Google’s augmented reality glasses bring the future into focus

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 4th, 2012

Those of you who aren’t so content with present tech and are longing for the kind you see in the movies, your time has arrived. Today Google leaked information regarding a super secret and highly advanced technology they’ve been working on for quite some time. It’s a pair of augmented reality glasses and the initiative is called Project Glass. Here’s how the search giant made the announcement:

We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t. 

A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.

In essence, this wearable device might be intended to replace the bulky brick in your pocket, your cell phone. It does everything your phone can do but in a more natural (read: human) manner. Reminiscent of a heads-up display you’d find in a first-person shooter video game, the glasses feature a small lens that projects text, images, video, and sound in the space in front of your eyes. The software that’s implemented inside the device allows users to be alerted notifications like text messages and email and respond to these things with simple verbal cues and head gestures. Google Maps is built into the unit, naturally, so planning a route and following it becomes second nature when the precise directions are displayed right in front of you. Though exact specifications have yet to be released, it is confirmed that the smart spectacles feature a built-in camera for snapping photos, shooting video, and initiating video chat. Imagine you’re walking down the street and you see something that catches your eye; speak “take a photo of this” and the camera will snap. Want to share the image with your friends? Say “share it to my Circles” and it’ll be instantly uploaded to your Google+ account. The possibilities are endless, really. And the potential is grand.

You must be thinking something like this is great and all but does Google actually have plans to release this to the general public. Yes, they do. Now go pick up your brains that are scattered on the wall and continue reading… Project Glass is currently in beta mode (er, alpha mode really). Google is testing the prototype device in the field, sending company employees out into the wild wearing these nerdy bad boys to see how they handle real world conditions. Besides making techies around the globe foam at the mouth, Google’s intent with today’s reveal is this: “We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?” In other words, they want your input! The conversation is taking place at the Project Glass Google+ page.

Now that you’re informed, here’s what you can do. Take a look at the glasses in the gallery below, bearing in mind that these are strictly prototypes and a final product will almost certainly come appearing differently. Then jump after the break to watch a two-and-a-half minute video showing off Google’s vision of how augmented reality glasses could make us more efficient beings. Rumors are flying that the wearable device in its final form will come complete with 4G data capability for always-on Internet functionality with a price tag looming anywhere between $250 and $600 when it comes out later this year. But forget the speculation for now; feast on the video below and shiver in anticipation for more information to leak out surrounding Google’s latest concoction.

[Via Google+; NYT 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Mii sprouts to life on man’s arm…but how?

Posted in Image cache,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 8th, 2011

Wow neat is this? A man known only by his Internet handle “cranberryzero” has integrated an augmented reality experience into his arm! If you’ve purchased Nintendo latest handheld the 3DS, you’d know that the system comes bundled with a pack of AR Cards. When you point the 3DS’ outer cameras at the cards an augmented reality game or a bunch of classic Nintendo characters come to life. Here, cranberryzero apparently walked into a tattoo parlor and came out with one of the AR Cards imprinted on his wrist. Now when he points his 3DS at his arm his personalized Mii grows out of it. A little bizarre, but still super cool right? Head over to the source link to watch a video of the magic in action.

[Via IHeartChaos]

Augmented reality-based instant translation? There’s an app for that.

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 20th, 2010

This has to be the coolest app made for the iPhone yet.  Word Lens uses augmented reality to instantly translate printed words from one language to another.  It’s simple: Hold up your phone’s camera to a sign containing foreign words and the app will convert it to your native tongue on-the-fly.  This terse explanation doesn’t do the app justice; you’ve gotta watch the demonstration above to get the full effect.

An app so powerful has to have limits, right?  Word Lens only supports Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish translation for now and it cannot read very stylized fonts, handwriting, or cursive.  The demonstration shows the app working quite flawlessly; realistically there will be times when conversions are not 100% accurate so the developer (Quest Visual) allows users to manually type in words to find translations.  But here’s a plus: the app does not rely on network or Internet connectivity to make translations happen.

Word Lens is available now as a free download in the App Store; however you must pay $4.99 for an in-app purchase language pack to get things started.  It’s compatible with iPhone 4, 3GS, and the latest gen iPod touch.

AR-Tee brings augmented reality magic to your chest

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 13th, 2010

The concept is simple, really.  You’ve seen it before.  With the AR-Tee, designed by Sebastian Merchel, you can watch content inside that TV graphic thanks to the trick of augmented reality.  Printed inside the TV graphic is a custom-made QR code that gets read by your webcam.  When you hold up the t-shirt to your webcam you’ll see some old cartoons play on your computer screen.  It may not blow your mind, but it should make you the life of a party.  Look after the break to watch the magic happen.  Click here to find the AR-Tee in your size.

[Via Engadget] (Click here for more…)

Tagged with: , ,

The world’s heath & wealth over 200 years get spectacularly visualized

Posted in Education,Video by Scott Meisner on November 30th, 2010

Using highly effective visuals in augmented reality animation, BBC’s Hans Rosling tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers, in just four minutes.  More specifically, he plots life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, and the visually splendid data reveals interesting rises and drops in correspondence to major historical events such as world wars.  Go on mash play and educate yourself.

[Via Gawker]

Future Rock Band

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 5th, 2010

Freddie Wong is back with another out-of-this-world video.  This time a futuristic version of Rock Band takes centerstage.  Augmented reality meets rhythm gaming!  Me likey a lot.

[Via Gizmodo]

LuminAR robot combines projector & camera for gesture-based interactivity, in a lamp

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on June 12th, 2010

LuminAR, created by Natan Linder and Pattie Maes at MIT, combines a Pico-projector and camera inside a lamp-shaped robotic device to augment reality by beaming computational images onto a surface.  While the projector is there to display information and content from the Internet, the camera enables user-defined gestures.  Theoretically the LuminAR can be “screwed into standard light fixtures everywhere” meaning you might find such technology in a household lamp sometime in the (likely distant) future.  Watch Linder demo it in the video above.  Very Tony Stark/JARVIS-like, am I right?

[Via Engadget; YouTube]

Music video: Diane Birch – “Valentino” (Super cool augmented reality!)

Posted in Music,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 23rd, 2010

Watch this music video for Diane Birch’s catchy tune “Valenino,” a single off her debut album Bible Belt.  It features some old-school augmented reality tricks.  It all looks easy at first glance, but there is much choreography that had to be memorized and performed to perfection in order to pull everything off.  Just look after the break for a behind-the-scenes video that reveals all the magic and see what I mean.

[Via Gizmodo]

(Click here for more…)

If the future of video gaming is augmented reality, count me in!

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 16th, 2010

Imagine a future where video games transition from the TV and PC to your physical surrounds via a virtual reality headset with goggles.  Pretty wild.  (And FYI–this is not a concept video for true implementation; it’s actually from a fictional Israeli TV show.  Nonetheless, who knows what the future holds.)

[Via NowhereElse; Gizmodo]

Our future, augmented reality’d

Posted in Design,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 10th, 2010

Designer Keiichi Matsudafor, who is about to receive his Masters in Architecture, shares his vision of a future that includes virtual overlays that may one day help us with everyday tasks.

The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.

Scary, is it not?

[Via Likecool; Vimeo]

Augment your reality: T-shirt edition

Posted in Fashion,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 26th, 2010

T-Post, a monthly magazine that packs a t-shirt with every issue, celebrates their 51st issue with an interactive tee that plays the classic game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with you.  How does it work?  With the aid of augmented reality tech, of course.  All you have to do is put on the shirt, sit in front of a webcam, run T-Post’s webapp, and watch as a spooky hand flies out of the screen waiting to repeatedly play Rock-Paper-Scissors with you.  See it in action for yourself in the video above.

[Via Core 77; Gizmodo]

Kid Cudi wants you to augment your reality

Posted in Music,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 28th, 2009

Bored?  Got nothing else better to do?  Have (a little) fun with this quick activity that involves your webcam and a piece of paper with a QR code on it.  First click here to view and print the special marker.  Then click here and scroll down to find a box that prompts you to allow access to your webcam.  Then hold up the printed market to the camera and let the fun begin!  Need help setting up?  Watch the video above as a guide to getting started.

[Via DatNewCudi]

“Virtual Magician” augments reality with magic

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 6th, 2009

The Tempest  “Magic Projection” uses a laptop, a projector, a PS3 Eye Toy, LED tracking markers, and propriety software to create magic and illusions like you’ve never seen before.

Like what you see?  Head over to the magician’s website to see what else he has up his digital sleeve.

[Via Gizmodo]

Address label finds fault with Esquire’s ‘magic’ issue

Posted in Images,Print Media,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 17th, 2009

Yeah so remember when I posted about Esquire’s attempt to re-energize the zine industry with the inclusion of augmented reality tricks hidden within its latest issue?  Well look what we have here.  In order to augment your reality (ie. see Downey Jr. jump around on the page) you need to point a special-coded marker to your computer’s webcam.  It looks like customers are receiving the issue with the address label covering the marker on the cover page!  WTF, indeed.

Esquire has commented on the matter.  And that can be read after the break if you so choose to do so.

[Via Gawker] (Click here for more…)

Augmented reality front and center in Esquire’s December issue

Posted in Print Media,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 12th, 2009

Augmented reality in magazines works like this:  You take the magazine, find special (black and white) coded markings, hold said markings up to your computer’s webcam, and voila–you can now interact with your magazine.  In this case, it involves being greeted by Academy Award winner (and brilliant actor) Robert Downey Jr., told jokes by Community’s Gillian Jacobs, and by rotating the magazine in various ways you can change the surrounding environment and clothes worn by actor Jeremy Renner.  Gimmicky, yes, but neat stuff nonetheless.  Will augmented reality tricks save the zine industry?  That’s a debated topic that shall be saved to discuss another day.  This issue of Esquire is on newsstands now.

[Via Engadget]