Through the looking glass, one subsystem at a time.

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After having my cab get rear-ended on the way to JFK, and sitting on the runway for half an hour in a plane full of crying and whining kids, I’m finally in the air on the way to Orlando for ISMAR. Unfortunately it is sans a mature demo. I wasn’t able to get a built set of my hardware sent to Seac02 in time for them to integrate it. Actually, it’s because I got a bit distracted by my new job, for which I was out at Ames, week before last, assisting with a set of tests in the Vertical Motion Simulator. I know ISMAR is a big deal, but one doesn’t get many chances to play with that kind of hardware.


Anyhow, I tried to use my free time to work on the project, but things just didn’t really come together without being in my lab at home.

So I’m off to ISMAR without my project in the shape that I’d intended, but I’m actually thinking that that’s just as well. What I do have is a press badge, and rather than trying to impress the guys with the big brains with my little DIY VR project, I’m going to try to learn and see as much as I can this week, and blog about it every chance I get.

As always, if you want to hear the latest and greatest news in the field, head over Ori Inbar’s blog at The big news right now is that the private API code for accessing the iPhone camera frame buffer is now being freely distributed, and Ori and company are the ones giving it out!

Starting tomorrow, you might want to begin checking back here daily to find out what I’m seeing at ISMAR, and what I make of it all. And if you’re at the conference, drop me an email if you’re interested in meeting up or have something you want me to see.

And if you want to try your code on an ION-powered netbook, I’ll be driving my VR920 and CamAR with my shiny new HP Mini 311 😉


Written by bzerk

October 18, 2009 at 9:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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A Conversation With Paul Travers of Vuzix

with 6 comments

I just had a very interesting conversation with Paul Travers, CEO of Vuzix.

Paul explained several things to me, including that it was a mistake on their part to keep a name so similar to the AV920 Wrap when creating the Wrap 920. The Wrap product line is distinct from those previously shown, including the AV920 Wrap. There is no denying that the pictures of the Wrap series now posted on the Vuzix website do suggest that, when it is released, it will be far and away the most attractive looking “video eyewear” device to be brought to market. Paul also confirmed that there will be a stereo camera pair, as well as other accessories, for the Wrap series devices. I’ve seen a picture, and I don’t think people will be disappointed with the approach that they’ve taken for attaching cameras to the device.

The most important part of the conversation was that in which Paul assured me that Vuzix will not be abandoning the optically transparent see-through display market, and that we have a great deal to look forward to. He reaffirmed their commitment to the Augmented Reality market, and told me that he was confident that their products would continue to be well ahead of the curve and offer features unheard of at their price point. Confirming what I’d heard from people like Joe Ludwig, Robert Rice and Ori Inbar, he told me that the AV920 Wrap was an imperfect device, and that he thought it better not to release a product that didn’t meet his company’s own high standards, rather than releasing something which he thinks would have let people down. He reiterated that it had been a mistake to keep a name so similar to that of the AV920 Wrap, said that he regretted having left the AV920 Wrap up on their website for as long as they did after having decided not to release it, and also admitted that there should have been more clarification when the Wrap line was re-envisioned as it was. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have been told.

Having had this reassuring conversation with Paul, I can tell you that I still expect to see great things come out of Vuzix (if anything, my expectation are now higher). Though I’m still quite disappointed by having to continue waiting for a true consumer-oriented see-through HMD, and though I do feel a little led-on, I expect that when we do see one from Vuzix, it will far exceed the expectations initially set by the AV920 Wrap prototype shown at the last CES. More than anything, I was reassured by the frankness with which Paul admitted the unintentional mistakes that had been made in handling the separation of the Wrap line from their ongoing optically transparent display research and development. They’ve been at this for a long time, and I’m convinced that Vuzix would never squander their hard-earned credibility by deliberately deceiving their customers.

Written by bzerk

October 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm