Virtual Images that Blend In And Interact With The Real-World

Avegant, a Silicon Valley startup that sells a pair of headphones equipped with a VR-like portable screen, is breaking into augmented reality. The company today announced that it’s developed a new type of headset technology powered by a so-called light field display.


The research prototype, which Avegant eventually plans on turning into a consumer product, is based on the company’s previous work with its Glyph projector. That device was a visor of sorts that floats a virtual movie screen in front of your eyes, and developing it gave Avegant insight into how to build an AR headset of its own.

Like Microsoft’s HoloLens and the supposed prototype from secretive AR startup Magic Leap, Avegant’s new headset creates virtual images that blend in and interact with the real-world environment. In a demo, the company’s wired prototype proved to be superior in key ways to the developer version of the HoloLens. Avegant attributes this not to the power of its tethered PC, but to the device’s light field display — a technology Magic Leap also claims to have developed, yet has never been shown off to the public.

The demo I experienced featured a tour of a virtual Solar System, an immersion within an ocean environment, and a conversation with a virtual life-sized human being standing in the same room. To be fair, Avegant was using a tethered and bulky headset that wasn’t all that comfortable, while the HoloLens developer version is a refined wireless device. Yet with that said, Avegant’s prototype managed to expand the field of view, so you’re looking through a window more the size of a Moleskine notebook instead of a pack of playing cards. The images it produced also felt sharper, richer, and more realistic.

In the Solar System demo, I was able to observe a satellite orbiting an Earth no larger than a bocce ball and identify the Big Red Spot on Jupiter. Avegant constructed its demo to show off how these objects could exist at different focal lengths in a fixed environment — in this case a converted conference room at the company’s Belmont, California office. So I was able to stand behind the Sun and squint until the star went out of focus in one corner of my vision and a virtual Saturn and its rings became crystal clear in the distance.


Artificial Intelligence Writes Code By Looting

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taught itself to create its own encryption and produced its own universal ‘language. Now it’s writing its own code using similar techniques to humans. A neural network, called DeepCoder, developed by Microsoft and University of Cambridge computer scientists, has learnt how to write programs without a prior knowledge of code.  DeepCoder solved basic challenges of the kind set by programming competitions. This kind of approach could make it much easier for people to build simple programs without knowing how to write code.

deep coder

All of a sudden people could be so much more productive,” says Armando Solar-Lezama at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the work. “They could build systems that it [would be] impossible to build before.”

Ultimately, the approach could allow non-coders to simply describe an idea for a program and let the system build it, says Marc Brockschmidt, one of DeepCoder’s creators at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. UK.DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis: creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software – just like a programmer might. Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.


Super Powerful 3D Nano-Camera For 500$

A $500 nano-camera” that can operate at the speed of light has been developed by researchers in the MIT Media Lab. The three-dimensional camera, which was presented last week at Siggraph Asia in Hong Kong, could be used in medical imaging and collision-avoidance detectors for cars, and to improve the accuracy of motion tracking and gesture-recognition devices used in interactive gaming.

The camera is based on “Time of Flight” technology like that used in Microsoft’s recently launched second-generation Kinect device, in which the location of objects is calculated by how long it takes a light signal to reflect off a surface and return to the sensor. However, unlike existing devices based on this technology, the new camera is not fooled by rain, fog, or even translucent objects, says co-author Achuta Kadambi, a graduate student at MIT.

MIT students Ayush Bhandari, Refael Whyte and Achuta Kadambi have designed a “nano-camera” that can capture translucent objects, such as a glass vase, in 3-D

Using the current state of the art, such as the new Kinect, you cannot capture translucent objects in 3-D,” Kadambi says. “That is because the light that bounces off the transparent object and the background smear into one pixel on the camera. Using our technique you can generate 3-D models of translucent or near-transparent objects.”


Electrical Circuits Printed In 60 Seconds For 300$

Researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft Research have developed a novel method to rapidly and cheaply make electrical circuits by printing them with commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials. For about $300 in equipment costs, anyone can produce working electrical circuits in the 60 seconds it takes to print them. To make the technique possible, researchers optimized commercially available tools and materials including printers, adhesive tape and the silver ink. Designing the circuit itself was accomplished with desktop drawing software, and even a photocopy of a drawing can produce a working circuit.

printedcircuitsThere is an opportunity to introduce a new approach to the rapid prototyping of fully custom-printed circuits,” said Gregory Abowd, Regents’ Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech and an investigator in the study. “Unlike existing methods for printing conductive patterns, conductivity in our technique emerges within a few seconds and without the need for special equipment.”
Everything we introduced in our research is available in the market and makes it possible for people to try this at home,” said Yoshihiro Kawahara, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and the primary investigator who developed the methodology while in Atlanta. “The method can be used to print circuit boards, sensors and antennas with little cost, and it opens up many new opportunities.”

Futuristic Vision Of Fashion

In the September issue of Vogue, the magazine for rich and beautiful people, 12 pages are dedicated to Google glass, the high-tech spectacles. This article titled “The Final Frontier” offers “a futuristic vision of fashion,” and free advertising for Google.
Vogue September 2013
In the first pages model Raquel Zimmermann wears a pair of the charcoal -colored $1,500 glasses

The features of the glass are impressive and located in the right earpiece attached to the frame: a nanocomputer with memory and a processor, a camera, speaker and microphone, Bluetooth and wi-fi antennas, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a battery. All inside the earpiece. Of course the final objective is that eventually, Glass will have a cellular radio, with online capabilities; hooked up wirelessly with your phone for an online connection.

The Google glass is catching eyes in the fashion world. At last year’s New York Fashion week in September, models at the Diane von Furstenberg event walked the catwalk with the glasses on.
They are many different companies around the world competing with Google to produce similar glasses. Let’s mention the US companies Microsoft and Apple. We label these devices with the generic appellation quantglass as each one has a very different mark.


Google’s vision of augmented reality

If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,” don’t worry. It’s probably just a Google employee testing the company’s new augmented-reality glassesGoogle company is the last to declare its interest for augmented reality. Apple with its nanocomputer iLens one year ago, Microsoft lately, and the American Army (DARPA) secretely, have been  working hard in this specific research field. In a a post shared on Google Plus, employees in the Google company laboratory known as Google X, including Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun, asked people for input about the prototype of Project Glass

Click to enjoy the video demonstration.

 We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input,” the three employees wrote. “Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?”


See more on DARPA, Apple and Microsoft projects: