Despite what some may think, Google Glass isn’t really a platform designed for augmented reality. AR lays images and text over real life objects, and so works best when the user is looking through a device.
Glass puts a screen in the top right of your field of vision rather than right in front of you, which means any AR additions are restricted to the corner of your right eye, but that hasn’t stopped developers Metaio from building an AR app.
And what an app. It’s essentially a hands-free maintenance manual that helps you identify and fix problems with your car, even if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t know a fan belt from a spark plug. It delivers notifications to Glass when there’s an issue, and once you’ve popped open the bonnet it uses Glass’s on-board camera to identify car components without the need for real world markers.
A new kind of 3D tracking
It’s that last part that is key here. AR generally requires markers (QR code stickers etc.) or GPS location data to identify real world objects, but Metaio has developed tech that recognises 3D objects without the need for them, even when the objects are dirty or lit differently from the source object in Metaio’s database. The tech works by matching the edges of an object with a stored 3D render of the same object or part.
The whole point of this Glass app is, essentially, to show that this ground-breaking system actually works and that it can be used for practical, commercially-viable purposes.
Metaio says that it’s working to bring the app to other wearable technology gadgets including the Epson Moverio and Vuzix M100.
In-car Glass use remains controversial
We can’t help but feel that it’s quite an odd choice of app with which to debut AR on Google Glass, however – because the whole relationship between Glass and driving is somewhat controversial. While it’s currently legal in the US to drive while wearing a device like Glass, UK lawmakers have stated that they’re seeking a ban on such use even before Glass is commercially available over here.