October 6, 2017

Weekly Wins: AR In The Upside Down

WRITTEN BY: Ivana Atlija

Google announces a bunch of new gadgets at their Pixel 2 event, Stranger Things comes to AR, Snapchat partners with artist Jeff Koons, and MIT delivers another cool invention for cyclists.

Google announces their new phone, laptop and an AI camera thing. Plus, Google adds to the Stranger Things hype by releasing augmented reality stickers of everyone’s favourite characters. We also take a look at Snapchat’s collaboration with artist Jeff Koons that’s bringing art to everyone around the world as well as The Copenhagen Wheel, an invention making the lives of commuting cyclists easier. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Put on your stretchy pants and enjoy your turkey with a side of Weekly Wins.

Shifting from a mobile first world to an AI first world

1. Google’s Watching You

Google has been working hard to “continue the shift from a mobile first to an AI first world.” At their Pixel 2 event, Google unveiled their new phone along with some other new devices like the Google Pixelbook. The most interesting announcement, however, are Google Clips, an AI camera that knows when to record you.

Google Clips is a camera that syncs to your phone and uses machine learning to decide when to record footage. It remembers the faces of your family members and pets, and uses artificial intelligence to decipher when something significant and worth recording is happening. Rather than a creepy breach on your privacy, it is intended to capture the kind of candid moments we often miss catching on camera. Google is marketing it towards parents and pet owners, and while some love the idea, others think it’s quite invasive. Wasn’t there a movie made about this?

Eleven takes on the Demogorgon

2. Stranger Things in AR

Stranger Things Season 2 is upon us. The spunky kids from the show are fan favourites, and now you can bring them into your own world with augmented reality. Google created adorable AR stickers of the characters from the show that aren’t just cute to look at but can interact with one another, too. For example, if you select Eleven and the Demogorgon, they will battle in real time as they move around your surroundings.

If you want to experience a slice of The Upside Down through these AR stickers, you’ll have to dish out a couple hundred dollars because they’re exclusive for Pixel 2. Come on, Google! Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?

Snapchat & Jeff Koons brings us AR art

3. Snapchat ARt

Snapchat continues to create innovative features for both in the app and out. Their latest addition is a partnership with pop artist Jeff Koons to create an outdoor art exhibit, completely in AR. Jeff Koons is an American sculpture artist whose art reimagines common objects into large structures, bringing awe and wonderment to its viewers. Through Snapchat lenses, users can now discover works of his art around the world through their mobile devices.

Some of his current pieces that are viewable in AR include a giant balloon animal sculpture, a steel rabbit, and more. This project is intended to bring Jeff Koons’ work to more people globally while bringing people together and challenging what it means to make and experience art.

Regular ol' bicycles are so outdated...

4. Meet The Copenhagen Wheel

The Copenhagen Wheel is bringing innovation to bicycles. The red-hub wheel designed by an MIT startup called Superpedestrian can convert any bike into an electric mode of transportation. What makes this invention different is the wheel works by delivering power exactly when a cyclist needs it and can boost a rider’s power output by 20 times.

It can be purchased as a package along with a bike for roughly $2,000, with the wheel alone making up most of that price at $1,500. Adding an electric motor to bicycles are great for people who use bikes as their main mode of transportation in crowded cities. The Copenhagen Wheel is already available across most of the US, and is now being sold in the UK and Europe as well.