Saturday, June 30, 2018

Apple's New AR Measure Tool

If you write a generic App, you run the risk of Apple or Google competing with you. But if you can take your App and include unique features, you might be Ok. Camera Apps are a good example. Apple and Google have their own default Camera Apps. But there are many Camera Apps that are both better and different. Apple did take the flashlight App idea, and they took the Bump phones together for file sharing idea. Those Apps are now toast.

So the trick is to create an App that is both universal and also unique enough that it would make no sense for Apple or Google to compete with you. These giants will not change their entire business model to compete with a unique App that is not a common tool. Famous last words.

Let's look at Augmented Reality. Currently, 7% of all AR Apps are length measuring Apps. This is according to Sensor Tower, an analytics outfit. We have all these measuring Apps because every tutorial on AR coding includes a measuring example. There's over 2 million downloads of 80 or so measuring Apps.

This brings us to Apple Measure, the new standard in AR measuring. There are competitors like AR MeasureKit. But those could soon become obsolete. So what is so great about Apple Measure? It helps you accurately measure objects or walls and it is free. But it's not available until IOS 12. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tesla the Radio Astronomer

The greatest human inventor in the history of the Earth believed that humans would someday make contact with other worlds. Tesla did not believe that we are alone in the universe. His answer to the Fermi Paradox would have been that we simply have not found them yet. We need better instruments.

He believed that his radio cameras might have picked up signals from other worlds.

If true, Tesla wins the award for the Best Camera App ever. 

Imagine Earth without Tesla’s inventions. His alternating current. Even today, as we move away from burning fossil fuels, our entire future depends on Tesla. Was he in contact Aliens. Did we receive a gift from the stars?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


MondlyAR is a fascinating new language learning App that uses speech recognition with AR. It’s designed to supplement your learning experience with interaction from a virtual learning assistant. 

The VR assistant is a character named Mondly, a virtual teacher. She will show you objects, characters, dogs, cats and even planets in your real world. Mondly is an advanced sci-fi language learning experience.

Computerized AR components help you learn words and phrases. It’s remarkable. You get personal conversation and interaction with Mondly, and she has her own speech recognition technology.

Imagine your own AI tutor magically conjuring a bulldog on the street as you walk. Then it teaches you how to pronounce bouledogue in French. It’s fun and it works. A retention guru.

AR Reviews - HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma)

Augmented Reality has endless possibilities. This technology is no longer just for movies. So here at Best Camera, we will spend the next month reviewing the Best AR Apps for 2018.

HP Reveal lets you interact with the world in AR ways, but it also lets you share your Augmented Reality experience. Reveal lets you animate and use interactive digital content on images and videos in physical locations. 

It’s addictive. Switch between reality and the animated world. There’s a step by step wizard to help you create what the developers call Auras for sharing.

Record yourself a video or edit a photo. But then with HP Reveal add 3D characters. Have fun sharing your own creations. And now with HP behind the App, you can print photos, posters, birthday cards and more.

The Reveal mobile app is available on iOS and Android.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Favorite Photographer

My favorite photographer just sent me these photos

Her website is

Her Instagram is @nataliegildersleeve

"We return to these pictures, over and over again, because there’s something precious we want to remember...

There — in that look between smiles!
And there — in the ease after the pose.

Often, it’s the fleeting moments between our ideas of how we’re supposed to look or act that we most want to remember."

Natalie Gildersleeve

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Not From Earth

Where Is Everbody?

Most people are familiar with Fermi's Paradox. As the story goes, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, famous for creating the first nuclear reactor, asked a simple question at a casual lunch in 1950. "Where's Everybody?" That simple question has had extraterrestrial researchers scratching their heads in the decades since.

The numbers don't lie. We are alone in the universe, and yet that is impossible. So let's play a game. Pretend that we are not alone, but compared to most advanced civilizations, we are far behind, millions of years behind. And the reason we can't see all the action is that we are isolated. There is a veil surrounding the Earth. The galaxy wants us to catch up, become civilized and then we are welcome. 

If this is true, then there is a good chance that aliens walk among us. Perhaps there are hybrid humans as well. They could be our guides or simply observers. 

Now let's suppose Artificial Intelligence was able to unmask the veil, or at least help us spot those Aliens among us with advanced machine learning and image recognition. 

This brings us to the Not From Earth mobile App. This App works with Watson and the latest Apple technologies such as CoreML to let us spot those outsiders with our cell phone cameras. Just point and click, and artificial intelligence provides a probability of the subject being Human or Alien. 

Behind the scenes, this App is complicated. But the result is fascinating. It uses Watson, CoreML, Augmented Reality, Visual Recognition, Machine Learning and more. 

We have an advance beta copy of the App. It is scheduled for release in Aug 2018

Here are some of the features we have identified:

1. Use your Camera or Photo Gallary to hunt for aliens. 
2. The App does a pretty good job of identifying all objects, such as Labrador retrievers. So something pretty heavy is going on with this App.  
3. The App only accepts individual profiles. If two people are in the image, it tells you it needs one face only. 
4. It thinks Octopus are a form of alien visitors. Not sure why, but hundreds of scientists believe this could be true based on DNA testing. 
5. There is a video mode that uses augmented reality. You move the camera around and if it spots a face, it will categorize the person as human or alien. 
6. There is an exposure feature that attempts to unmask the Alien with trained style transfer effects. 
7. There is a share feature for posting the results to Facebook or Twitter or just Messaging or emailing the results. 

Does Best Camera believe there are Aliens on Earth? We just review Apps and technology. But the App is kind of addicting and fun. It's a game. Some people are calling it a Pick-Up App because it's so easy to get people's attention. "Are you from Earth?" That alone is a conversation starter and you follow up with the App. 

Follow Best Camera for immediate notification when Not From Earth is available. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Prisma Style Transfers

According to their website, the Prisma App has been installed over 100 million times. This App converts your photos into artwork using styles of famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. 

They use neural networks and artificial intelligence for creating timeless art from your own photos. I must admit that's pretty cool. But how do they do it? How do they create and release these image effects? And how do they make them work with any image?

My first hint was when they said they use artificial intelligence. Apple loves Prisma. They named Prisma the iPhone 2016 App of the year. And now Apple has released CoreML technology for working for both image recognition as well as image style transfers. CoreML uses this same kind of trained models for image recognition and image to art.  They call this machine learning. 

So where do these models come from? They have to be trained. You can just buy Prisma, but if you are into coding, you need to get your hands on transfer style models. There are technologies like Tensor Flow that can help. There's been a lot of progress in this area lately thanks to graphics processing units (GPUs). This has led to Deep Learning and the complex multi-level neural networks for creating models.

But there are two kinds of models. Those for image recognition and those for image style transfers. It is the style transfers that are used by Apps like Prisma. In order to create style transfer model, an artist or developer needs a style image and a content image. An example of a style image is the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh shown below. A content image is any image you want to start with. Once the model is created, users can transfer the style of any other image, not just the content image.

If you are working with IOS, you will need to convert the model to CoreML. There are various tools for doing this. The bottom line is that creative artists are able to use tools and existing art to create transfer models that are able to change the style of images into a form of art. The new art is similar to the style image used to create the model. What fun! 

I will be reviewing other Apps using AI models for image recognition and style transfer in future reviews. In the mean time, grab Prisma and have some fun. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Myth

It makes sense. Are we overusing the name Artificial Intelligence for marketing?

Monday, June 11, 2018

kauai Adventure

I'm back with new blog ideas. I was in Kauai doing research if you can believe that.