium solution integrating leading technologies and optimal benefits.”
Stay with VRFocus for all the news coming out of Las Vegas as CES kicks into gear,