13 March 2015 - I have been an outspoken advocate of Augmented Reality needing to be a Five Senses experience simply because our 'reality' experience involves all five, 24/7. I have been working with a stealth start up in the process of bringing context driven fragrance and scent dispensing into the wearable technology space. More on that sometime soon :-)
As a followup to the Wearable Technology Show this past week, I met with Adrian David Cheok, Professor of Pervasive Computing at City University London and Founder and Director of the Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore.
He introduced me to Scentee, a scent spraying APPessory to iOS and Android Smartphones. A bit large to fit in your pocket, but not bad for a first pass at producing smells on demand or remotely over long distances.
Scentee also is the technology for an Oscar Meyer Bacon campaign that made the technology and an APP called "Wake Up and Smell the Bacon" available to lucky contest winners.
Basically when your alarm on your phone goes off, it makes the sizzling sound and produces a puff of the smell of Bacon to get you interested in actually getting up and cooking some!
This all Caught My Eye and my Olfactories!
It's a start...
More to come! Watch this space!
This was one of the interesting discoveries that caught my eye at the JETCO Japan Pavilion. A Google Glass-like wearable display which could be carried like a pen in the pocket, and then "transformed" into a one-eye display with camera, battery and software on board. On the table was a working Vuzix M100 I suppose to show how the concept model could be used in various applications.
i found the concept interesting for someone who would use Smart Glasses off and on in the course of the day in their profession. Sort of like taking out your glasses to get a clearer, close up look at a situation, but in this case with image capture, remote assistance and relevant information on tap.
A nice concept, but not sure of the useability aspects.
I say, let's just move on quickly to the next phase - normal looking glasses with lenses that augment your vision with relevant info, and do a bit of life blogging and sharing at the same time!
There was an impressive demo at the Fujitsu booth showing how a maintenance engineer could observe and adjust flow rates in pipe and valves and make sure they were operating properly and even make adjustments to controls. Smart Glasses from Vuzix were coupled to a "smart gesture" glove to put the engineer in control of a number of complex operations.
it was quite an impressive demo from the Augmented Reality perspective, but I'm hoping that the technologically impressive, but somewhat cumbersome "glove" will be replaced with hand gestures and voice command recognition in the near future.
DoCoMo had a very effective demo of face recognition at their booth. They were showing how headworn Smart Glasses with both camera and display on board can see, analyse and then display to the user info about the person being looked at. Leads to all kind of questions about privacy, etc. But the state of the technology is well demonstrated by this demo.
It illustrated well the art of the possible in terms of image recognition and the resulting display of relevant information which has many applications and in professional and industrial terms, would be quite empowering especially in situations where the user needs access to info about what he is looking at and needs to operate in a handsfree mode.
The demo was shown using Google Glass which is still in developer only mode ("Explorers") and commercially available Vuzix M100 which is already being deployed in several industrial applications.
Smart Glasses have graduated from the geeky gadgets phase to business enhancing use cases. The top three Smart Glasses in terms of commercial availability were present on many booths at MWC being used to show off real money making or saving applications.
What caught my eye was the showing of workplace enhancing applications by many of the large corporations using Smart Glasses in real industrial and professional applications. Smart Glasses from the three Smart Glasses leaders, Google, Vuzix and Epson were on show demoing specific industrial applications such as warhousing operations, field repair, flow control, face recognition, security, and others. Often these were shown interchangeably with a single application being shown most often on Google Glass and Vuzix M100.
Vuzix devices were shown exclusively on the Fujitsu, BarcodEye and Brilliant Services booths.
SAP and DoCoMo were showing Applications on Google Glass and Vuzix M100 all three were used with various Augmented Reality applications on the Wikitude and Metaio booths.
quite an advancement from last year where only prototype devices were on show.
Evidence of the Augmented Reality and Smart Glasses ecosystem forming for end to end solutions took major steps forward at MWC.
Firstly, Layar, Metaio and Wikitude, the largest AR platform providers, have cooperated to make it easy for AR content to be shared across their technology platforms. There was a demonstration of AR content being used interchangeably by these browsers at an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) event at the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya (ICC) during the Mobile World Congress. This will greatly expand the scope of content creators and application developers to apply their innovations across multiple platforms.
Secondly, was the joint announcement of AR software platform company Wikitude and Vuzix of an alliance to offer SDK and APIs for Wikitude licensees to develop AR applications directly on the Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses device. This follows a similar alliance announcement made previously between Vuzix and Metaio.
InvenSense sensors and analysis software are in just about everything that moves in the mobile sector (I was told). Very accurate sound and motion sensing devices such as MEMS microphones and multi-axis motion tracking devices. Depending on application, InvenSense offers one to nine axis devices which include gyros, accelerometers and compass functions. These are their bread and butter, but of special note are their analysis software capabilities which make sense out of what is happening to turn raw data into situation and context terms. I spoke at length with Tanja Hofner, their Sr. Director of Hardware Applications and learned a lot about the art of the possible with sensors and why most simple step counters and other sensors being used in wearable products just don't deliver the value without proper in-context analysis and of course the UI to produce a genuinely valuable user experience.
if it's temperature and humidity that is needed, than another sensor company at MWC, Sensirion caught my eye as experts in this area. The tiny speck of s sensor pointed out in the picture is all it takes to add those parameters to the context needed to figure out what is going on. This wonderfully scientific and geeky looking sample they gave me adds battery and display to their tiny sensor to make it useful. Since your mobile phone and most wearable devices already have these, all you need is the sensor.
Very encouraging advances on show at CES 2014 from three further candidate Smart Glasses display technologies.
GlassUp – Projection on coated lens, currently Monochrome
Optinvent – Another approach to see-through lenses that has lots of promise.
Innovega iOptik – Uses special contact lenses to produce very wide FoV see-through experience and potential to address some near eye focus challenges.
As with Lumus, these are display technologies with potential, but not full featured applications development platforms like Google Glass, Vuzix M100 and Epson BT200.
LUMUS has been working on core display technology for some time now and year on year, seems to produce better, brighter displays and this year at CES didn’t disappoint. The display is rich in colour yet lens is reasonably see through. LUMUS is producing the lens technology and as far as I could tell, not yet a full packaged product with OS, SDK, sensors, applications, etc.
They state that a one-eye solution is most viable and are targeting military and high end industrial manufacturers and VARS to produce the final product.
Shown are their prototype implementation of the display technology, and monocular packaging.
Probably not a product for broad applications for a while, but the display technology did catch my eye.
Epson brought to CES 2014 their next generation product with several industrial and professional applications examples being shown by partners and software developers on their booth. Like Vuzix, their open OS for development is Android, so existing platforms and applications can be run directly with only slight modification. Their Smart Glasses do this via a separate tethered control box and battery, so not as totally self contained and wearable as the M100, but in the industrial applications they are addressing, this is probably acceptable. The important aspect to note is that in both the Vuzix and Epson cases, SDK and APIs that enable a standard Android OS are the core offering. Expect a proliferation of Apps to appear based on valuable use cases.
Very encouraging again to see not just technology, but valuable applications such as medical, maintenance, gaming, etc. with fairly simple to use UI’s On show from this company.