Canon Develops Mixed-reality Display
Anyone who has seen one of the Iron Man movies has seen Tony Stark designing and interacting with computer generated 3D models. While today’s tech isn’t quite as advanced as that shown in the movie, audiences were shown a demonstration of the potential for mixed-reality (MR) displays.
Don’t get the terminology confused. Augmented reality is just laying information over what the user is seeing, ala Google glasses. Along with information, MR allows the user to see — and interact with — 3D models, just like Mr. Stark. Just as shown in Iron Man, this technology has a great potential for design.
Canon’s MR uses a head-mounted display (HMD) with two charge-coupled-device cameras (one for each eye) to capture real-time video. The video is sent through a cable attached to the HMD and passed on to a computer. The result is a MR display that allows for computer-generated graphics or computer-aided-design data to be overlaid.
Along with the HMD, Canon’s system requires a number of marker locations and optical motion-capture sensors to create as realistic an MR as is possible with current technology. These sort of setup restrictions mean you aren’t going to be walking around the office, interacting with virtual objects so much as you’ll be heading to a mini holodeck.
Canon intends to market the system to engineers and designers. The company says that use of MR can reduce reliance on prototypes, and give customers or manufacturers an idea of what is in development. Obviously small prototypes are going to be easier to make using a 3D printer, but if you want to get an idea of what a new car design might look like, an MR mockup is going to be less expensive.
Below you’ll find a video that demonstrates the system.