What's new in the world of augmented reality? Augmented Google Maps, eye tracking and machine learning speed up design projects and Hololens news all around!
Startup Asteroid is in pursuit of the next evolution of user input in AR. Combining eye tracking and AR/VR, they have developed an affordable starter kit for making human-machine interfaces. 3D interfaces require both technical as well as creative abilities making many projects complicated and time-consuming so developing an way to communicate to the computer without clicking and typing will drastically speed up any design project.
The kit connects to your computer via bluetooth and can analyse sensor data in real-time. This means users can upload more information to the computer than they would by clicking, meaning that 3D project that previously would have taken hours can be done in mere minutes. The eye tracking can see what you are focusing on and with eye fixation choose objects or actions for you.
Quote from Asteroids CEO Saku Panditharatne: “What's interesting about emerging human-machine interface tech is the hope that the user may be able to 'upload' as much as they can 'download' today," said Panditharatne. "The most promising application is in augmented creativity — where the user works with a computer to design something new."
A new wave of navigation apps is upon us with apps learning to use your camera to locate where you are and give better directions than any GPS so far. By combining this with AR directions overlaying the real world, apps can give you a more precise picture of where you need to go. Google Maps being the map app of all map apps, announced an AR walking feature last May and has now released an early version of the feature for a select few.
GPS tells Google Maps where you are roughly located, then the app tries to match what the camera sees with Street View data. Although the feature is not to be used while driving, those who have tested it thought of it best used when first arriving somewhere, like for instance when exiting the metro in a new neighbourhood. AR navigation will eventually not only lead us to our chosen point of destination, but also pin-point shops and services along the way. No set release date ahead, which means this feature won’t be available for us all just yet, but it does bring promise for the ways in which augmented reality can make everyday life that much easier.
Before the end of this month we will see Microsoft release Hololens 2. Many have speculated on both its upcoming features as well as its appearance, but a newly published Microsoft patent implies the look would be a lot closer to smart glasses than AR headset. Device size having been one of the biggest hurdles for its consumer adaption, shrinking it to the likes of Magic Leap or newcomers like Vuzix or Nreal’s glasses, along with other rumoured features, might just give Hololens the edge it needs.
In other Hololens news, Microsoft technology partner Medivis has raised 2.3 million in funding for its surgical platform. The SurgicalAR software used in Hololens, maps precise medical imaging onto patients and relaying data visually. It also gives surgeons through gesture recognition and voice commends a way to access and browse data hands free. Hololens has not only been used by surgeons but also in medical training and the headset has also been used to calm young patients ahead of stressful procedures. With the launch of the new headset, Hololens seems to have a lot more applications ahead of it.
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