Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Augmented Reality that You Wear
September 1st, 2016 by Susan Smith
David Smith, CTO, Wearality, a 3D pioneer of VR, AR, and other technologies, spoke at the SPAR 3D Conference in Houston earlier this year, about how his company is dedicated to delivering and creating AR products for consumers and business.
“Think of AR is a superset,” Smith said. “I’ve have seen the evolution of computers from a different perspective. My mentor is Alan Kay, creator of the personal computer. We’re on a threshold of something that is going to empower us in a way none of us can imagine.”
According to Smith, the emergence and innovation of smartphones have been the primary driver of the VR revolution. We are coming close to visual acuity, he said.
He noted iPhone performance has grown with the scale of improvement of the CPU of up through the iPhone 6, with 80x increased performance particularly in GPU.
“There has been a huge dip in PC sales,” said Smith. “While smartphone sales are in the billions, PCs are in the millions. The vast majority of investment in technology is in mobile — low power high performance, trackers, cameras — all things that define VR fall into this category.”
“Mobile VR like Cardboard is the dominant platform, like Cardboard, all designed to be carried with you to some degree, but they are still sort of big. Not too far in the future, each time you get a smartphone, it will have VR.”
Every single part of VR is being improved to make it better in spite of the fact it’s for phones, and it is very high quality and costs nearly nothing.
Everything is great about it except lenses, said Smith, citing that Cardboard has at best a 110 degree view, and light is leaking out, with a very narrow exit pupil, chromatic aberration, out of focus in peripheral vision, and the lenses are heavy. “Unlike the rest of VR technologies that are being taken care of with smartphone technology, there is no advancement in lenses.”
That’s where Wearality comes in with their head wearable displays. New capabilities required by Lockheed Marin customers required new kinds of devices. The Wearality panorama lens creates a very wide field of view (FOV). Existing lenses provide a small FOV (70 degree in Cardboard).
This one is designed for humans to look through. Almost every other lens has been designed off the shelf. You can get a full 180-view with the Wearality lens.
“We can get from 120-180 view with full peripheral vision, can wear eyeglasses with them, we have the widest exit pupil (like with binoculars), very thin lens, and it enables a foldable VR device,” said Smith. “We can deliver a bigger picture than a 100-inch TV or IMAX. This works through your phone.”
There is huge cell phone use in many countries for entertainment, so to have this type of experience on the phone will be a real selling point. This technology is possibly two years away.
“When you buy a mobile device it’s not going in your pocket, it’s going to be something you wear,” said Smith. “It will change the way you think, work and communicate. You’re defined more by how you communicate than anything.”
Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, apps, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, collaboration, construction, reality capture, sustainable design, virtual reality, visualization, wearable devices