Leap Motion Sensor

A company named Leap is working on a really impressive motion tracking hardware/software package for PCs.  If you’ve seen the motion tracking on the Xbox or similar game systems you might have a basic idea of the potential, but Leap has made some huge improvements to the resolution of what can be tracked.  It’s tracking fingertips to sub-centimeter accuracy levels, opening up new possibilities for human-machine interaction.  The cost?  A mere $70, which also means that you can expect this to become ubiquitous in future PCs.

In addition to the website linked to above, here’s a cool demo by the company’s CTO:

Transform anything into a touch sensor

The Disney research lab in Pittsburgh released a cool demo video showing how any surface can be converted into a touch sensor.  One of the coolest applications would be to use your skin to control an iPhone.  Your body becomes the buttons…touch your palm with one finger for one action, two fingers for something different, touch the wrist for another action, you get the idea.  Exciting possibilities here, check out the video:

If you’re more the DIY type, check out the video below that shows someone making their own version of this touch sensor.  You can find instructions and details here.


(via Hack a Day)

Oakley smart glasses

It’s pretty much a given that the first wave of augmented reality applications will not be through smartphones’ interfaces, but through glasses that have information overlaid on the display (such as the Google Glasses rumored for release later in 2012).  So, it should come as no surprise that Oakley has been working on this since the late 90s, according to their CEO.  It just goes to show that this really is cutting edge technology…it’s no small feat, though Oakley has made incremental steps in this direction first with their ‘Thump’ glasses that also had an MP3 music player, and also with bluetooth-capable glasses that would stream music from your iPod.  It’s similar to the Apple product design philosophy of slowing incorporating features into your products to learn from that, eventually merging into one awesome product that’s light years ahead of the competition.  A newly awarded patent shows that Oakley is indeed working on adding video capability to their glasses.  They’ve got the bluetooth link worked out.  Battery technology has been a continual learning area for them.  I’d say they’re poised to be a leader in AR glasses soon, though ultimately the hardware will not be what makes or breaks a company…it’s all about the software when it comes to AR.  If they release an API that provides for an easy link between the glasses and smartphones (since they’re the most ubiquitous portable computers), they could have a hit here.

There’s a bit more on this over at Techcrunch , also at Bloomberg, if you’re interested.

AR with Google

Google is rumored to be releasing some Augmented Reality glasses later this year, and while there is no official word on this, they make no secret of the fact that they’re interested in this market and working on concepts.  One such concept implementation is shown in the video below, and is a really interesting example not only of AR, but how Google specifically can offer services that enhance your AR experience.

Transcendenz Augmented Reality

I’ve always felt that Augmented Reality (AR) will transform what it’s like to experience the world, but after watching this video about Transcendenz, I find my perspective and vision of AR transformed.

Watching this, I realize that AR has even more potential than I suspected.  This technology, if used fully, has the potential to really change what it means to be a person.  What does that mean for the future?  Will we have ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’? An augmented class of citizen?  But more importantly…with some many directions this technology can be used, who will control it?  That’s the scary part…

Google AR Glasses

The web is abuzz lately with rumors that Google is not only developing augmented reality glasses, but that they’ll actually be for sale later this year!  Features are expected to include a camera and small display (obviously), though also a cellular data connection and multiple sensors (including GPS), for under $1k (closer to $500-600 is more likely).  Information will supposedly be displayed in an augmented reality sort of view, overlaid into the wearer’s field of view, rather than be shown on a separate display off to the side.  So at this point, it’s all just a bunch of rumors but one things for certain, AR is advanced at a fast pace and once the display technologies have reached a consumer level, expect a flood of apps to surface.

Object Removal in Photographs?

So here’s the problem…you want to take a picture of a person in a public space, but all the strangers walking by keep cluttering up the image!  The solution?  Use a soon-to-be-released app from Scalado to just ‘exclude’ those random people from the picture.  I’m not completely certain how the technology works, but believe it’s essentially taking multiple images of the same picture, so once it identifies an area that has changed (a person walking through the image), it has the data already for what should be behind that person.  This video is a nice demonstration of how this technology could be used:

 

It’s easy to see how this can be useful for taking pictures, but think about taking this one step further.  What if this technology were embedded in a realtime AR display?  Imagine wearing AR glasses, and having a wearable computer essentially ‘filter out’ all the people from your field of view.  Or, once you can do that, replacing them with abstracts.  Maybe just floating blue misty shapes like ghosts, so you know there are people there but aren’t distracted by the details?  At that point, the possibilities are endless and really just a matter of creative software implementation.  Awesome.

AR Contact Lenses

AR contact lensScientists have already managed to create contact lenses that contain a single LED, so it’s no surprise they’re working on increasing that resolution to a more usable level.  Due to the obvious tactical advantage in a combat situation, it’s no surprised that DARPA is an active participant in such research, working with Washington-based iOptiks on just such a solution.  Eventually, you can expect this to trickle down to the consumer level, which would allow for virtually seamless augmented reality integration into our lives.  Until then, expect the AR experience to be first tackled through use of eye glasses such as these.  The next decade is going to be exciting for AR, I can’t wait to see how this develops!  Read more here.

(via Slashdot)

AR glasses

I’ve written previously about advances in AR (Augmented Reality), and one critical part of this is how the information is transmitted to the user – having to look at a smartphone screen will doom this technology to failure. Companies like Lumus are great examples of what will be the first major breakthrough in AR – overlaying information on a user’s field of view using eyeglasses (next step will be contact lenses, then direct neural interface). Lumus’ latest technology offers HD video (720p) in a transparent lens. For a video review from Engadget, hit the ‘more’ link below to see the rest of this post.
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