February 19, 2014

Wikitude on Google Glass

For some time now Google has been garnering the world’s attention with their upcoming wearable display technology, more commonly known as Glass. A sure sign of this mass market appeal is when your product has an entire Simpsons episode built around it. As the world’s first provider of an augmented reality solution for mobile devices, naturally, we’re quite excited about the possibilities of wearable display technology, and were eager to get our hands on a pair of Google’s testing device via the explorer program. As a European company it took a bit of finessing to get them out of the U.S., but once our engineers had them, they quickly set about to putting the device through it’s paces. As Glass runs on the Android operating system, getting a Wikitude powered project up and running on Glass was a snap. And since our SDK is native to Android, developers have all the tools necessary to power some incredible experiences for Glass including Image Recognition and Location Based Services. To demonstrate the power of Wikitude running on Google Glass, we decided to use a custom implementation of our own in-house Image Recognition engine and augment a piece of print media. Traditionally, this approach has asked readers to make use of their mobile device and camera, an extra step in the process, but we envision a future where users of Glass will be wearing the device quite frequently, and media automatically triggered through image recognition. Here, the Wikitude powered image recognition app running on Glass is either triggered by the user through a visual cue in the print media such as an icon or descriptive text, “Ok Glass, see more,” or through an “auto on” feature, whereby the user would activate a feature in Glass so that the device would constantly be scanning the media while the user is reading. To demonstrate this concept, we’ve put together this video, featuring a reader enjoying the Steve Jobs biography. While wearing Glass, she’s able to trigger the video of Mr. Jobs’ iPad launch announcement simply by issuing the command, “Ok Glass, See More.” [responsive_vid]

Our Impressions

Our lead software architect, Wolfgang Damm weighs in with his impressions of Google Glass. “I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our Google Glass and was impressed with how light and well designed it is. Out of the box, it offers a great experience that is rather intuitive and that’s tailored to end users. “As for capabilities, Google Glass still very limited and I personally would have wished for a bigger screen that is directly in the field of vision. Afterall, this is what enables immersive augmented reality. “From a developer’s standpoint, working with Glass is like working with any other Android device, providing you with a number of great tools. Once you understand the basic concepts of the Glass UI, it’s quite easy to adapt existing applications.” However, Glass is not perfect, and certainly not a perfect device for true see-through augmented reality technology. We’re tremendously excited about the possibilities of Wikitude running on Google Glass, and think that this will be the device that introduces the greater population to the experience of wearable technology. However, Glass is not perfect, and certainly not a perfect device for augmented reality technology. As the optical display is positioned in the top right corner of the users’ field of vision, it functions more as a notification system, and not a true AR display. To further push the boundaries of wearable augmented technology, we’ve also been working with other manufacturers including Vuzix, Epson and Optinvent, with the latter two devices featuring see through displays, whereby the computer generated information is placed directly in the users’ line of site. This delivers a much stronger and truer augmented reality display. In fact, Optinvent’s ORA-S device attempts to feature the best of both worlds with it’s unique tilt display that allows users to utilize their devices as either a true AR experience, or tilt the device down to a notification mode, similar to Google Glass. With Glass not even commercially available yet, there’s been a tremendous response from a market eager to experience life with wearable display technology. Developer response has been phenomenal, and some of the creations for Glass that we’ve had the opportunity to test out for ourselves are truly inspiring. We’re already working with a select number of Glass developers and have put the Wikitude SDK in their hands to see what they can come up with. While these projects aren’t quite ready for the light of day (yet), we’re simply astounded what clever developers are doing with our technology and the next generation of computing. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the Glass front, but you can get prepared today by downloading and developing for Android with the Wikitude SDK. For specific inquiries on how to run our SDK on Glass contact us at info@wikitude.com. If you’re attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, be sure to visit us in the App Planet Hall, 8.1 at booth 8.1B61, where we’ll be demonstrating Wikitude running on Google Glass!

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