VFX1 Virtual Reality Headset LinkBox

 

[Kevin Mellott's] take on the VFX1 was to update it so it can be used with modern computers requiring just a USB socket and VGA feed.

The VFX1 is a Virtual Reality Headset that hit the market in the first half of the 90’s. The headset was the first of its kind to hit the home market and was ahead of its time. The VFX1 was developed and marketed by Forte Technologies, who’s assets where purchased in 1997 by Vuzix who now produce modern day Video glasses with optional tracking system.

What [Kevin] has achieved is nothing more than remarkable. The original system required a massive ISA card and a link from this card to the Feature Connector on the display card. [Kevin] did away with the ISA card and FCON replacing it with what he calls the LinkBox. This LinkBox has serial or USB out and accepts stereo/mono VGA input or RGB.

The system can now be used with modern day computers including laptops. Those into VR should really check this out.

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Real Life Subtitle Glasses

[Will Powell] sent in his real-time subtitle glasses project. Inspired by the ever cool Google Project Glass, he decided he would experiment with his own version.

He used two Raspberry Pi’s running Debian squeeze, vuzix glasses, microphones, a tv, ipad, and iphone as the hardware components. The flow of data is kind of strange in this project. The audio first gets picked up by a bluetooth microphone and streamed through a smart device to a server on the network. Once it’s on the server it gets parsed through Microsoft’s translation API. After that the translated message is sent back to a Raspberry Pi where it’s displayed as subtitles on the glasses.

Of course this is far from a universal translation device as seen in Star Trek. The person being translated has to talk clearly into a microphone, and there is a huge layer of complexity. Though, as far as tech demos go it is pretty cool and you can see him playing a game of chess using the system after the break.

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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.

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Head-up uses facial recognition and augmented reality

Scouter is a facial recognition system and head-up display that [Christopher Mitchell] developed for his Master’s Thesis. The wearable device combines the computing power of an eeePC 901 with a Vuzix VR920 wearable display and a Logitech Quickcam 9000. The camera is mounted face-forward on the wearable display like a third eye and the live feed is patched through to the wearer. [Christopher's] software scans, identifies, and displays information about the people in the camera frame at six frames per second.

We can’t help but think of the Gargoyles in Snow Crash. This rendition isn’t quite that good yet, there’s several false positives in the test footage after the break. But there are more correct identifications than false ones. The fact that he’s using inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware is promising. This shouldn’t been too hard to distill down to an inexpensive dedicated system.

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CES: Augmented Reality

I got my hands on a set of augmented reality glasses that were displayed with a Monkey-Ball style game. This wasnt anything too new as far as the augmented reality goes, however the glasses that were used with the game featured stereo cameras on the center of the outside of the lens, which allowed a true 3D augmented vision that you wouldn’t have to stare into a screen for. These glasses were still in the demo stage, but if they ever make it out into retail, I think that they would be exactly what could bridge AR from a fun toy to a useful tool. Another review video after the break.

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