Today we released a great new update to 360 Panorama with lots of exciting improvements. But that’s not all we’ve been working on. Along with the update, we’re rolling out our first big cloud-based panorama enhancement, and I wanted to take a minute to show you some before and after results. I think you’ll agree that panoramas are getting much more beautiful, and this is just the beginning.
Improvement 1: Smoother
The first improvement is in the smoothness of panoramas. Check out how the colorful blue sky is made much smoother after today’s update.
Improvement 2: More full
We’ve filled in more areas in your flat images. Check out the top and bottom regions of this panorama of St Peter’s Basilica captured yesterday.
Improvement 3: 2x resolution downloads
All panoramas uploaded with the Premium feature can now be downloaded in 2X resolution! Unlock more megapixels within your panoramas. Didn’t use the premium feature when you uploaded? No problem, you can convert Free uploads to Premium at any time.
How does this work?
When you tap Upload in 360 Panorama, your panorama is packaged and sent to your Occipital account as a rich collection of raw image data. What this means is that your panorama isn’t set in stone, it can improve over time as our algorithms improve (like today). Behind the scenes, we’re using massively-powerful GPU servers, having them perform billions of calculations to generate and improve your panoramas.
Best of all, this is all automatic and you don’t need to learn anything new. Just upload your panoramas and the enhancements will kick in. If you used the premium upload feature, your panoramas will be enhanced today. Free panorama enhancement is soon to follow.
Since the sale of RedLaser to eBay, people have been asking what’s next for Occipital. While RedLaser has been in the limelight, the team has been hard at work on our next-generation computer vision application.
Today we’ve launched 360 Panorama (app store: $2.99): realtime panorama creation for your iPhone 4 or 3GS. Gone is the need to stitch together a series of still photographs. With 360, simply pan your phone in any direction and watch as our computer vision system builds a panorama in realtime. Capturing a panorama on your phone has never been easier.
360 Panorama is our first major release since RedLaser, and we’ve surmounted many challenges to make it happen. We’re proud to say there’s simply no other app like it.
Here’s a short video preview of 360 Panorama in action:
Video updated 12/14/10 to feature v 3.0!
Tech Note: The first release of 360 Panorama is optimized to make panorama capture extremely fast and easy so that you can share panoramas very rapidly. As we improve the precision of generated panoramas, we’ll also add options for higher resolution outputs. Current resolution of a 360 degree panorama is
2048 4096 pixels wide (which is still wider than most monitors).
If you were watching Lost, NCIS, Parenthood, or Melrose Place on Tuesday 4/6, you might have noticed this commercial featuring RedLaser:
ProductWiki, a collaborative product review and information site, was also featured in the commercial. Check out the extension they created to search Product Wiki using RedLaser here (using our Custom Apps feature).
We just recently set up a display that shows scans happening in realtime at Occipital HQ. Here is what happened after the commercial aired:
We’ve been getting a lot of requests that look like this:
I love RedLaser, but can you please add my favorite site X to your search results?
Can you send the barcode I scanned to site X for logging?
We thought this might happen, so we embedded a feature in RedLaser 2.2 that lets you search any website by barcode. But until now, we haven’t announced the feature.
Try building an app by following the instructions and let us know what you think. We’d also love some suggestions for other sites to add to our “popular” custom apps list.
We’re excited to see what RedLaser Custom Apps get built and used!
By the way if you like RedLaser, we also launched two other iPhone application last week -FoodScanner (partnership with DailyBurn), and Snapture (partnership with SnaptureLabs). All three of these apps are doing well – they’re all in the top 100 paid apps on the App Store and RedLaser is at #2!
******* EDIT *************
We just added the option to convert scanned barcodes to UPC if the site you are searching only supports UPC format. On the RedLaser Custom Apps page, when building an app, simply check the “Convert to UPC” box, and the app you create will convert to UPC before searching.
As iPhone developers, you have to test your software on every OS version. This would be fine if there were a reasonably simple way to switch between iPhone OS versions. As it turns out, there isn’t. Upgrading is easy — but downgrading isn’t allowed by default within iTunes.
There is, however, a way to do it. I figured it out the hard way, so I’m posting these instructions to help anyone else who might be in the same situation. Partial credit is due to other tutorials that I borrowed information from.
If you’re getting iTunes Error 1600 and iTunes Error 20, this tutorial should help.
Disclaimers: Don’t do this with your personal phone, because you have to remove iTunes and completely reset the phone. Restoring everything later is probably possible via backup, but make sure there’s nothing important on the phone before proceeding. I don’t think this works on the 3GS phone. But don’t even try it.
Downgrading from iPhone OS 3.0 to 2.2.1
- Completely Uninstall iTunes 8.2 AND Apple Mobile Device Support
- Install iTunes 7.7 (find it on an old version website).
- Download the 2.2.1 (or 2.2) ipsw file for your phone.
- Launch iTunes, connect to USB, and enter DFU mode (see below).
- iTunes will mention restore mode. Click OK and then Shift-click “Restore”
- Choose the ipsw file you downloaded. Wait for restore.
- If this completes successfully, congratulations! You’re done! If you get Error 1013 (as I did), ignore and continue.
- Hold the Power and Home button for 15 seconds, then press Power for 2 seconds to reset your phone.
- You should now have the “Emergency Call” screen. If your phone has service, it should activate itself.
- If you’ve switched phones (to a 3GS for instance), you will need to either purchase phone service for it, or activate it via jailbreak.
- Once activated, you’re ready to start testing!
Let us know if these instructions work for you!
We believe that the future of mobile search is visual – using the camera in your mobile device to to get information about any object or landmark in your vicinity with no typing necessary. Not only will we recognize things via the camera, we’ll be doing it in realtime and overlaying results in augmented reality fashion. We launched our first mobile visual search application, RedLaser, about a month ago.
Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve released RedLaser 2.0, which lets you scan barcodes in realtime. This means you don’t have to take a photo, just hold it over a barcode and we scan it from the video feed. It’s available on the App Store, and we’ve cut the price temporarily to $0.99.
Here is RedLaser 2.0 in action:
Currently the realtime mode only works on UPC barcodes (which is most barcodes in the US), but we’ll be adding EAN (books/European barcodes) support soon. We’ll also be releasing a new version of our SDK that gives developers access to the new mode.
Barcodes are just the beginning, look for more mobile visual search technology from Occipital soon.
RedLaser has been quietly in development at Occipital since our last release. It’s the first accurate UPC/EAN barcode scanner for the iPhone. While barcode scanning might sound simple, it’s surprisingly challenging given iPhone images — in particular, out-of-focus images.
After scanning a barcode, RedLaser queries Google Product Search, and returns online prices. It also lets you pull up results on Amazon via Safari, and email a product list. There’s also an SDK for developers.
RedLaser is also our first mobile visual search application. Mobile visual search is about visually querying the world in your vicinity. Today, that means you can point your phone at a barcode and we’ll help you find information about a product. In time, we’ll be expanding the possibilities, helping you find information faster and more precisely (oh, and it’s definitely more fun than typing!).
Here’s a short video of RedLaser in action, enabling quick in-store price comparison:
We hope you like using RedLaser!
We need things to go fast. Really fast. So when came across Ryan Block‘s old post about the iPhone’s vector floating-point coprocessor, I was encouraged. But how to access this new coprocessor? I was excited to find some examples on Matthias Grundmann and Wolfgang Engel‘s Google code project, vfpmathlibrary.
They’re just getting started and only have 4×4 matrix operations coded up so far. Hopefully we can collaborate with these guys to expand the library and do some performance testing on different applications. More to come on that.
The internet is just incredible. Within 30 minutes of logging onto the #iphonedev IRC channel on freenode, I got timing results for the iPhone on the simple loop benchmark from my last post. Thanks to ‘august’ for the help.
Here’s the benchmark converted into objective-C:
NSDate *start = [NSDate date];
for(int i = 0; i < (8*320*480); i++)
arr[i] = i;
NSDate *end = [NSDate date];
NSLog(@"%g", [end timeIntervalSinceDate:start]);
- iPhone (2.1 firmware, Objective-C): 9.5 milliseconds
And, from last time:
- G1 (R29 firmware): 922 milliseconds.
- G1 (R29 firmware): Loop only. 520 milliseconds.
Objective-C kills the Java implementation on Android. It’s almost exactly 100 times faster. Note that I’m unsure if the memory allocation is included in the timing, so a more conservative statement is that Objective-C can run a tight loop 50 times faster than the Dalvik JVM. It’s also true that real applications aren’t full of tight loops, and a real Android application won’t be 50 times slower than an iPhone counterpart. Nevertheless, all else being equal, it will be slower, and potentially a lot slower.
For now, we’re sadly going to put our Android development on hold and switch to iPhone, and keep an eye out for performance improvements.