Through the looking glass, one subsystem at a time.

This guy gets it.

with 12 comments

Realtà Aumentata – Augmented Reality from soryn on Vimeo.

This short, by Sorin Voicu (of Sapienza University of Rome), may rival Iron Man for best personal HUD in special effects… though there is another Terminator movie coming up. Hmmm… actually, it isn’t so much the HUD. It’s the totality of the vision depicted. The universality of the applicability of the technology! [sic]

Easily one of the most superb speculative depictions of visual AR that I’ve seen. Still not much physical interaction beyond button pressing. I think that a lot of my reaction to it is from the quality of his production. Also, follow the link to the sfx reel accompanying this for a great montage, with successive layers of filtering and compositing being added for each of the shots from the short.



Written by bzerk

February 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Hello Noah,
    thats what I am thinking on, too. The video looks very good. I found one based on Adroid: Are the Lumux optical see through goggles just a good idea or will there be any products in the near future ?
    I have seen at DIY DRONES that you are going to open a project asap. Please keep me informed.



    March 8, 2009 at 8:21 am

    • Honestly, I can’t tell you for sure. Lumus claims to be entering the consumer electronics market, but I haven’t been in touch with them directly to find out. I posted a link to a video of them in action in another entry. The Vuzix AV920 Wrap is slated for release towards the end of this summer, I believe. That product, however, despite the outward-facing lens-like exterior, is still just a pair of video goggles. They claim it to be a “see-thru” HMD by virtue of the stereoscopic camera accessory which they’ll be offering. I find it a little deceptive, honestly. Vuzix is ahead in that they have a high-quality stereoscopic consumer HMD product with an integrated IMU on the market, but they have yet to demonstrate anything like waveguide optics, mentioned in military HUD research, or Lumus Optical’s “Light-guide Optical Element”. I can’t help but think that Vuzix will only remain relevant by focusing on the IMU and embedded camera features of their HMDs, with an eye towards licensing or partnerships once true OEM see-through HMD parts are available.

      And yup. I’m just trying to finish some prototype board designs, get the code cleaned up, and resolve some minor issues with my parsing logic. It shouldn’t be too long before I’ve got something in which it’s worth involving the broader community. Now let’s see if I can make my productivity match my optimism 😉


      March 8, 2009 at 11:24 am

  2. The Vuzix 920AV looks great but I agree it’s not real optical see through and the IMU is just an attitude reference system. Do you have any experience with real IMU 6DoF (magnetic compass, gyros and accelerators), uC and ext. Kalman filters, that kind of stuff frequently used for quadcopters and UAVs. ?

    …one more question, are there any tools or frameworks to create opaque background like the ones at In all operating systems I know there is no transperenty property for the background.


    Bernd Schneider

    March 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm

  3. I wish I did. Honestly, my linear algebra leaves a lot to be desired. I do have experience with all three of those sensor types, but I have yet to implement a proper Kalman filter. I have, of course, read Jordi’s Kalman code from DIYDrones on several occasions, along with the tutorial he initially pointed to (the author’s name escapes me). I’m just not quite there yet, and have just been using band-pass and averaging filters to cheat. Kalman filtering is obviously an ultimate necessity. That’s something on which I’ll probably be looking for a little help. I’m embarrassed (and kinda sad) to say that Jacobians and quaternians and the like generally end up giving me a headache.

    And the only µC I’ve used to any significant degree is the Arduino, though I’ve used it pretty extensively in a number of different capacities in the past year or so. Great platform.

    And I’ve been thinking about the transparency thing. If a HUD is using either an LCD or scanning-laser micro-display engine, will it be able to paint black? Wouldn’t blocking the light source simply allow light through from outside? Maybe a controllably adaptive opacity layer (like one big LCD cell, or monochrome LCD matrix, maybe?) on the outside of the lens could be used for viewing media requiring a black background. I don’t know.

    And as far as real IMUs go, I see the combination of Invensense products and the HMC6343 as an indicator that we can expect real, single-package SMD IMUs in the near future. The Kalman filtering may even be implementable internally by a variation on the HMC6343’s PIC core. Something like that would bust things wide open.


    March 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

  4. I don’t know if this is indicative of how little there really is out there in terms of relevant media, but I used that very Microvision image in one of my Ignite slides 🙂


    March 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm

  5. Black for the background will be the best for nothing (transparent).

    Do you work on concrete application/solution/system yet or is this blog the init of a great idea collection ?

    I am sure that the big once like apple, google, microsoft, … are still on there way to the next generation devices but the time isn’t ripe to flood the markets. It looks like a piece of the puzzle is missing, maybe a hardware piece.


    March 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    • Maybe a hardware piece, indeed 🙂

      Mostly ideas, but yeah, I’ve got a couple thousand lines of code (which could be refined down to much less, I’m sure), some interesting hand-assembled hardware, and a patent pending. So yes, a fair bit of this does exist outside of my head.


      March 16, 2009 at 6:15 am

  6. LOL… was just rethinking “a fair bit”. I have an interface, and then a VERY rudimentary 3D engine just for testing the interface. Otherwise, I don’t have much, but I’m working on that. Stuff takes time though. Kinda why I’m gonna’ open it up. Just want to get a good kit design ready first, so I’ve got something to sell when I drop it on youTube or Vimeo. Also, my code is pretty much uncommented and a mess… but it’s Processing, so how bad could it be?


    March 18, 2009 at 11:22 pm

  7. I’ve had hands-on experience with the new vuzix eyewear. They are indeed transparent lenses, not drop down monitors or LCDs. The lenses are dark for better contrast and to look more like sunglasses.

    Displays from other companies are largely vaporwear (hah) or still early prototype. I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    The wearable display sector needs to get off its collective ass and catch up with the rest of the world. I want lightweight, wearable, transparent, high resolution displays NOW.

    Robert Rice

    March 19, 2009 at 2:11 pm

  8. Amen, brother! May I ask in what context you got to experience using the AV920 Wraps in person? If what you say is true, it is very exciting indeed. Vuzix, however, has failed to state this explicitly on their website or product sheets, and the only image I could find (which I used in my Ignite talk) of the AV920 Wrap viewed from the back of the lenses, seemed to confirm the foundation of my skepticism. The image is in the local news report to which they link in the media section of their site.

    I believe in the existence of the Lumus glasses only because of the clip to which I linked in another post (“Good Reading”).

    But again, if what you say is true, it is very very exciting. I’m a native and life-long New Yorker, and my economic allegiances are planted squarely here. I’ll give the folks at Vuzix a call tomorrow and see if I can’t get a straight and definitive answer to confirm your claim. You may have just made my night, and it was going pretty damn well to begin with 😉

    And congrats on the new Neogence Site. Looks like we’re on the same wavelength. We should talk one of these days. Actually, it would be really nice to get Ori and a bunch of us in one room for an afternoon, trade NDAs (if necessary), and do some show-and-tell.


    March 20, 2009 at 12:19 am

  9. I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I missed your reply here.

    The context was: I flew to CES in Vegas at the invitation of the Vuzix CEO, Paul Travers, for a first hand (hands-on) demo, and some other stuff. That is the only reason I went to CES this year.

    Now, having said that, I’d like to note that I’m very critical of almost everyone and everything (see blog), and Vuzix certainly has a long way to go. But the new stuff they showed at CES was indeed, transparent. No where near perfect, but absolutely a proof of concept.


    Robert Rice

    March 26, 2009 at 7:25 am

  10. I love this blog, please keep it coming 🙂


    Jordan Snyder

    September 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm

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