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Startup with Russian roots aims to build “universal AR infrastructure” and deploy its “Digital Land” across the world

A startup named Arcona is developing a “universal augmented-reality infrastructure,” aiming nothing short of building “a blockchain ecosystem” and “an AR layer to merge together real and virtual worlds.”

May 10, 2018
Arcona says its project makes use of the latest scientific achievements in the fields of computer vision, prototyping and neurobiology.

It is building upon the technologies developed by its parent company, Piligrim XXI, an established Russian startup in the field of augmented reality. Since 2014, Piligrim XXI’s projects have included AR-reconstructions of the Bastille in France, Pompeii in Italy, a Teutonic Knights’ castle in Latvia and several other projects in Estonia, Russia and Bulgaria.

Arcona’s new project is far more ambitious, with the AR layer deployed across popular cities around the world. To start with, these destinations will include Barcelona, Beijing, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Rome, St. Petersburg and Tokyo.

Arcona plans to cover them by the end of this year, recreating them in what it calls a ‘Digital Land.’

In this ‘Digital Land,’ users will be able to rent, buy or sell plots of land, and "open the most popular cities to [their] business." Thus, users will be able to generate real advertising revenues by placing an ad on a virtual building, while AR content creators and amateurs will create and sell 3D objects.

All transactions will be made on blockchain to increase transparency, secure ownership rights and trace their transfers.

To make this project come true, Arcona has launched an ICO. Having already raised 3,080 ethers (the equivalent of around $1.7 million as of March 19) in a recent pre-sale, the startup now aims to collect up to $25 million in a further token sale starting from April 15.

The company also plans to make available its AR technology to developers in open source. "The algorithms may be useful for scientific purposes as well as by developers in related fields, such as computer vision, robotics etc.," Arcona’s press service told us.

Thus, the development of AR projects will be "much easier" than before, claims Dr. Alexander Emelyanov, R&D Lead at Arcona.

"Until recently, new AR projects relied on standard solutions offered by libraries for AR apps, such as OpenCV, and inherited their drawbacks, because there were no new solutions on the market. Our algorithms, based on neural networks and AI, allow for a much faster analysis of a huge amount of data and images to create the most accurate virtual impression of any physical environment in real time."

Right now developers communities can contribute and offer improvements to the solution, which is scheduled for release by the end of 2018.