29 September 2014

Daqri Smart AR Helmet

A high-tech hardhat aims to make life safer for construction workers and others who spend their nine to five in dangerous environments. The Daqri Smart Helmet uses AR technology and an array of cameras and sensors to give workers on sites a better visibility of the workplace around them and access to timely, hands-free, information. It features a retractable, heads-up display visor where information is communicated at eye level. The device also connects with equipment on-site to more clearly display information such as a pressure gauge reading to the worker.

Real-time visual instructions or clues about using certain equipment can be communicated on the display screen, such as an arrow symbol indicating the correct way to turn a valve. The helmet is designed to pair up with smart watches and other devices, along with other helmet users on a site, for added benefits. The helmet is also equipped with a hefty price tag, as it is expected to retail at several thousand dollars a piece. Yet its developers say it could be worth the expense in preventing quality issues.

More information:

27 September 2014

Night of Science - HCI Lab

Yesterday, 26th September 2014, at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University the 'Night of Science' event took place. More than 2000 visitors attended the Faculty and had a look at the research that is going on at various research groups.

At the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory there were several interesting demonstrations regarding computer graphics. I demonstrated the use of BCI technologies for interacting with games and more than 200 visitors attended and tried out the interface.

More information:

23 September 2014

ODG R-7 Android Smart Glasses

The first self-contained pair of wireless, head-worn smartglasses with 3D stereoscopic see-through HD displays comes from a group called Osterhout Design Group. They’re called the ODG R-7 glasses, and they run Android on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. What makes these glasses different from Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR is their lack of a smartphone requirement. They’ve got everything they need right inside their own (relatively) small body.

This pair of glasses works with a Qualcomm 8084 2.7GHz quad-core SoC running with 4GB of RAM. It has between 16 and 128GB of data storage, and you’ll be working with a version of Android the company calls ReticleOS. This is an optimized Android framework made for head-worn computing - built on Android KitKat. Display resolution is 1280 x 720p at 100 frames per second, and again, they’re transparent so you can still see forward.

More information:

19 September 2014

CERIT Grand Opening Ceremony

Today the CERIT grand opening ceremony was held at the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University, Brno. CERIT stands for Centre for Education, Research and Innovation in ICT and prepares and integrates projects that together creates robust synergy concept to support research and innovation in ICT within both its own operation and for interdisciplinary cooperation with partners and other R&D centres.

CERIT was founded by the Faculty of Informatics and the Institute of Computer Science. One of the most significant groups is the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Laboratory. The HCI lab focuses on human-computer interfaces, virtual reality systems, haptic interfaces, computational geometry and visualizations prepared a number of demonstrations and video presentations for the visitors.

More information:

17 September 2014

Experimental Augmented Reality Headset

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, has created a prototype headset that just might top them all. The display, called Pinlight Display, offer a field of view that basically wipes all current glasses out of the water. Today’s state-of-the-art commercial augmented reality glasses have a field of view of 40° or less, while Pinlight prototypes have demonstrated fields of view of 100° or more. Here’s how it works: Conventional augmented reality glasses use lenses, beam splitters, waveguides, reflectors and other optics to relay an image to the eye. The team have tossed aside these conventional optical components and replaced them with something called pinlights. Pinlights are an array of bright dots that have been etched in a small piece of glass with a 3-D printer. A transparent display panel is placed between the pinlights and the eye to soften the light and form the perceived image.

We know this all sounds very mechanical, but here’s what it comes down to: Anyone who has wore a pair of virtual reality glasses before knows that when you pop them on, peripheral vision is practically nonexistent. So while whatever image being projected in front of you might look great, it’s still always a little disorienting not to have a full range of vision. That problem is sufficiently lessened with this invention. Their idea is to make augmented reality less of a gimmick and more of an integral part of life. This headset is in the works, but don’t expect to find it in stores anytime in the immediate future. Currently, the prototype’s biggest pitfall is its low resolution. While you can see more with Pinlight, the image quality is still far below what you’ll find in commercial augmented reality glasses. But after some minor (and major) bugs are fixed, who knows what these babies might be capable of?

More information:

12 September 2014

Soft Robots

When it comes to soft robots, researchers have finally managed to cut the cord. Developers from Harvard's School for Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have produced the first untethered soft robot -- a quadruped that can stand up and walk away from its designers.

A team of researchers was able to scale up earlier soft-robot designs, enabling a single robot to carry on its back all the equipment it needs to operate (micro-compressors, control systems and batteries). Compared with earlier soft robots, the system is huge measuring more than a half-meter in length and capable of carrying as much as 7½ pounds on its back.

More information: