Combat augmented

The commander stood on the crystallised desert surface watching a column of combat vehicles roll towards him.  When they were a few hundred metres away he stepped out from behind the tree that was shading him from the glare of three suns – directly into the path of the first craft.  The insignia of the enemy was emblazoned across its front.  As the craft rolled closer the commander held his ground.  He took an involuntary draft of breath as the image of the vehicle engulfed him and passed over him.  A second later he removed his augmenting visor – the enemy vehicles disappearing immediately.  “In an hour, this is where they will pass.”  He relayed the result of the simulation to the remnants of the squad surrounding him.  “This is where we attack.”

Canon has announced the imminent release of an augmented reality (mixed reality) product that can be used to overlay a real-time generated 3D view of the environment / objects into the field of vision of the user. See the press article with video here: http://www.canon.com/news/2012/jun18e.html

James.

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Reality fading into view

A pulse of light flashed in her peripheral vision drawing her attention away from the ghost image of the book she was reading.  As she turned her head to follow the pulse the text floating before her faded from sight.  Behind it was revealed the real-world departure board.  She examined the line her reality tracker had picked out – her plane was boarding.  It was time to leave.  She nodded her tracker to idle, picked up her case and headed for the gate.

Google has announced a prototype wearable computer system, Project Glass.  It provides an interactive augmented reality that is delivered by lightweight glasses. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4

James.

The computer on the wall

Sporting a device reminiscent of the shoulder weapon from Predator, a man slowly appoaches a white-washed wall. Suddenly, at the touch of a finger, images and words spread out around his hand, giving him direct access to the previously unseen digital universe.  His gestures and manipulations change that world.  Then, satisifed, he closes his view of the digital world and walks away.

The technology is a demonstration system from Microsoft Research that can use any available surface to act as the interface for user interaction.  See a video and links here: http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/?id=160684

As the technology shrinks and new ways of using the technology advance, expect to see the requirements for a surface dissappear, with the depth sensor working directly on images augmented to the users reality.  Sci-fi tech seeping into the real.

James.

Sci-Fi author Bruce Sterling augments reality with Dead Drop

Mobile devices are starting to cause the digital world to seep through in to the real world.  Initially it was data and markups that started to appear to users of Layar.  Now caches of digital content, including stories from Bruce Sterling are out there – waiting to be found and feverishly consumed.

Bruce’s Dead Drop service is an augmented reality Layar that is available to iPhone, Android and Symbian device owners.  Users get directions to one of the many Dead Drops that have been seeded in to the augmented reality – where they can find a data access point to connected and gain access to the digital content.

More on Dead Drop is available at wired.com:

Augmented reality – Science fiction writer becomes augmented reality developer

Happy hunting.

James.