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Augmented Reality With Microsoft HoloLens And Project Tango

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augmented reality

If you’ve been reading Owner’s Magazine lately, you’ve probably read my article about virtual reality. There I detailed information about the latest VR headsets to make a proper buying decision. However, I intentionally left out augmented reality. Augmented reality, or AR, is different from VR in which VR fully immerses the user inside of another world, AR (also known as mixed reality) superimposes virtual objects onto the real world. Holograms are an example of augmented reality. Popular AR games such as Pokémon Go are also examples of AR where your smartphone camera superimposes the virtual Pokémon on a live video feed making it seem as if the Pokémon were standing in the real world. The technology behind AR is nothing new. Even in today’s world of smartphones, many augmented reality apps were released on iPhone and Android devices back in 2008 and 2009. However, with the seemingly popularity of VR, more attention is also being given to AR solutions. Two of the biggest players in this space are Microsoft and Google.

Microsoft HoloLens

Hololens

One of the more interesting AR devices comes from Microsoft. The HoloLens is a head mounted device that allows the user to view “holograms” through the lenses (hence the term “HoloLens”). The HoloLens features a bevy of sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, four IR sensors for mapping the environment, a depth camera, ambient light sensors, 2.4-megapixel front camera, and microphone array. Along with an Intel CPU, Microsoft developed a custom chip called the “Holographic Processing Unit” or HPU. The HPU processes the sensor data as well as hand gestures and voice recognition. The HoloLens runs full Windows 10 and can run Universal Windows Programs. Regarding the hand gestures, there are two main gestures: bloom and tap. Bloom is simply balling your fist up palm facing up, and opening the fingers up like a flower (hence “bloom”). The bloom gesture activates the shell which allows you to access other programs. This is akin to pressing the Windows key on a PC or the Xbox button on the Xbox One. The second gesture is the tap. You aren’t literally tapping the air but it’s more like holding your index finger up then touching your thumb. This is used to select objects and windows. Windows can even be dragged around and pinned to walls or tables. Microsoft isn’t technically marketing this towards consumers yet. This is primarily for developers to create applications although anyone can buy the development kit for a wallet busting $3000.

Project Tango

project tango

Project Tango is the augmented reality platform developed by Google. While the Microsoft HoloLens is an actual headset, Tango goes a more practical route and utilizes a smartphone or tablet form factor for AR. The devices provide the hardware necessities such as various sensors and RGB-IR camera for depth sensing. The Tango software uses the hardware to enable motion tracking and visual recognition of the environment. The IR camera allows Tango to map the environment including distance, sizes, and depth. That information is then stored for future applications to use. This has many practical uses such as navigating through stores, mapping, and visualizing data. For example, you could use Tango to see exactly how a piece of furniture would look in your home before buying it. Google partnered with Lenovo to release the Phab 2 Pro, the first commercially available smartphone with Tango built in. At CES 2017, ASUS announced that it will also be releasing a Tango enabled phone along with Daydream VR.

Which Is The Future? VR vs AR?

There has been some debate over which platform is more viable for the future. Virtual reality completely immerses the user in a new world. These kinds of experiences are better suited to content consumption and entertainment. All three of the major VR platforms (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR) all focus on games as their primary use case although some of them do allow you to watch movies in your own personal theater. At Facebook’s Oculus Connect event back in October, Mark Zuckerburg unveiled a vision for new ways to use VR for social interactions. He used the Oculus Rift to interact with virtual representations of himself and two other colleagues in a totally virtual space. Imagine being able to debate politics and religion with your friends in real time in a virtual world…actually…that may not go so well. However, being able to interact with another person in virtual reality would dramatically change and revolutionize how we connect with our friends and family. The primary drawback with VR is the total disconnect from the real world. VR often involves putting on a somewhat bulky headset and tuning out the world around you. The advantage of AR is that it allows you to interact with virtual objects while still being cognizant of the real world around you. AR also allows more practical, everyday uses. Imagine having a digital map displayed on your windshield on your car that helps you navigate and alerts you to any hazards or speed limits. Imagine virtually placing a couch in your actual living room before buying the couch. Construction workers and architects could use AR to precisely build structures while seeing a virtual representation of the building. Google’s Translate app can already translate text into another language in real time. So which one is the future? I think one of two things will happen. Either AR will eventually become dominant and heavily used in everyday life or there will be a mixture of AR and VR depending on the medium. VR will likely dominate the entertainment space with movies and gaming while AR is what most people will interact with daily. Project Tango will further accelerate the adoption of AR into Android phones. Apple is rumored to working with Carl Zeiss for their own augmented reality solution. History has shown us that once Apple implements a feature, the market generally follows suit. Regardless of what happens, the dream of the Star Trek HoloDeck is slowly coming to fruition.

Influencers

20 Fast Growing Instagram Influencers to Watch

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If you like dolling up, it doesn’t hurt to gain inspiration from the best Instagram beauty bloggers. This way, you can be sure to diversify your look. From attending a wedding to your usual weekend nightlife, these 20 Instagram influencers will make you a head-turner in any event. 

1. Renae Olivia

In an industry that emphasizes a lot on youth, Renae Olivia is redefining what beauty means for older women. Nearing her 50th birthday, Renae is a proud mother of two wonderful boys. And her thriving Instagram account, @renae.olivia, is already about to hit 50k followers. She regularly partners with local makeup and skincare brands.

2. Naima Zahin

This beauty and makeup guru hails from London, if that wasn’t already obvious with her Instagram handle, @thesassylondonista. As a beauty guru, makeup artist, and personal stylist, Naima surely is a triple threat. She partners with local beauty brands such as Crystal Clear Skincare and international brands like Charlotte Tilbury Beauty.

3. Melissa Oosterwolde

Melissa is not one to shy away from being different. In fact, her whole brand is about standing out. From her makeup choices to her clothing style, Melissa strives to stay unique. Her Instagram account, @iammelissaoosterwolde, is close to reaching 25k followers and growing fast.

4. Netta

Going through Netta’s Instagram feed, @naturallynetta_, you immediately sense her strong sense of style. And although she heavily features her outfits, Netta describes herself as being a beauty lover. Her makeup is absolutely flawless and a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by mostly white beauty influencers.

5. Megan Coates

With a witty Instagram handle like @raincotesbeauty, it’s hard to ignore Megan. She’s a makeup artist turned multiple sclerosis advocate. Her condition allowed her to explore what it means to approach health and beauty in a holistic way. Not to mention, her brand is about promoting wellness and it’s evident in her beauty style.

6. Valeriya

Valeriya is a proud model, coach, beauty queen, and mom. Her rise to fame is rooted in her charm and wit as much as her natural beauty. Her Instagram followers love her for her many adventures, health and beauty tips, and her impeccable style.

7. Asa

Based in Seattle and with an Instagram following steadily growing, Asa’s advocacy is all about body positivity in the beauty community. Her natural approach to makeup is complemented by her relaxed style. Known under the handle @laceandpearlsblog, Asa espouses health, makeup tips, and a great love for her cats.

8. Hayley Hall

Another proud UK-based beauty influencer, Hayley’s style is all about embracing her natural curves encased in warm and earthy toned style. Her makeup look can be described as natural and subdued, complemented by her fashion sense revolving around floral prints.

9. Ashlee

Chicago-based Ashlee has recently crossed the 10k follower mark on her Instagram account, @intheglamroom. From makeup to nails, she certainly does it all. Her feed is dominated by beauty products she regularly uses as well as a few sponsored ones.

10. Geena Samantha

Based in Dortmund, Germany, Geena Samantha of @pastelmints is known for her gorgeous eye makeup. Her liberal use of colorful eyeshadow palettes is very reminiscent of a makeup style by big beauty gurus. With over 33k followers, Geena has been experiencing a steady rise in fame.

11. Lena

Another German beauty guru, Lena is drawing a lot of attention from many makeup fans and professionals because of her amazing and intricate eye makeup. Lena shows off her makeup skill by creating painting-like quality on her eyelids. A strong and growing fan base of more than 20k followers has allowed Lena to grow a strong and significant influence in the competitive world of beauty and makeup.

12. Lesley Marie

Lesley is an up-and-comer in the beauty and makeup world. Still, she has made a name for herself for the kind of stunning looks she creates. Based in NYC, she has amassed close to 45k followers on her Instagram, @lesleymarie1213.

13. Issy Lockett

Boasting an impressive 19.4k followers, this UK-based micro beauty influencer is known for her artistic eye makeup rendering. With her face and body as her canvas, Issy of @isabelle_makeup_ shows off her skill through her extravagant, often over-the-top, makeup transformations that leave her close to 20k Instagram followers stunned and inspired.

14. Aluve Nguza

Hailing from South Africa, this stunning black beauty is an advocate of natural hair and makeup. With a clean and crisp Instagram aesthetic, it’s easy to see why her 13.5k followers love Aluve’s personal brand. Besides beauty and makeup, Aluve is also a gifted thespian.

15. Daniel

Daniel of @danieljewels follows the footsteps of Bretman Rock, James Charles, and Jeffree Star because of his flair for dramatic makeup and liberal use of colors. He has recreated a number of memorable fictional characters from film and television, gravitating towards characters that we know and love.

16. Hamsoyoung

This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one beauty influencer from Korea. Hamsoyoung, otherwise known as @bebe_282 on Instagram is a beauty and makeup guru famous for her quintessential South Korean looks. Natural and understated, her makeup style is benefiting her subdued fashion sense.

17. An

Scrolling through An’s Instagram feed, you get the sense of her aesthetic. Being a mom, she shares makeup tips that focus on everyday looks. From sharing her skincare routine to her step-by-step guide on how to put on eyeshadow, An serves as a mentor for both pros and newbies.

18. Angie

A proud Chilean by heart, Angie has wowed the beauty community with her make up transformations. Being able to paint a green skull on her face, to applying an everyday makeup look, Angie shows versatility with her makeup skills. Angie is not afraid to push the boundaries of what makeup can do, frequently experimenting with colors and styles.

19. Laura Alksne

The beauty community is populated by makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts. Laura Alksne is both. It’s clear she has fun putting on makeup for herself and others. Hence, it shows how she executes each of her looks. A strong sense of style and a distinct makeup look sets Laura apart from other influencers.

20. Jeanette Emory

The worlds of beauty and skincare often blur their dividing line and Jeanette Emory of @thick_skin enjoys straddling that divide. She is a strong advocate of clean beauty, propagates the importance of wellness, and a certified organic skincare specialist. Being a mom, her caring nature transfers to her more than 15k followers.

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Influencers

12 Facts About Chadwick Boseman

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Fans worldwide are still mourning the passing of Chadwick Boseman after a four-year battle with colon cancer. The 43-year-old actor, known for his performance as King T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” died in his Los Angeles home, surrounded by his wife and family on August 28.

A statement released through his Twitter account says the actor was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer back in 2016. It was the same year he first appeared as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. Besides his role as a Marvel superhero, Boseman also charmed fans with his stellar portrayals of Black icons such as Thurgood Marshall (Marshall), James Brown (Get On Up), and Jackie Robinson (42).

As tributes continue to pour in, here are 12 interesting things to know about the late actor.

1. African background

In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2018, Boseman said that his African lineage influenced him to provide a more human portrayal of Black Panther. The actor revealed that DNA testing indicated that his ancestors came from the Krio people from Sierra Leone, Yoruba from Nigeria, as well as Limba from Sierra Leone.

2. Soldiering on throughout his battle

Chadwick Boseman never publicized his battle against colon cancer. In fact, fans didn’t know that he was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy while working on several projects over the last few years. 

His cancer treatment coincided with several film projects, including “The Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Aside from grueling shooting days, reports say the actor had to learn several martial art techniques for his fight scenes. These include Angolan capoeira, Zulu stick fighting, Dambe boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu, and kung-fu.

3. Constant inspiration

Perhaps Boseman got his work ethic from his father, Leroy. His father worked for an agricultural conglomerate and had a side hustle as an upholsterer. 

In an interview, Boseman expressed how his father’s hard work continued to inspire him through adulthood. 

“I saw him work a lot of third shifts, a lot of night shifts. Whenever I work a particularly hard week, I think of him,” Boseman said.

4. Audition for a different role

Most fans know that Boseman didn’t have to audition for Black Panther, as he was the top pick to portray the role. However, not everyone may be aware that he previously auditioned for another Marvel role – Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Drax the Destroyer. 

The audition obviously didn’t work out, with Dave Bautista bagging the role. But everything fell into place, with Boseman bookmarked for the iconic role he’s now most known for.

6. Coping with grief

Boseman played basketball in high-school. After one of his teammates was shot and killed, he switched gears and transitioned to being a storyteller. He turned to pen and paper to commemorate his friend’s death and wrote and staged a play called Crossroads. The production sparked his passion for a career in arts. 

7. Fired

Boseman revealed that he was fired from ABC soap opera “All My Children” in 2003 because he questioned his role’s racial stereotypes. The actor talked about the incident during his commencement speech at Howard University in 2018.

 “Once I saw the role I was playing, I found myself conflicted… this role seemed to be wrapped up in assumptions about us as black folk,” Boseman said during his speech. “I was let go from that job the next day. The questions I asked caught the producers off guard. It perhaps paved the way for a less stereotypical portrayal for the black actor that stepped into the role after me.”  

8. Denzel Washington scholar

Phylicia Rashad was one of Boseman’s mentors at Howard University back when he was a student. Boseman and some other students got into the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program during that time. However, they decided not to push through due to lack of funds. Rashad asked help from a friend who agreed to pay the tuition. That friend was Denzel Washington.

9. Diagnosis hint?

Some speculate that Chadwick Boseman may have previously hinted at the illness he’s battling with. In a 2017 interview, Huffington Post’s Matthew Jacobs asked him about bulking up and slimming down only to bulk up again. It was because he did “Marshall” between two Black Panther movies. 

“Oh, you don’t even know [laughs]. You have no idea. One day I’ll live to tell the story,” Boseman said then. 

10. Inspired cancer patients

The actor visited cancer patients in  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee in 2018 while privately battling the big C himself.

During a SiriusXM interview, Boseman got emotional when he talked about two terminally ill boys. They were in constant contact while filming Black Panther. The boys held on because they wanted to see “Black Panther.” The interview holds a whole new different meaning after the announcement of his illness and passing.

11. Posthumous Film

Fans will get to watch Boseman in a post-humous drama film titled, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” where he starred with Viola Davis. Based on the play of the same name by August Wilson. George C. Wolfe directed the film. The movie, filmed last year, is set for release in November.

12. Jackie Robinson Day

Chadwick Boseman died on the same day Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. The annual commemoration fell on August 28 after months of postponement due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Boseman played the role of Robinson in a 2013 film, “42.”

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Otakon Welcomes Writers Roland Kelts And Frederik L. Schodt

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Frederik L Schodt Roland Kelts

Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese pop culture has invaded us, and writer, translator, and conference interpreter, Frederik L. Schodt have both joined as guests for Otakon 2017. Fans of the writers were thrilled for their appearance at the convention, as they share their most popular and influential works. Frederik writes exclusively on pop culture, technology, and history, while Roland is currently a 2017 Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, where he is currently working on a new book. Both Frederik and Roland are devoted writers, with similarities in expressing Japanese culture in their writings.

While living in Tokyo and New York City, Roland writes for a variety of well-known publications that includes, “The New Yorker, Time,” “The New York Times,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “The Christian Science Monitor,” “Newsweek Japan,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Yomiuri” and “The Japan Times,” and is an authority on modern Japanese culture and media. His writings are spread throughout, though his recognition is from Japanese fans especially. Likewise, he is a frequent commentator on CNN, NPR, NHK, and the BBC. With additional lectures for TED Talks in Tokyo and The World Economic Forum in Tianjin, Roland is looking for various opportunities to share his work, in order to spread awareness to the Japanese culture.

Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with the title of holding in one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. In the celebration of anime, manga, video games, and especially music from the Far East, Otakon attracts like-minded fans. Created from devoted fans for fans, the staff is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff. The conventions are solely for the purpose of celebrating and sharing Japanese and East Asian cultures.

Frederik is best known for his many works on manga that includes, “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics” (1983), “Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga” (1996), and “The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution” (2007). He has won numerous awards for his talent in the past as a result. In 2009 especially, the emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his success in introducing Japanese popular culture to North America. His most influential work gave recognition to both him and to what Japan has to offer.

As of recently in 2013, his book, “Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan—And Japan to the West,” won the Circus Historical Society’s Stuart Thayer Prize. Doing so, for the last three years, he has served on the executive committee of the Japan International Manga Award. Additionally, he is an active translator and has worked on much well-known manga series, as well as novels including Yoshiyuki Tomino’s “Mobile Suit Gundam” trilogy.

Frederik has been involved in spreading Japanese culture and will continue as he attends Otakon 2017. The convention holds determined fans who wish to express their culture with other similar people. In Otakon 2017, writers Roland Kelts and Frederik L. Schodt are invited to continue the tradition. All while cementing their writings and work to Japanese culture, the awareness can now be shared in North America.

Otakon will be continuing their gatherings next year on August 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. 

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