Imagine entering a bare room as objects slowly populate it: sofa, chairs, tables, lamp fixtures, picture frames, and even a virtual screen. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, it’s the future of wearable technology, 3D, and close to being like Tony Stark—it’s called Augmented Reality or AR. Blurring the line between real and computer-generated objects, AR is actually enhancing our senses: what we smell, hear, or even feel. As this technology aims to create immersive, computer-generated environments, companies like Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless have collaborated to develop AR technologies to bring customers a unique and interactive mobile experience.
The unveiling of the Google Glass ushered in a new phase of wearable AR, and the future looks promising. These 3D smart glasses promise to support 3D visualizations, facial recognition, and even virtual gaming. As more wearable devices are being introduced lately, one wearable computing eyewear stood out from the crowd—Meta’s Space Glasses—which brings the computing power of your desktop to your face. Featuring Wi-Fi and voice control, these pair of glasses allows users to use their hands to interact with a 3D virtual world. Partnering with Epson, Meta was able to include a pair of stereoscopic 3D glasses and a 3D camera to track hand movements. According to Meta’s CEO Meron Gribetz; “There is no other future of computing other than this technology, which can display information from the real world and control objects with your fingers at low latency and high dexterity”.
Aside from these features, the Space Glass supports the Unity 3D software engine, which allows you to merge your real and virtual assets. Developers can now create apps via its Unity 3D and Windows SDK (software development kit). The SDK includes the Unity 3D Surface Tracking (for markers, features, and featureless surfaces), Unity 3D Hand Tracking (hand meshes, skeletons, and gestures), and Depth Maps, RGB Feeds which can be accessed to customize any computer work. Currently, it supports a couple of apps like the MetaCraft (a MineCraft-inspired virtual game), Voxel Editor (3D editing software), Chess, Laser Tag and a 3D Sculpt+Print Tool.
It is a little bit exciting and a little bit frightening to see how this next-generation smart glass will affect how our society connects, interacts, and searches for information through wearable technology.
720p RGB camera via USB
320×240 Infra-Red Depth Camera via USB
Twin 960×540 see-through TFT LCD displays at 23 degrees FoV (Field of View) via HDMI
9-degrees of freedom sensor (3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis compass) via USB
Developer Edition or Meta.01 will be shipped December 2013.
Augmented reality can definitely change the way we look and do things. Wearable computers like the Space Goggles will probably dominate every known technology we’ve ever owned. Engineers and architects can now properly visualize their projects with great ease. Film directors can now properly plan their sets and soundstages before proceeding with their shots. Physicians can diagnose patients better, and perform precise medical procedures. Through these technologies, we can now combine the real and augmented reality to build a better future.
Image Source: Flickr
Like our content? Join the Serious Wonder Community. It’s free, and we have lots of incentives for readers and contributors!