V-Rtifacts

Tag Archive: Augmented Reality

The Cart Before The Horse, Once Again – Project Glass

Google has been tearing through the bandwidth over at the Patent Office in defense of Project Glass, April’s much touted announcement of Google’s entry into the world of augmented reality and head mounted displays. One especially clever patent covers their bases on the use of glasses nose-bridge as a power switch.

Trouble is: where’s the beef? ReadWriteWeb nicely summarizes just why Google stressed that their promo video was just a “concept”, not anything we should expect in the foreseeable future. A few well aimed snippets from their article:

What a disappointment! Google’s prototype heads-up display glasses do not have the Terminator-style graphics shown in the concept video. They just show a simple readout above the user’s line of sight for now. That’s no fun.

After the video came out, Google execs immediately started showing up at conferences and on talk shows wearing Google glasses. But they were vague about the actual capabilities of these prototypes. When Sebastian Thrun dared to demo the camera while live on the Charlie Rose show, the result was pretty harrowing.

Concept videos cross the line when the company can’t deliver the goods. That’s why it’s risky to make them. As writer John Gruber is fond of pointing out, that’s why Apple stopped making such videos. Apple learned its lesson. Now it ships the devices of the future before it ever shows them off, leaving its competitors looking like they’re trying too hard.

Anyway, read the article and decide for yourself…

You may also enjoy this “concept” video:

 

 

 

Eyeborg – Seeing farther…

Rob Spence, had his eye replaced with a video camera after a shotgun accident. He then set out to make this incredible documentary about visual and limb prostheses. The concept of direct imaging to the brain and the incorporation of augmented reality has been much flailed over the past 30 years. Spence introduces us to several people who’ve actually had it done. He also engages the viewer in the ethical considerations; whether people will eventually choose to have their eyes and limbs removed and replaced with cyborg parts. Could certainly change the odds in your office NFL betting pool!

Back In The Day – Japan 1990

Based on a mix of US and Japanese technology, this brief news segment shows a vibrant VR c0mmunity in 1990 Japan. There’s gloves and HMDs from VPL, although the LCD displays inside the helmet are from Sony Japan. There’s also a nice augmented reality helmet (built on an actual construction helmet), and a force/tactile feedback system to boot. More than 20 years ago, all the pieces of the VR puzzle were all in place.

Mnemonic’s MRG2.2 Upgrade – Augmented Reality + Kinect

Several months ago I shipped off an MRG2.2 to Mnemonic in the Ukraine. He said he wanted to do a few mods and some experimenting. Little did I know that he would put together a totally sweet augmented reality system, where the view inside the VR helmet combined the real world outside the helmet with computer generated interactive 3D objects. Interaction comes through a gyroscopic head tracker AND a Microsoft Kinect. I’ll let the video and the photos explain further:

and here’s what the modified MRG2.2 looks like from the inside and outside:

The Kinect is enabled through FAAST software from the University of Southern California MxR.

WOW!

State of the Art…Sadly

Over at Meant to be Seen 3D, in answer to a forum post looking for the perfect HMD, board vet, cybereality took the time to respond in depth…

Money quote:

Well, sadly to say it, you will probably be waiting for a long time. There is nothing I know of on the market that fulfills the Virtual Reality fantasy of the 1990’s, and in many ways the stuff they had back then was even more advanced then most of the stuff on the consumer market today. Even if you look at medical/military $20k HMDs, they still don’t even have full HD resolutions or the kind of FOV you would expect in the year 2010 (almost 2011 now). I mean, there have been some interesting research projects in academia, but nothing that could actually play a retail video game out-the-box. At this point I am think about building a DIY HMD myself, and some other members on the forum have already started projects. It just seems that the market is not ready for a consumer level VR device (meaning a headset and any accompanying peripherals). In recent years it seems that Augmented Reality (AR) is gaining popularity and is probably where the industry is headed. So I think a see-through AR-based HMD may have a place in the market in the near future. But the traditional idea of a encompassing display helmet and data-gloves seems to be fading (as much as I’d like it to be real). Hopefully there will continue to be progress in this field.

Read the full post for more…