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).

11 thoughts on “Hobby Electronics Team Up With Augmented Reality

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.)

  2. 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

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