A look into the future of glass

A multitouch screen

A multitouch screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year ago, Corning shared a (rather long) video on their take of the role of glass in the future. They recently released Version 2 of this video

Corning’s expanded vision for the future of glass technologies. This video continues the story of how highly engineered glass, with companion technologies, will help shape our world.

‘A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision.’ showcases several technologies of the future – 3D holographic projection, electro-chromatic glass, multi-touch sensitive surfaces in wall and table formats and augmented reality, all riding on the back of high bandwidth, optical fiber driven broadband.

The original video is below:

Google’s Project Glass

Google has posted a video about Project Glass – a concept technology that enables a heads-up display through a pair of wearable glasses. Termed Google Glasses by some, this product will enable users to access Google’s growing basket of services through a combination of voice and gesture commands.  This product, which is rumored to hit the market by the end of the year (plausibly in a less finessed form?) and is being tested in the wild, will provide augmented reality displays by pulling data from Google Search, Maps, and Plus, and also have calendar, contact book, music player, and video conferencing capabilities. Images of the glasses show a rather minimalistic design, thus it is possible that the glasses will connect to a base station (an Android phone perhaps?) via bluetooth for memory storage, GPS, phone and internet access capabilities.

Using Layar Vision to implement Augmented Reality

Layar Vision, which is an extension of the Layar Augmented Reality browser,  offers another means by which iOS and Android App developers can use Augmented Reality (AR) to interact with physical objects. Compared to the Qualcomm AR SDK, the Layar Vision API takes a different approach by pushing the image identification processes to the server-side and having a usage based freemium pricing mechanism.

Below are a few videos of the power and potential of this product.

 

Here is a video introducing Layar Vision.

 

More explanations of Layar Vision

 

A sample of three applications

 

Read more about the API and associated toolkit here.

Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality SDK

Qualcomm‘s Augmented Reality (AR) SDK allows developers to design Android and iOS apps that can augment a live image from a camera  with superimposed virtual content (such as graphics, data, media, etc). The SDK, which is distributed free, provides several features, including virtual buttons, 3D objects, frame markers and targets.

Here is a video of the sample apps that are provided in the SDK

The below video of the winners of the Qualcomm AR Challenge (from Feb 2011) helps to fully appreciate the power of this toolkit.

Download the SDK here.

Read more at Augmented Reality | Products and Services | Qualcomm.

Amazon’s new augmented reality app

Amazon’s subsidiary, A9.com has launched a new augmented reality iPhone app called Flow. The app uses visual image recognition and barcodes to detect any product the phone is pointed towards. It then overlays the image of the product with content from Amazon, which includes reviews, ratings, specs, pricing and immediate purchasing options. This will make price comparisons easier and faster, thereby helping to increase Amazon’s sales.

Image via A9.com

Users point to an item and Flow overlays pricing, availability, reviews, media content and other information directly over the item in view.

With Flow, customers can identify books, DVDs, CDs, video games, or millions of packaged household items like a box of cereal. Items can be recognized by pointing the iPhone toward the front cover or packaging, or by the UPC barcodes.

Read more at Flow Powered by Amazon App, Now Available for the iPhone and here.