Vuzix have announced [pdf link] an augmented-reality (AR) add-on kit for their Vuzix VR920 video headset, developed in collaboration with AR specialists metaio. The system will initially be demonstrated with a 3D animated book, that has computer-generated characters, but Vuzix believe it has potential applications in gaming, education and travel.
The AR Accessory Kit comprises two main components. Firstly there’s the CamAR, a USB camera that mounts to the standard Vuzix VR920 video headset; secondly, the PhasAR is a wireless input controller, designed to recognize movements with six-degrees of freedom. In that way it can be used to act as both a 2D mouse and a 3D virtual paint-brush.
The CamAR is used to track objects and the user’s position relative to them, giving a view of the real-world displayed through the VR920 headset that 3D graphics over overlaid onto. There’s no word on when the AR kit might see a commercial launch.
Vuzix to introduce the World’s First Consumer Augmented Reality Video Eyewear at 2009 Game Developers Conference
See this groundbreaking technology at the Moscone Center, Booth Number 6420 NH, on March 23rd – 27th, 2009 in San Francisco, CA
Rochester, NY – March 25, 2009 – Vuzix Corporation, the leader in video eyewear for the mainstream consumer, defense and low vision markets, will showcase a game-changing Augmented Reality Accessory Kit for the popular VR920 Virtual Reality Video Eyewear. Partnering with metaio, Inc., a world leader in augmented reality software solutions, Vuzix will demonstrate at the 2009 GDC how a simple printed page can be brought to life with 3-D animated characters that literally pop out of the book. Additionally, be prepared to experience the thrill of a fantasy tale coming to life with a fire breathing dragon flying overhead.
Vuzix AR Accessory Kit consists of two main features:
• CamAR™, a clip-on USB camera that mounts onto a pair of Vuzix Video Eyewear. The CamAR™ not only allows the user to see through to the real world but is also designed to accurately track objects and the user’s position in 3-dimensional space.
• PhasAR™, a wireless augmented reality input controller is designed to be used in unison with the CamAR™. The PhasAR™ allows users to interact with virtual, mixed and augmented reality worlds with a revolutionary 6 degree of freedom tracking system that lets the computer know exactly where the user is touching in the virtual and real worlds. Depending on the application, the PhasAR™ can become anything from a powerful virtual magic wand to a 3-D virtual paint brush. The PhasAR™ enables powerful 2-D like mouse support in order to effortlessly control virtual objects in 3-D space.
Together, these new devices allow the user to perceive and interact with the real world in ways they have never dreamed of before.
“This capability, known as Augmented Reality (AR), will open up new applications in the gaming, education and business sectors,” said Vuzix CEO, Paul Travers. “The applications for gaming and education will range from books that come alive to interactive worlds with 3-D characters that materialize right before your eyes.” “You have to ask yourself,” said Travers, “why play video games on your flat panel when it can be brought right into your living room?”