Hold Data In Your Hands? Seagate and Grab Games Develop Augmented Reality Data Manipulation

A flood of data is creating both opportunities and challenges for businesses and their customers. Market researcher IDC projects the amount of data created will skyrocket to 163 zettabytes by 2025, a tenfold increase over 2016.

Seagate is partnering with game developer Grab Games to give people an easier way to deal with their data, using augmented reality.

Grab Games, which was founded in 2010, was one of the first companies to create entertainment for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms like Vive, Oculus and the PlayStation VR. Grab founder and CEO Anthony Borquez visited Seagate’s Cupertino headquarters last week to demonstrate a “pre-alpha” version of an augmented reality data-management system it is developing with Seagate.

“This product allows you to access all your data using hand gestures in an augmented way,” said Borquez. “It’s something we think will be revolutionary.”

Tim Bucher and Anthony Borquez describe the Seagate and Grab Games development effort

A Better Data Experience

The goal behind the partnership is to give people a much better “data experience,” added Tim Bucher, SVP, consumer solutions group at Seagate.

“We were looking for a partner with expertise in VR and AR, someone who could help us create a truly immersive data experience,” he said. “And for Grab, they wanted to find a partner with deep experience in data solutions. Data is exploding, and that’s become a big challenge for everyone from CIOs to consumers themselves.”

AR places digital information such as video game characters (last year’s hit game, Pokemon Go, is an example) onto a user’s view of the real world. VR immerses users in a completely digital world. Development of the capabilities continues to increase, and the market for both technologies could reach $182 billion by 2025 (which includes hardware and software), according to Goldman Sachs Group forecasts.

The Seagate-Grab partnership dates back four years to when Grab needed data management solutions to help its team of developers securely and efficiently store and share all of the data they were creating.

“Seagate approached us with some storage solutions that helped our business thrive,” Borquez explained. “After that, we started talking with Tim and his team about AR and where the technology was heading, and this partnership just organically evolved from those conversations.”

Hand gestures unlock data from the drive

During the demo, Borquez placed a lightweight headset onto members of Seagate’s consumer solutions team to let them experience the newest iteration of the AR technology in development. The AR application shows the user a virtual Seagate external hard drive on a desk. Using hand gestures, the user unlocks data from the drive and manipulates objects that represent videos, music, photos and other files — enabling the user to scan through a wall of vacation pictures, choose and switch on a music track, enlarge screens or move them to different areas of the desk, and more.

The image above shows the augmented reality view from behind the AR headset — in the background you can see the conference room, and in the foreground are the user’s music choices displayed in space (see more images below).

“This is about having your data in the palm of your hand,” said Bucher, “and bringing all of that data to life.”

The technology, while still very much in development phase, is akin to how Tom Cruise juggled multiple data files in the 2002 science fiction film Minority Report, and in many films since.

“Fifteen years ago, that movie really set the benchmark for what AR would be like in the future,” said Borquez. “What’s pretty exciting is that future is now. We’re actually doing that with this demo. We’re managing all of our information in augmented reality.”

Check out more of the view from inside the Seagate and Grab Games augmented reality:



About the Author:

Steve Pipe