updated 04:52 pm EDT, Mon June 18, 2012
Improved augmented reality system to aid in product design
Canon has previewed its Mixed Reality (MR) augmented-reality system in Japan. Billed as a product design tool, it allows users to wear display-equipped eyewear to see and interact with a virtual object. A physical object is also used for positional reference and tactile feedback, adding to the perception that the object is real.
The head-mounted display contains sets of prisms that allow cameras to track a visible tag on an object without impeding the vision of the wearer. A computer works out a perspective of the image for each eye, then sends the result back to the headset, which then displays the images using the same set of prisms. The result is that, although the headset is far larger than other versions such as the Brother AiRScouter and Google's Project Glass, the wearer can see the object blend in with the rest of the world as seamlessly as possible. Interactivity could also be introduced, with the viewed virtual system being manipulated by control wands that also use the tracking, as opposed to more standard controllers.
The system is primarily aimed towards industry use as a design and modeling tool, allowing for fewer builds of product prototypes, though the company is considering potential applications in education, medical, and entertainment industries. Cannon will be demonstrating the MR System during the 20th 3D & Virtual Reality Expo in Tokyo, with customized systems expected to be sold to businesses beginning late July.