Augmented reality welding mask

There are so many good ideas crammed into this project its hard for us to believe this isn’t already widely used for critical welding applications. Traditional welding masks simply filter out light to protect the welder’s eyes. This mask doesn’t have a window in it at all. Instead, the mask includes two cameras on the outside and two LCD screens on the inside. It filters light by processing the video which lends itself to that grab-bag of features we mentioned earlier.

Possibly the best of the system is its ability to selectively filter the brightness of the weld. What this means is that areas outside of the welding arc appear at a normal brightness level, whereas before they would have been greatly dimmed. A demonstration of augmented reality is also shown, where a computer monitors the welding surface, giving the welder a target to follow and measuring the distance between the weld and the filament. The video mentions that an FPGA would be well suited for the image processing, making us think this could be produced at a reasonable cost. After all, they already use X-ray machines for some welds, we’d bet a set of these helmets could be supplied to a crew at a similar cost.

[via Reddit]

Going to the park with your augmented reality girlfriend

Lonely? Bored? Really into J-pop? If you’re any of these things, here’s the build for you. It’s an augmented reality system that allows you to go on a date with one of Japan’s most popular virtual singers.

The character chosen to show off this augmented reality girlfriend tech is [Hatsune Miku], a voice synthesizer personified as a doll-eyed anime  avatar. [Miku] is an immensely popular character in Japan, with thousands of people going to her concerts, so choosing her for this augmented reality girlfriend project was an obvious choice.

The build details for this hack are a little sparse, confounded by the horrible Google Translate results of the blog linked in the YouTube description. From what we can gather from the video and this twitter account, the build is based on an ASUS Xtion Kinect clone and a nice pair of video goggles.

We’re expecting the comments for this post to fill up with, ‘Japan is really weird’ comments, but we can see a few very, very cool applications of this tech. For instance, think how cool it would be to be guided around a science museum by [Einstein], or around Philadelphia by [Ben Franklin].

Multitouch table uses a Kinect for a 3D display

[Bastian] sent in a coffee table he built. This isn’t a place to set your drinks and copies of Make, though: it’s a multitouch table with a 3D display. Since no description can do this table justice, take a look at the video.

The build was inspired by the subject of this Hackaday post where [programming4fun] was able to build a ‘holographic display’ using a regular 2D projector and a Kinect. Both builds work on the principle of redrawing the 3D space in relation to the user’s head – as [Bastian] moves his head around the coffee table, the Kinect tracks his location and moves the 3 dimensional grid of boxes in the opposite direction. It’s extremely clever, and looks to be a promising user interface.

In addition to a Kinect, the coffee table uses a Microsoft Surface-like display; four infrared lasers are placed at the corner and detected with a camera next to the projector in the base.

After the break you can see the demo video and a gallery of the images [Bastion] put up on the NUI group forum.

[Read more...]

DIY “Project Glass” clone looks almost too good to be true

vuzix-project-glass

By now we’re assuming you are all familiar with Google’s “Project Glass”, an ambitious augmented reality project for which they revealed a promotional video last week. [Will Powell] saw the promo vid and was so inspired that he attempted to rig up a demo of Project Glass for himself at home.

While it might seem like a daunting project to take on, [Will] does a lot of work with Kinect-based augmented reality, so his Vuzix/HD webcam/Dragon Naturally Speaking mashup wasn’t a huge step beyond what he does at work. As you can see in the video below, the interface he implemented looks very much like the one Google showed off in their demo, responding to his voice commands in a similar fashion.

He says that the video was recorded in “real time”, though there are plenty of people who debate that claim. We’re guessing that he recorded the video stream fed into the Vuzix glasses rather than recording what was being shown in the glasses, which would make the most sense.

We’d hate to think that the video was faked, mostly because we would love to see Google encounter some healthy competition, but you can decide for yourself.

[Read more...]

Heads-up display mounts on brim of your cap

[Matt Kwan] says that coming up with a personal heads-up display wasn’t that hard. Well that’s because he made design choices that make all the difference.

The goal here was to add some augmented reality to his field of vision. He went with a baseball cap because it’s a pretty easy way to strap something to your head. You can’t see it from this angle, but the setup requires you to cut a rather large hole in brim. The image from a smartphone (HTC Desire Z in this case) which is situated with the screen pointing toward [Matt's] forehead. The screen reflects off of a small mirror, guiding the image down through a Fresnel lens mounted in the hole of the brim. The image is reflected a second time by the plastic in front of his eyes which is coated with a slightly mirrored material. Since the image is reflected twice it appears right-side up, and the use of the Fresnel lens places the image out about 20 cm in front of his view. He tried to get some images of the effect, but we think you’ve got to see it in person before passing judgement.

This does away with the need to track head movement (there’s a few hacks for that out there though). Augmented reality software is used to turn the view from the smartphone camera into overlay data for the display.

[Thanks Tom]

Augmented reality ex nihilo

[David] sent in a nice project to demonstrate augmented reality with ARtoolkit and discuss the deep philosophical underpinnings of the meaning of nothingness. The good news is he was able to create a volume control button on a sheet of paper with a marker. The bad news is the philosophical treatment is a bit weak; [David] built something cool, so we’re able to let that slide for now.

This build was inspired by the Impromptu Sound Board made using a Kinect and a piece of paper. The idea behind the sound board is simple – draw some buttons on the paper, and use them to play short sound clips. [David] took this idea to make a small tutorial on augmented reality for Occam’s Razor.

The hardware is very simple – just a webcam, a piece of paper, and a marker. After [David] draws a large square on the paper, the code recognizes it as a volume control. Rotating the paper counterclockwise increases the volume, and clockwise turns the volume down. It’s a neat build to get into the foundations of augmented reality.

Check out the video demo of [David]‘s build after the break.

[Read more...]

[Ben Krasnow] sticks LEDs in his contacts just for kicks

led-contacts

[Ben Krasnow] wrote in, saying that every so often a news story appears covering a project in which researchers embed a single pixel LED display inside a contact lens. The most recent article he saw featured a contact-wearing rabbit, and not being one to shy away from damaging his own body in the name of science, he decided to try the experiment on himself.

He started out by soldering a tiny 0402 SMD LED to a hand wound coil, laminating the display between a pair of regular contact lenses. After trying to adhere the lenses to one another using water, he opted to tack the edges together with a pair of hot tweezers, making for a more secure but uncomfortable piece of eyewear. The LED is powered by a simple inductive coil he put together, which uses a spark gap transmitter to flash the LED on and off.

If you’re not freaked out by people sticking things in their eyes, be sure to check out the video below to see [Ben’s] augmented contact lens in action. While it might not give him Terminator-like vision, it’s pretty awesome considering he pieced it together in his workshop in his spare time.

[Read more...]