INFORMATIK 2015: Enabling Industry 4.0 with HoloBuilder

On Tuesday, Maximilian Speicher of bitstars presented the very first research paper about HoloBuilder.com—named “Enabling Industry 4.0 with HoloBuilder”—at the 2015 INFORMATIK conference. The name of the session during which it was presented was “Industry 4.0: Computer Science Forms New Production Systems”. The session was hosted by Prof. Dr. Rolf Kraemer of IHP and featured a selection of renowned experts for Industry 4.0—including Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer of TU Kaiserslautern, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Jasperneite of OWL University and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Wollert of Aachen University of Applied Sciences, among others. The presenters set a particular focus on topics such as Internet of Things, Smart Factories, wireless communication and OPC UA, with which our presentation about HoloBuilder and Augmented Reality fitted in seamlessly. The feedback we received was consistently positive.

Our research paper describes the design decisions behind HoloBuilder as a tool for end-user creation and consumption of arbitrary Augmented Reality content in the context of Industry 4.0. In this respect, the phrase “end users” particularly refers to mechancis, engineers and maintenance staff working in a Smart Factory. The design decisions are evaluated against six design principles for Industry 4.0, of which all are fulfilled by our platform. Moreover, the Industry 4.0 capabilities of HoloBuilder are demonstrated in two case studies: an interactive Augmented Reality instruction manual and real-time communication through OPC UA. Yet, it has to be noted that HoloBuilder is a general platform also intended for average users and the creation of arbitrary Virtual Reality, 360° and 3D content. Our research paper is available via ResearchGate.

INFORMATIK is the biggest IT conference in Germany. It is held annualy by the German Informatics Society (GI). The next edition will be held in Klagenfurt (Austria) in 2016.

RICOH Theta Developer Contest 2015 winner holobuilder

bitstars wins RICOH THETA Developer Contest in Tokyo

In Tokyo, the web application holobuilder.com made by German start-up company bitstars just won the worldwide RICOH Theta Developer Contest held by Japanese technology provider RICOH. holobuilder could push through the fierce competition of 72 participants and 173 submitted projects from all over the world. The web-based application convinced the jury with its innovative possibilities in perfection to enhance 360 degree spherical panorama with 3D objects.

Tokio, Japan/ Aug. 20, 2015. In Tokyo, the German start-up company bitstars just won amazingly the developer contest by the Japanese technology provider RICOH in collaboration with the YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory. The requirement for participation was the usage of the RICOH THETA, a special camera for 360° panoramic photos, to make more convenient or provide new methods of application.
With holobuilder, a web tool that can, among other things, be used for the augmentation of 360 degree panoramic images with 3d elements, the partly in Palo Alto, California, USA and Aachen, Germany located company was able to stand up to strong competition from 15 countries. Inter alia the submissions came from the strongholds of technology start-ups, such as Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv or of course Japan itself. holobuilder could push through the fierce competition of 72 participants and 173 submitted projects from all over the world.

copyright foto by http://ascii.jp/elem/000/001/041/1041109/

bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari among all other awarded participants of the RICOH Theta Developer Contest (front row, third from the right).  – copyright by ascii

 

“holobuilder received the Grand Prize for its implementation using open components, the degree of perfection and practicality as well” said jury member Ken Sakamura, Professor of Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo.

The guiding theme of the whole competition was “innovation” and the prizes were awarded on the basis of the evaluation criteria of creativity (originality), future outlook (potential, extensibility) and benefit (practicality). “holobuilder adds stamps and comments to RICOH THETA photos. Such a function is common for 2D photos. But the vision of incorporating the function for spherical image handling, moreover the feeling of affixing stereoscopic stamp in space is innovative. I feel the potential in this direction” as Sakamura stated further.

Holobuilder convinced the jury with its ease of use and originality. After importing the 360° photosphere taken with the RICOH Theta 360° panorama camera into holobuilder, the possibility of looking into any direction in the image gives the impression of actually being located directly within the recorded scene. Through further augmentation with various 3D models, texts and symbols, new and innovative ways for impressive experiences in virtual reality open up. From a journey of the most beautiful places of the last private vacation to a professional guided tour through the future apartment, both experiences broaden with exciting virtual 3D models of the desired furniture – creativity is boundless. The resulting “holos” can be viewed on any mobile device such as tablet or smartphone, android or iOS. For the even more immersive fun, holobuilder can change into a special mode for Virtual Reality headsets like Google Cardboard. Built-in functions for sharing on social networks or integration into an own website round the offer.

copyright foto by http://ascii.jp/elem/000/001/041/1041109/

bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari accepting the Grand Prize from RICOH CEO Shiro Kondo. – copyright foto by ascii

For this concept holobuilder was awarded the “Grand Prize” and in a celebratory ceremony at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo) RICOH CEO Shiro Kondo himself handed over the prize to bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari. He was rewarded with a cash prize of 1,000,000 yen (about 7,500 euros) and an additional trophy.

Mostafa Akbari with Armin Laschet, Cem Özdemir and Brigitte Zypries

High-level meeting: bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari meets top political decision-makers from Germany

Over the last few weeks some of Germany’s most renowned politicians came to California to get together with the great minds send out from Germany. Mostafa Akbari, CEO of bitstars, who is currently situated in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto/San Francisco, California, USA) to establish a market with the US and Asia, met with them personally to discuss the technology of tomorrow. No matter whether it is the CDU, SPD or Bündnis 90/Die Grünen party, all came to talk about differences in the start-up culture in Germany and the US, the relevance of Industry 4.0 as well as the open-mindedness of the Silicon Valley and Japan towards start-ups.

bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari met with Armin Laschet (CDU), currently serving as state MP in the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia as head of his party’s parliamentary group. They discoursed about the major differences of the support for founders in Germany and the US, what Germany can learn from the American founders’ mentality and how the founders’ climate could be improved altogether. Read more about this visit online (German press).

Mostafa Akbari meeting Armin Laschet (CDU).

Furthermore, Mostafa came together with Brigitte Zypries (SPD), current Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy coordinating Germany’s IT, aviation and space policies, to debate about the potential and future of Industry 4.0. Main topics were Googles new project Jaguar, introducing smart textile designs in cooperation with the textile industry, as well as the role of other Silicon Valley pioneers and their impact on mid-tier companies. In the context of Industry 4.0 the importance of German founders was further elaborated.

Mostafa and Brigitte Zypries (SPD) at the German Accelerator.

Last but not least, Mostafa met with Cem Özdemir, co-chairman of the political party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. They discussed the actual technological, economic-political state in the US and Japan. The focus of the conversation was set on the positive attitude of the Silicon Valley as well as the open minded mentality of Japanese companies towards startups around the world.

bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari meets with politician Cem Özdemir (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen).

Those meetings underline the commitment and involvement of German politicians to support German technology as well as ambitioned entrepreneurs abroad.

Panel Talk with bitstars CEO Mostafa Akbari at AWE 2015

bitstars enters the world stage: Augmented World Expo 2015

The Augmented World Expo (AWE) is home to over 200 companies with backgrounds in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), wearable technology as well as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), with bitstars being a part of it in 2015:
CEO Mostafa Akbari and CTO Simon Heinen were among thousands of tech-professionals participating in over 20 workshops, 200 interactive demos and 100 first-class talks from industry leaders and pioneers.

The slogan of the whole event was “Share the superpowers of AR, VR, Wearable Tech and IoT with the World!” and this is exactly what bitstars did, by giving three interesting talks about the future of AR for enterprises:

  • Simon Heinen elaborated on the topic of the IoT and AR in a talk about ‘The perfect match: Augmented Reality + M2M Communication’.
  • Mostafa Akbari, who has a lot of real-world implementation experience, met consumers and providers alike to discuss the practicalities of ‘How to Expand AR Adoption in Enterprises’ in a moderated panel. The whole discussion is available on YouTube.
  • A spontaneous talk about safety precaution in working environments as well as the potential and advantages of new AR goggles completed the event for us.

In detail the bitstars performance schedule looked like following:

  • Internet Of Things and AR, June 8, 3:15pm – 4:00pm, Room 212
    Simon Heinen (bitstars) – The perfect match: Augmented Reality + M2M Communication; Tom Wesselman (Plantronics) – The IoT: Possibilities, Challenges, and Real World Questions; Brock Kolls (CN2) – Data and Analytics in AR/VR
  • How to expand AR adoption, June 8, 5:00pm – 5:45pm, Theater
    Panel moderated by Alex Hill (CN2) with Juergen Lumeira (Bosch), Paul Davies (Boeing), Fridolin Wild (DDR), Mostafa Akbari (Founder & CEO, bitstars), Joe Metzger (Johnson and Johnson).
    A discussion forum on augmented reality advocating the alliance of enterprises. Main issue is the promotion of the expansion of enterprise AR and the adaption to open and interoperable standards.
  • Spontaneous talk on the topic of Safety and risk factors in Augmented Reality for Enterprises, June 8
    Mostafa Akbari (bitstars) – Device, Human & Environment safety and risk factors

For an exclusive insight take a virtual tour through the expo area or (because networking is important too) join right here at the AWE after party:

To summarize, it was a great event that provided an interesting impression of the current state of the AR and VR business, combined with great opportunities to meet amazing industry experts and a perfect mix of various events and activities. bitstars is looking forward to next year, for which the registration is already open!

bitstars meets Gartner for Industry 4.0 Round-Table

The past Thursday, bitstars VP of Customer & Data Analytics & Optimization Maximilian Speicher participated in a round-table discussion about Industry 4.0, organized and hosted by Garnter in Frankfurt. As a tech provider in Industry 4.0, for us the event was particularly interesting and helpful for staying up to date regarding the current AR & VR ecosystem and potential cooperation partners.

Equipped with a Ricoh THETA 360° camera and his smartphone, Max demonstrated the capabilities of augmented and virtual reality that can be leveraged using our cutting-edge web-platform holobuilder. Also, he engaged in fruitful discussions about interactive AR instruction manuals and OPC UA, which are two core use cases of our platform. Especially Bettina Tratz-Ryan, Research VP at Gartner, enjoyed playing around with the spherical camera a bit, as you can see in the #360selfie below.

Enhanced image quality for holobuilder

During the last few weeks we got a lot of helpful feedback regarding our holobuilder platform, thanks to everybody who commented on our work. Especially the image quality was heavily criticized, hence we worked hard on enhancing it accordingly. Here a little demonstration of the different image qualities before and after our latest update with the great images of Sacha Griffin.

For everybody interested in how we achieved this improvement here a few technical details:

  • Old version:

    •  Only one texture with max 4096×4096 pixel
    •  Compression of the texture with 60% preservation of quality
    •  Sphere max 2MB
      -> All slides can be loaded quickly
  • New version:
    • Multiple textures with 2048×2048 pixel
      -> Original image is not saved as one square and therefore later on stretched (all photospheres have a 2:1 width-to-height ratio, e.g.: 16000x8000px, picture is first sliced into 2 squares, then both squares recursively into 4 squares (at the moment limited to max 8 slices).
    •  Compression of the individual textures with 80% preservation of quality
    • Sphere max 6 MB
    • Spheres have a highly compressed preview texture in addition to their normal textures.
      -> Fast loading of slides because first not everything is loaded at the same time, as only the preview texture is loaded at the start.

 

We hope you all enjoy the new image quality. In the future we plan on having a super high quality mode with 100% preservation of quality. Thanks again to all who provided us with feedback, we hope you will keep using and constructively critiquing holobuilder, so that we can keep on improving.

Create amazing AR and VR content in HoloBuilder.com

Abandoned Metaio users find a new home: holobuilder.com

Since Apple has acquired Metaio everything you can get from their website is product support via E-Mail or Helpdesk. This might seem to be annoying, but it also offers the great opportunity to make new experiences, probably with even better results in the same domain:

Our free, web-based tool holobuilder.com can become your new home for creative Virtual and Augmented Reality content creations.

HoloBuilder lets you create great 3D content for AR and VR for free.

The holobuilder Editor runs directly in your browser, enabling you to create great 3D content for AR and VR for free.

All you need is a web browser, no download, no installation, no struggles with system incompatibilities:

  • holobuilder lets you create great 3D content for AR and VR for free (as seen in our video)!
  • It is a simple and powerful platform that lets you create 360° presentations from photospheres as well.
  • Build your own virtual reality by interlinking your spheres and adding fantastic 3D models.
  • Share your projects with the World or embed them right into your website.
  • With support for stereoscopic 3D you are enabled to dive deep directly into the new world of VR:
    With the Google Cardboard viewer, the Player App from Google Play or directly from holobuilder.
    It is the simplest way to build your own VR experience.

And just in case you want more or something different, don’t worry:
As a start-up company at bitstars we are flexible enough to realize almost any special requirements, just drop us an E-Mail!

But also with the default version of holobuilder.com you get access to amazing benefits:

  1. Totally free!
    There’s no catch.
  2. Boundless
    Create a virtual reality using your own photospheres and 3D models.
  3. To go
    Use your projects everywhere with HoloPlayer.
  4. Ready to Launch
    Quick results with ready-to-use projects and 3D models.

So stop wasting valuable time being bothered by Apple’s latest buy of Metaio and start creating using holobuilder.com.

Runway San Francisco: Meeting the CEO

Today Mostafa Akbari showed me his workplace, the Runway in San Francisco. Located at the heart of San Francisco, the Runway is a community of entrepreneurs and influencers who strive to do the best they can. Because Twitter’s headquarter is in the same building, you need to get a special permission to visit in order for the security to let you in. I’m already feeling enlightened and very important ;).

Right after entering the complex, I was very impressed with the available space and services. The Runway San Francisco is a beautifully designed and modern office suite, with videoconferencing, several meeting rooms, flexible office space and a different lounge to relax and communicate with like-minded people. It’s welcoming, charming and the atmospthere has just the right mix of focus and ease, not your typical ‘you have a desk – don’t complain” atmosphere. The layout is extremely simple yet intuitive. The amount of open space is incredible and refreshing to see, especially after having seen other “comparable” institutes. The designer is a master of indirect lightning – the room is both bright and well-lit but non-glaring at the same time, making it easy to feel right at home. Private call rooms are available and almost always free.

The German Accelerator has hired several tables in the Runway San Francisco. This is where I meet Mostafa Akbari. The following presentation gives you a great impression of the Runway. Feel free to find your ways around and discover the Runway in a 360°-presentation.

Moto 360 android wear giving status update by informing about printer being occupied

Neuer Industrie 4.0 Artikel zu OPC-UA für Smartwatches und Datenbrillen

Wiederholt werden bitstars Gründer von Fachezeitschriften und Magazinen angesprochen. Leider reicht die Zeit nicht immer, um den Bitten nachzukommen und ihr Fachwissen für andere zugänglich zu machen, doch wenn es möglich ist bitstars sofort am Start. So hat Simon Heinen (CTO von bitstars) mit seinem Team einen weiteren interessanten Fachartikel zu Industrie 4.0 für das IEE-Magazin verfasst. Dieses Mal wird das Thema OPC-UA für Smartwatches und Datenbrillen betrachtet und das Zusammenspiel von diesen neuen technischen Geräten mit herkömmlichen Produktionsmaschienen erklärt.

Lesen sie den vollständigen Artikel.

Einen Überblick zu der aktuellen IEE Ausgabe und die Möglichkeit diese zu abonnieren gibt es hier.

bitstars part of macher und gestalter magazin

The new magazine for small and medium-sized businesses “macher und gestalter” by the ZEIT publishing group focuses on the “big issues” German small and medium-sized businesses are facing today. How to face the ongoing digitization? How to tackle the demographic change? How to manage questions of financing and succession? Besides a very interesting article about smart factories the magazine published a short interview with our CEO Mostafa Akbari.

Check out bitstars HoloBuilder platform here.