Beyond Google Glass

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Augmentedreality.org rounded up the currently available technology and future of wearable AR glasses for the 2015 report.

Wearable tech is more popular now than ever before thanks in large part to the recent unveiling of the Apple Watch (with the ability to “keep time” among other miraculous features). The price point made for the watch an easy target for punchlines but I think wearable tech is no joke. Also, there’s plenty of alternative watches on the market already, including the kickstarted Pebble.

The first piece of wearable tech to get my attention was the possibly ill-fated Google Glass. The project has been recalled for now due to a Shakespearean tale of artistry, innovation, lust and pride but to my surprise there are many other AR glasses in every stage of development according to 2015 Smart Glasses Market Report.

For $1,000 you could get a pair of the Vuzix M100‘s right now . The Recon Jet comes in at $699 but the website warns the orders are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. The Optinvent Ora costs $949 and their website has a chart with slightly dubious categories going after their competitors directly.

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Optinvent wants you to know that none of the other AR glasses have “Flip-Vu,” a feature they made up themselves. Not that it doesn’t actually seem like a great idea. If I understand correctly, you can adjust the display depending if you want the HUD directly in your field of vision or if you want it in a less obtrusive position lower in your field of vision.

After how revolutionary the iPhone and its smartphone ilk were I’m hesitant to understate the potential of wearable technology of both the wrist and face based variety. If I was Fitbit I would be weary about the future. There’s not a lot of reason for a stand-alone activity tracking device in the near future once wearables take hold.

Besides activity tracking and traditional media viewing, I think wearable tech has a lot to offer. AR comic books already exist and the experience would be even more immersive if you didn’t have to hold your phone in front of the page.

While wearable tech in the mainstream is still in the near future, the concept as we now know it has been in development since at least the early ’90s. One story on the sixth episode of the incredible podcast from NPR “Invisibillia” tells the story of Thad Starner, who has been experimenting with his own custom made wearables since 1993.   Wearables are going to be stuck on our bodies from here on out. And I think that’s pretty cool.

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Augmented Reality in your pocket

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Augmented Reality (AR) is super cool I don’t care what anyone says. I used a free AR app to digitally put a Santa hat on Mike. The pinnacle of technological achievement :

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The app is called “Augment: 3D Augmented Reality.” Augment is the company that also makes crazy expensive software that’s let’s you do amazing things, as often is the case with technology.

But I’m just getting started. The most impressive feature of the app is the ability to scan symbols and images and have a pre-selected 3D model appear.

You can upload the picture or symbol to the Augment database you want to be the trigger through the software online on a computer or you can select a picture through the app. Then you pick what 3D model will appear.

Anyone who scans the image will see the 3D,even if the image is on a screen. In our test case, scanning the picture of a dress causes the (unfinished) 3D model of the dress to appear.

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The advantage of this technology over something like a QR code is that the image you scan can stand alone without using a phone. It’s unobtrusive. And you have a better idea of what you’re getting.

You can browse through popular 3D objects in the app as well. Some of the suggested uses are to see how furniture would look in your house or what an article of clothing would look like on a person.

Like I said,  the app is free and pretty intuitive. Try it out on and augment your friends or dogs.