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Real Virtual and Augmented Reality Apps, Coming Soon From Facebook

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Oculus VR, the Virtual Reality (VR) technology company acquired by Facebook earlier this year, announced recently that they are acquiring two small start-up companies,  Nimble VR and 13th Lab, to fill gaps in their virtual reality capabilities, Seeking Alpha reports. The acquisitions may indicate that, besides VR games and social worlds, Facebook may target Augmented Reality (AR) applications, like Google is doing with Google Glass.

Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook for US$2 billion in cash and Facebook stock, leading to speculations that Facebook may soon launch VR applications and virtual worlds. When you put the Oculus Rift headset on, you step into an immersive VR world where you are surrounded by computer-generated scenery and sound. The Oculus interface is powerful enough to persuade the user to suspend disbelief and accept the virtual world as real. If the virtual world is well designed, users feel a powerful sense of “being there.”

Also read: Facebook’s Oculus Rift is Going to Change Everything

Plenty of immersive video games already exist in which you can move around entire cities and interact with hundreds of characters. Many users emerge from their first experience with the newest version of the Oculus Rift with the impression that “it is going to change everything.”

Early applications focus on gaming, but Oculus sees a day, as forecast by the epic book [Snow Crash], in which people use virtual reality goggles to interact with each other in life-like three dimensional settings while each sitting in their own living rooms.

According to company statements, Facebook acquired Oculus to bring virtual reality to social networking and other online experiences, for example watching sports games or taking virtual classes. The first VR initiatives of Facebook, perhaps in 2015, will be very interesting to watch.

SLAM for Augmented Reality Apps

Ball Invasion

13th Lab’s Ball Invasion is the first (and only) iPad application to use the NASA-invented Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology to build real-time 3D maps of the environment as you move the iPad’s camera around.

But the recent acquisitions may indicate that Facebook is even more ambitious. 13th Lab technology analyzes video streams from a camera moving through a site. In addition to building a 3D model of the environment based on video streams, their technology can track the camera’s location in real-time as it moves around the site, based only on information gleaned from the video. This technology is called “Simultaneous Localization And Mapping” (SLAM).

“As speculation, imagine if Oculus, or Facebook, brought the Oculus goggles to market not only for immersive virtual reality, but also for wearing around during every-day life, as Google is doing with Google Glass? In such a model, the goggles would deliver augmented reality rather than virtual reality, with the computer-generated imagery augmenting the view of the real world rather than replacing it. Obviously the glasses would need to be less like virtual reality goggles and more like fashionable eyeglasses.”

Augmented Reality (AR) doesn’t place the user in a game world but enhances the real world with synthetic imagery, from simple text and icons used for navigation and directions to sophisticated interactive 3D features.

Images from 13th Lab, Stefano Tinti and Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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  1. Rod Ricky Brown

    December 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I believe their spreading their wings too thin here…. Focus on the killer app which is “gaming” right now and 3rd party will find other uses. This will only delay adoption.

  2. Jonjon Taka

    December 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Facebook probably wants to become our eyes, and register everything we see and interact with in the real world. Soon we’ll be watching people through our reality augmented vision and pull up their facebook profile, send friend request on the spot or poke them with sensory stimulus without actually interacting at all with them in the real world.

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Business

Argo Mining as a Means of Diversification

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Buying Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) is something we talk about a lot, but earning crypto is just as interesting. There are many ways to earn crypto that allow for arbitrage-like opportunities, but the focus of this piece is on mining companies.

More specifically, Argo Mining, which is the first cryptocurrency mining company to IPO. That might not sound like a big deal, but it gives Argo a critical competitive advantage over other companies.

The Mining Industry

One thing is clear right now, the mining industry is still very opaque. Users are constantly worried about being scammed, which is very similar to how it was when trading exchanges were popping up left and right. There are numerous options out there for companies that will help you mine cryptocurrency, but it isn’t always clear what the best choice is.

You can go one of two routes: have a mining application operate on your computer, or pay for a rented service. Honeyminer is an example of a native application that works well and pays out cryptocurrency, and Argo is an example of a “shared service”. Argo operates much like Amazon Web Services does. You pay to rent computational capabilities, but your goals end up being slightly different. The business models are sound, but very different.

Where Argo’s Advantage Comes From

Argo is the first mining company to IPO, which adds a level of trust that no other company can currently command. There are so many potential risks for users that they tend to shy away from these companies. They are worried about their payment information being ripped off, withdrawal of the coins, and the costs being greater than the revenues.

By raising $32 million in their June 11th IPO, Argo has alleviated many of these worries, and added a degree of trust to their brand. They started off mostly mining altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Zcash, but have recently announced Bitcoin mining packages as well.

The overall goal of Argo, as stated by their CEO, Jonathan Bixbay, is to democratize mining so everyone can participate. Right now, most of the mining is done by a select few of the elites, and Argo is enabling the wealth to be spread here.

Can Argo Actually Make You Money?

The big question to answer about Argo is whether you can actually make money doing this. The costs per month could potentially be higher than the value of the crypto you mine. Sure, you don’t have to pay trading fees on them, but it is important to calculate exactly how much you are coming out ahead.

It depends on the package, but you could potentially end up paying more for the fees than you earn. The trick is to remember that the crypto market isn’t like other markets – it isn’t perfectly efficient – and there are always arbitrage opportunities if you look hard enough.

An Alternate Route to Being Long Crypto

With much of crypto mining currently being done by elites because of the massive investment involved, it is clear that Argo has tapped a massive market. The company had a waitlist of 50,000 in September, and with the funds from the IPO, they can finally finance the expansion of their operations in a way that will speed up the number of people they can bring online.

If you believe Bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies in general) is coming out of a rut soon, then this is a good way to diversify into the market. Do your own tests and make sure that you are coming out ahead after the fees, but it should be a simple way to make some extra money in what is currently an inefficient market.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Crypto Market Development: Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Acquires Crowdfunding Platform

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  • Goldman Sachs-backed Circle has announced it has acquired SeedInvest. The fee has not been disclosed.
  • SeedInvest are a crowdfunding platform. Circle are planning to expand SeedInvest’s offerings to support cryptocurrencies.

The Goldman Sachs funded crypto start up Circle, are really stepping up their dominance within the market. Over the past two days, there has been a couple positive developments from their camp. Firstly, the firm has acquired crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. Elsewhere, they have added a new feature for their app, known as Collections.

Circle Acquires SeedInvest  

Circle Internet Financial is acquiring SeedInvest. Should all be approved by regulators, the company are targeting the strategy of delivering a token marketplace. This will enable businesses as well as individuals to raise capital and interact with investors using open crypto rails and infrastructure. Circle will want to make it easier for startups to issue digital coins. The scope also to facilitate customers to trade a larger variety of digital tokens. A full statement can be observed by their latest blog.

Collections

Another development from Circle, coming in the form of adding a new feature, is “Collections”. This will allow its users to invest in a particular theme. The following themes offered are “Platforms, Payments, and Privacy.” Users will be able to invest in an entire theme, with a single click. Providing a simplified way for investors portfolio be focused on multiple coins. Full coverage was posted within a blog from the company.

Market Review

These developments continue to cement the huge improvements being observed across the market. The sky appears to be the limit, as the digital currency sector does not stop having its infrastructure solidified. Updates such as the announcements from Circle, demonstrate capabilities are not limited. See previous acknowledgement points of the sector taking big legitimizing steps, in a prior Litecoin article, under the section Big Infrastructure Improvement In The Crypto Market’.

The one thing that will likely continue to slowdown the market is regulation. This will have to be the case for the foreseeable future. As revolutionizing as the industry is, regulators must remain cautious for the sake of all parties involved. Their concerns remain about the safety of investors that want to participate in the marketplace as well as ensuring that anti-money laundering protocols are maintained. In the long run, it is in the best interest of all those involved. Besides all of this, there is still remains some way to go for complete a complete solid system, in comparison to the traditional financial system.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to Form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 644 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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