News / 03.04.2019
Audio AR Hits The Right Note
At South by Southwest in 2018, Bose introduced its AR glasses to showcase what sound-based AR might look and feel like. Combining data from embedded motion sensors with GPS information from your phone, the glasses knew where you were and which direction you were looking and moving. Small speakers fed sound to the wearer’s ears.
This year at South by Southwest (SXSW), Bose was back with Bose AR – the world’s first audio augmented reality platform. The platform promises to let you go through life “heads up, hands-free, and ears amazed.” Bose AR is available on Quiet Comfort 35 II headphones made after November 2018 and Bose Frames glasses (the audio sunglasses that went on sale earlier this year) and arrives via the Bose Connect app.
The company also showcased the first Bose AR-enhanced apps at SXSW. Here’s a round-up of some of the apps that caught my…ear!
Aira already exists as a way for blind people to connect with a trained, remotely-located agent who uses an AI-powered dashboard to view video from a blind person’s smartphone (as well as other key metrics such as GPS location) to provide information to assist users in performing daily activities.
The integration with Bose Frames pairs the best parts of Aira’s assistance technology with Bose’s AR technology.
Bose and Golfshot’s partnership lets golfers around the world enjoy a more streamlined on-course experience. Now, golfers can keep their phones in their pockets if they need to know the distance to the green or next hole information. Available for download now for use with Bose Frames, the app gives golfers tons of data and advice and is connected to 45,000 golf courses and available in 12 languages.
Jessica Brillhart and her company Vrai Pictures unveiled Traverse, a spatial audio platform that allows users to map their surroundings with the help of mobile AR technology, and then explore immersive audio experiences. It changes the way we experience audio.
“From Elvis in Memphis” allows users to experience the music of Elvis Presley by walking through a physical space, with Traverse’s app making it spatially sound like they’re in the studio with the King of Rock and Roll himself. You can walk right up to him and the other band members.
Vrai also debuted a second audio experience called “The Arm of InSight” that has been produced as an audible narration of NASA’s Insight Mars mission.
NaviGuide AR by Navisens uses your Bose AR-enabled headphones or glasses to explore a city and discover tourist attractions and restaurants. By tapping on your Bose AR-enabled device, Naviguide AR provides you with key facts to simplify your decision making, including an establishment’s Yelp! rating and total number of reviews with a simple double tap on your device (*available for preorder only.)
While visual AR is still progressing, audio AR is already here and offers a low-risk way for companies and brands to venture into AR – it comes at a fraction of the cost of visual AR. But it also has other benefits: by placing audio in our surroundings, we are forced to re-connect with the world around us, look up from our addictive screens and connect with each other in ways that augment our collective experience.
While audio AR at SXSW was dominated by Bose and its wearables, the company is not the only player in the AR specs game. Apple has long been mooted to be getting into the space. Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF Securities, has stated that production of the headset could start late this year, and go on sale in early 2020. There’s not much info on what exactly the specs will do, but Ming-Chi Kuo compared the functionality to that of the Apple Watch – the iPhone will do the heavy lifting, not the glasses. With the rumors going back to 2016, I’m looking forward to what Apple will bring out and its plans for Audio AR.
This article was written by Sol Rogers and originally appeared on Forbes.com.
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