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2016-10-13

Crunchfish: Redefining AR/VR Interaction

by Joachim Samuelsson
Entrepreneur and Chairman of the Board of Crunchfish

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are, without doubt,
the two megatrends in tech that will have the largest impact on our
lives in the near future. Crunchfish may be the best kept secret in
the industry as it is still relatively unknown that we have ready
technology components that address several key issues in the rapidly
emerging AR/VR industries. This note is an attempt to explain how
Crunchfish's software technology components may redefine AR/VR
interaction.

[image]

VR and its 360 media provides the modern format of photography and
film and will come into play in all areas where photos and video are
used today as well as in new areas made possible by this new format.
It will affect us all at a very fundamental level. Questioning the
use of VR is similar to questioning the use of photography or video.
Tomorrow's children won't understand how we put up with the limited
view of the surroundings decided by the film-maker or photographer.
In contrast, VR gives the viewer freedom of a display in 360 degrees.
You are invited to experience any environment as if you were present,
there and then.

[image]

Media Development
VR will show a breakthrough in all areas and 360 media will become the
modern format of photography and video. By photographing or filming
with a 360 camera, the entire room is captured, even backwards. Many
have already seen pictures of the "360" symbol in their Facebook
feeds. When it comes to video in the 360 format, virtual reality is
best enjoyed with a VR headset, as one can seamlessly look around in
the virtual real world via that the headset detects head movement.

AR, on the other hand, provides people with superpowers in their daily
lives, allowing them to discover information about everyone and
everything around them. You may even be able to communicate with your
surroundings as you could be connected automatically. The dynamic
experience with your mobile phone will be a far cry from the static
internet experience on your computer at work or home. This highly
contextual experience is the next mobile frontier to be conquered,
enabling people to understand, and even connect with, the vicinity
around them, here and now.

[image]

Connected AR

During the past three years, Crunchfish has pioneered an additional
technology, which has been implemented in the software product
aBubbl®. The technology is a patent pending AR platform as it
augments the reality of the mobile user in several ways. It may
easily be activated in any application or mobile operating system to
allow its mobile users to detect and communicate with other mobile
devices in the vicinity.

AR/VR will have its breakthrough sooner rather than later. During the
last two years, over 4 billion USD has been invested in Silicon
Valley startups[1], with more startups and investors arriving daily.
San Francisco has periodically been fueled by industry gold rushes
and the latest tech bonanza is certainly AR/VR. A few recent
significant launches will accelerate the growth of these industries.

· Google released their VR headset, Daydream View, two weeks ago and
their latest Android release Nougat is very VR-friendly. It is now
possible to experience our favorite apps in VR in an Android device
that fulfill the Daydream specifications. This is the trigger for
mobile manufacturers and application developers to get serious with
VR now.

· Facebook was early in acquiring VR helmet company, Oculus Rift.
They have announced hand control hardware that is expected to cost
more than 200 dollars[2]. In parallel, they are actively encouraging
Facebook users to capture and publish content in the new 360 format.

· Niantec's Pokémon Go showcased what appetite the general public
could have for AR. This has also excited the industry and there may
be as many as 100 other AR games released before the end of this
year1.

Today's mobile apps are developed for interaction by touch. As
touchscreens are typically not accessible for AR/VR users, new
interaction paradigms need to emerge and mature. Crunchfish believes
that gesture control is the most natural way to interact with AR/VR
and will become its killer application. There are a few alternatives,
such as remote-, headset- or voice-control, but all have drawbacks
either in terms of cost, convenience or precision that will prevent
them for becoming anything but peripheral interaction complements to
gesture control. The proven Crunchfish touchless gesture control
solution Touchless A3D® has been perfected for mobile users since
2011 and is ready to provide interaction to any AR/VR enabled app in
the world, regardless if it is pre-installed by the hardware
manufacturer or downloadable from a software application provider.

[image] (https://youtu.be/wOG36b_b-nA)

Touchless gesture control in VR

(https://youtu.be/wOG36b_b-nA)If you have used a VR-headset to watch
a video in your social media feed, you have probably recognized the
need for better interaction methods when navigating and controlling
the content. Without a screen to touch, we see gesture control as a
natural and the obvious way to interact with and experience VR
content.

Crunchfish started to invest in C2C beacon technology back in 2014
when the rest of the industry was busy implementing B2C beacon
solutions mostly for retail use. All mobile operating systems provide
beacon support that essentially allows your mobile phone to wake up
and register itself if it detects a beacon signal from an app that
you have downloaded and opted to listen to. Mobiles may not only
listen to beacons, they are also able to broadcast a beacon signal
themselves which allows us to offer a dynamic personal communication
system around each mobile user that we refer to as "a bubble". Within
this bubble any mobile user may discover who and what is around them
and even start communicating the surroundings, i.e. we provide an
augmented reality to each mobile user that even offer the possibility
of communication links. What's more is that Crunchfish Connected AR
solution aBubbl® is ready to activate AR in any app in the world
today to provide their users with such superpowers.

[image]

Connected AR

Connected AR is a research area at Crunchfish focused on Augmented
Reality, that facilitate social or other interaction between mobile
users in close proximity, via beacon-based ad-hoc temporary networks.
The aBubbl® product software product supports Apple's iOS (iBeacon)
and Android as well as cross-OS communication.

Crunchfish develops software that creates new possibilities for
interaction with consumer electronics. Our gesture recognition
product Touchless A3D® is applicable to all devices containing a
camera, which includes everything from mobile phones to Smart TVs.
The consumer electronics market that Crunchfish addresses is
estimated to reach over USD 6 billion by 2020[3]. The strong growth
of gesture recognition in consumer electronics is expected to
accelerate from 2018 and will be driven both by gesture recognition
for AR/VR as well as when 3D cameras reach a wider distribution
within consumer electronics. Crunchfish gesture solution is already
tried and tested and is currently available in millions of devices
from global players such as Lenovo, OPPO and Vodafone. It is expected
that gesture control will have its breakthrough in 2018 regardless of
the massive opportunities in AR/VR. These megatrends support and
secure the estimate of 1.6 billion devices with gesture control in
2020[3].

Crunchfish's other product aBubbl® is by its very nature a form of AR.
The rate of activation of Connected AR in apps will have a major
impact on realizing the full potential of the company. aBubbl® is
also an important component in VR solutions as it enables VR users to
connect with each other in their vicinity, allowing a social VR
experience where interaction is possible and content may be shared
between users. It is extremely difficult to estimate the size of the
market opportunity for this technology but the shared prediction of
Apple's CEO Tim Cook[4] and Crunchfish's CEO Joakim Nydemark is that
AR is likely to become an even greater industry than VR. As aBubbl®
may activate Augmented Reality in any app, rather than "just" deliver
the necessary gesture based interaction of AR/VR, it is likely that
AR will have a huge impact on Crunchfish's future potential.

[image]

Crunchfish's software components applied to AR/VR

Both Touchless A3D® and aBubbl® are key components of the rapidly
emerging AR/VR industries. Touchless gesture control is expected to
be the way users interact with AR/VR. aBubbl® provides VR users the
possibility to be social by interacting with each other. aBubbl® is
by nature a form of AR and able to activate AR in any application or
mobile operating system and augment the reality for its users.

As an entrepreneur and Chairman of the Board of Crunchfish I have high
expectations for the future. I have taken lead in every financing
round since the seed round in 2012. In this public round I am signing
up for yet another million USD as our excellent position serving the
two current tech megatrends AR and VR simply calls for it.

[1] LinkedIn blogpost by Sheridan Tatsuno, October 10, 2016, San
Francisco's VR Gold Rush Heats Up
(https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/san-franciscos-vr-gold-rush-heats-up-sher...)

[2] Ars Technica, September 2016, Oculus Touch controllers cost £190
in the UK
(http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/09/report-oculus-touch-controllers-co...)

[3] echnavio Insights, 2016, Global Gesture Recognition Market
2016-2020
(http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-gesture-recognition-marke...)

[4] The Verge, September 14
(http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/14/12913770/tim-cook-augmented-virtual-re...),
2016, Tim Cook says augmented reality will be bigger than virtual
reality

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http://news.cision.com/crunchfish/r/redefining-ar-vr-interaction,c2100799
http://mb.cision.com/Main/14959/2100799/574677.pdf

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