Augmented Reality applications are just starting to be available for the consumer. The usual AR “hardware” includes use of a smart phone with its integrated GPS, camera, compass, and tilt-sensing technology. With arm-outstretched, the consumer aims the smart phone and its camera into the immediate space and uses the smartphone screen to view both the camera image of the surroundings as well as accurately placed digital content that is based on the user’s position, direction of view, and set of interests. The phone's display "augments" the camera's usual image and thus delivers today’s Mobile equivalent of “Augmented Reality” (MAR).
Layar.com has been a pioneer in the burgeoning MAR space. The link below provides videos demonstrating various applications with this type of Augmented Reality.
In the video below, the reporter demonstrates a handful of emerging applications. Ken Blakeslee, a recognized mobile applications “futurist”, discusses how video eyewear, attached to the smartphone, would significantly improve usability from the present need to hold and aim the phone while peering into its small display. Ken believes that functional eyewear will accelerate the market for use of AR. He is also asked about the potential for light, comfortable contact lens-based ”AR eyewear” and mentions that designers believe that “it might be 10 or 20 years off”. While this is a common forecast, Innovega has already demonstrated its megapixel lens-enable eyewear and will refine advanced AR platforms with selected strategic partners.
AR gets interesting when the AR image expands to well beyond the 4 inch maximum screen. In the video below, AR is demonstrated to the amazement and glee of its participants on a giant wall-based projection system.
Stylish and compact transparent eyewear featuring panoramic field of view is finally possible with the invention of the iOptikTM eyewear system. In the video below, NOKIA creates a clear view of what the future would hold should a company succeed in delivering the necessary eyewear accessory.
Rich media content is projected onto the transparent lens that is integrated into the eyewear lenses. The iOptik™ system allows the wearer to focus on virtual media while remaining fully involved in their surrounding environment.
The iOptik™ mobile accessory will mark a clear step forward in Augmented Reality and heralds new entertainment and infotainment applications that have, until now, only been “imagined” by film directors and science fiction writers.
In 2011, AR was voted as one of the world’s most interesting – and potentially impactful – new applications.
In the video below, interesting AR applications are displayed on a conventional monitor. Imagine how much more interesting they would be if relayed from comfortable and transparent eyewear.
A quick search of YouTube for Augmented Reality yields reference to some 50,000 videos. We can assume that this number will increase substantially once the demand for AR-styled video eyewear is met. Augmented Reality has the potential to dramatically change how we interact with the Internet and with information in general.
Making high-quality AR accessible in a form factor suitable for wearing in public is a key contribution that Innovega plans to make. Stay tuned for continued news of our progress!