Meet ‘AR Walker’: the first usable lightweight Augmented Reality spectacles.October 8, 2010
We’ve been playing around with a lot of AR gadgets lately. From the latest smartphones such as the Nokia N8, to brand new tablets that haven’t hit the market yet. BUT… this new AR Walker headset is now the number one on our hitlist! The headset, created by Olympus and phone-maker NTT Docomo, uses augmented reality software on an attached phone.
A virtual tour of Kyoto was used as the first demonstration of the technology.
While AR glasses are nothing new, these are among the first to add a miniature projecting display without too causing much encumbrance to the wearer.
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The retinal display projects text and images directly into the user’s peripheral vision, allowing the wearer to maintain eye contact with whatever they are observing normally.
As the glasses are attached to a smartphone with AR software, an acceleration sensor and a direction sensor, the AR Walker knows approximately what you are looking at and provides augmented information relevant to where you may be.
In the mock-up shown off at Japan’s annual tech show Ceatec, a virtual Kyoto cityscape was created where a character, not unlike Window’s animated paperclip, pops up to guide a person around the city; introducing temples, restaurants and shops as a tourist moves around.
The display can also be used to give directions with arrows and if a person lifts their head up to the sky a weather forecast is automatically protected into their peripheral vision.
Tokyo-based technology analyst Steven Nagata praised the “cool” and light good looks of AV Walker but said he felt the technology needed refinement.
“The promise of a walking, heads up display that would be able to provide important and relevant information about your environment with minimal interaction is the holy grail of mobile technology,” he said.
“And while the Docomo demo was more circus side-show than cutting edge technology, it may help inspire real innovation in the future.” According to the developers a release date for the AR glasses has yet to be determined…