Tag: augmented reality technology

Iron Man-inspired underwater augmented reality helmet developed by the Navy

U.S. Navy researchers have developed a new high-tech underwater helmet with AR display.

While augmented reality (AR) displays are nothing new to the military, as they’ve used these displays for decades (particularly in the form of heads-up displays (HUDs) in the cockpits of aircrafts and more recently integrated into helmets), this technology is now evolving further with the development of an underwater augmented reality helmet. The unique diver’s helmet is being developed by engineers at the US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division. It will feature a built-in HUD, which can guide divers to specific locations, help them find objects, and even provide them with vision when there is almost no visibility.

The AR helmet is being designed to increase the efficiency and safety of divers in the line of duty.

According to Tech Times, the futuristic Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD) helmet will help to make the work of professional divers easier and more streamlined compared to the current standard masks and neoprene gloves that are worn. The mask narrows the field of view and the gloves obstruct precision.

Underwater Augmented Reality - Image of DiverJust like the Marvel superhero Iron Man, divers will be able to view all the necessary data they need within the helmet, from checking their location to tapping into sonar data. They can keep looking straight ahead instead of having to check a smartwatch display.

Dennis Gallagher, the research team leader, said that what users of the new helmet can expect is “a capability similar to something from an Iron Man movie.”

Although still in the prototype phase, the underwater augmented reality helmet could see widespread use.

Due to the fact that underwater work typically involves poor light conditions and/or salty water, the DAVD displays can help to provide additional visual clues that could greatly assist divers, showing them the image in front of both eyes, creating visual depth. The AR display can also improve their connection to surface sources, such as a ship, which can send out information to the display.

While the device is only in its early prototype phase, future improvements made to it could lead to the inclusion of sonar sensors mounted on the helmet, which would make it even easier for information to be collected and displayed.

The Navy has said that in-water simulation testing for the underwater augmented reality helmet is slated for October.

Miraffe offers kids new AR tech learning experience

A “magic mirror” device for children offers fun educational experience.

Augmented reality (AR) technology can be fun and educational and Chinese Shenzen-based company Xiaoxi Technology is combining both these aspects in its new Miraffe “all-knowing magic mirror.” Miraffe is a yellow, hand-held mirror-shaped device with a giraffe-inspired design (including a giraffe spotted handle as well as ears, knobs and eyes on top of the bezel). The AR tech has been specifically created for children and features a phone-sized screen and a front-facing camera, which recognizes objects and links animated characters with the real world, providing children with educational apps and the ability to video chat with parents.

Miraffe can do more than recognize and name objects

The device can recognize everyday objects, such as a phone and calculator, according to Variety, and it can also spell the word for each object it recognizes in both English and Chinese. According to a spokesperson from the company, presently, Miraffe has a 60 to 70% accuracy object recognition rate. While impressive to say the least, there is still room for improvement.

That being said, the device does more than simply name objects. It also comes with numerous interactive AR cards that are both fun and educational. These picture paper cards feature various animals such as tigers, fish, zebra, etc., which can be viewed by the Miraffe’s camera, and appear as 3D animated images through the screen. The user can obtain a life-like 360 degree view of the 3D animals by tapping and dragging the animals on the screen.

Miraffe offers a more affordable and less complicated approach to AR tech.

Although Miraffe’s augmented reality approach isn’t exactly unique, what makes it notable is that it is an AR device designed specifically for children and, as Variety puts it, has opened up “a middle ground between general purpose mobile phones and expensive headsets or glasses.”

Instead of requiring an expensive and complex gadget to make augmented reality work, Miraffe has shown that it can be done with a simple toy that is fun for children and easy for them to use.

Currently, Xiaoxi Technology is running a Kickstarter campaign for Miraffe, which is selling a limited number of the devices for $99. However, the company intends to sell its AR tech device for a suggested retail price of $300 later this year.