What's new in the world of augmented reality? This week a steady batch of AR glass advances kept coming in along with a big advance in mid-hair haptics, we selected the best ones for you.
Nreal as secured funding to make their smart glasses all the more powerful and immersive. The glasses, first unveiled at CES 2019, have excellent display quality and are very lightweight, similar to regular spectacles. They have a 52-degree field of view and high def resolution and can be worn for hours at a time, thanks to their non-bulky feel, as well as foldable temples, a never-before-seen in Mixed Reality headsets. The funding will go to research and development of the glasses, with shipping planned for the third quarter of 2019.
Our next news from the headset game comes from Qualcomm announcing their 5G powered “XR viewers”, another step closer to making AR glasses go mainstream. A headset that doesn’t stuff small computers in them, instead it connects to your smartphone which does all the processing. Albeit it connects with a USB-C cable, it is nothing nearly as bulky as most things out there for consumers at the moment. The glasses themselves come with integrated cameras with gesture tracking.
The evolution of haptics is making headway with Levitate, an initiative aiming to make it possible to physically touch and interact with virtual objects, either on a display in front of you or objects encountered while wearing a VR headset.
The tech is based on the use of ultrasound, creating acoustic forces capable of lifting small particles and applying tactile pressure you can feel with your hands, along with directional sounds. This in combination with current and future AR glasses will allow us to fully interact with the digital world we are creating.
Another advance for AR headset is being developed by Korea-based startup LetinAR. Their “pin mirror” optical tech will bring sharper image quality, a large range of focal depth and a field of view (FOV) rivalling many big players in the industry that instead use waveguide-based optics. Their concept of their tech “PinMR”, is similar to pinhole camera photography, which creates images with a near-infinite depth of field making everything appear in focus by limiting the amount of light to a small concentrated beam.Those who have tried it out also says it has its downsides and it only being tech and no headset, we have to wait and see it implemented in other than demos. LetinAR currently has plans of supplying engineering samples, but for the rest we have to hold our horses.
To round off this AR glass infused news week, a rumour surrounding Apple’s future AR glasses has emerged with a patent filed by Apple and granted recently. The patent describes a “method for representing points of interest in a view of real environment on a mobile device”. There was no mention of Apple glasses in the patent but the patent does describe the device as “head-mounted display”. Basically this is a patent for overlaying computer-generated virtual information on top of the real-world and the device being able to tell them apart and combine them, like buildings and where they are located. With the release of Apple’s AR glasses still rumoured to be either 2020 or 2021, this patent filed back in 2017, gives us another glimpse of what Apple might just have in store for us.
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