Hobby electronics team up with augmented reality


Here’s an interesting take on using augmented reality alongside hobby electronics. The project, which comes from a group of researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory, starts off by making simple electronic devices like a radio with two knobs using network connected hardware. In other words, build something using an Arduino and include a way to get it on a network. With the radio example on knob is for tuning, the other adjusts the volume. But pick up an iPad and aim its camera at the device — which is what the image above is showing — and those knobs will get a lot more functionality. This opens up a whole set of virtual controls that can be assigned to different segments of the knob controllers.

This is certainly a better use of augmented reality than using it in advertisements which is where it usually shows up. We also think that the proliferation of personal electronics that include high-quality camera modules makes wide adoption a lot more plausible than some of the projector-based augmented reality we’ve seen. Check out a full demo in the video after the break and if that leaves you hungry for details you can get your hands on the whitepaper (PDF).


  1. Eirinn says:

    I’ll take google glass with augmented reality and pseudo-holographic ui anytime. Dennou Coil style :)

  2. randomdude says:

    sure I shouldn’t post my own stuff but I made something similar a while ago:

    I created an app using app inventor that relays data from arduino to the internet though a moblie device and bluetooth

    • PHO says:

      I don’t think anyone has any problem with you posting your own stuff and I think you should send it to Hackaday.
      Although, you are using the expression “something similar” in the widest sense I can remember to have seen.

  3. Whatnot says:

    I like the virtual door keypad, I expect to see that n some scifi-like movie at some point.

  4. Whatnot says:

    I don’t think that knob-programming needs any augmented reality stuff though, it could be done using a graphical representation of the device and then you don’t have to hold it clumsily pointed at the thing then.
    But who knows, maybe someone will find a situation where it is enhancing usability.

    • rasz says:

      holding magical spying glass you have to look through to see UI is NOT enhancing usability

    • somebody says:

      I’m sure the clunky tablet interface is just for proof-of-concept.
      The real applications (of Augmented Reality) are for things like Google Glass, where you simply look at the dial and extended menus become visible automatically.

      • Whatnot says:

        Google glass uses voice interfacing AFAIK and I’m not sure chatting to yourself for 10 minutes is an advantage over a quick touch interface.

        (Plus I HATE connected cameras everywhere and as such hate google-glass users.)

  5. biozz says:

    im still not totally in to augmented reality … im normally in to all this new tech stuff but i have yet to see an AR system i like … god i feel like my grandfather but a good labeling never hurts XP

  6. BrewMaster says:

    Come on, thats freakin’ cool!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,441 other followers