Noah Zerkin: Augmented Reality in 2010 (Part 6)

Noah Zerkin is best known as the inventor and developer of the Zerkin Glove, a low cost glove for interacting with virtual object in an augmented environment. In his spare time he also the author of Augmentation where he shares his views on the coming AR revolution, and works for the stealthy Integrated Realities.

Since it's a long one, I took the liberty drop a prediction concerning Google's intentions. Noah sent me his predictions just days before Goggles became public, and obviously that changes everything. Though I must say that Noah was right pointing out the Google will develop its own mobile application rather than buying an existing browser maker.

I feel a little shaky on this limb, but I'm going to wager that we will finally have see-through HUD glasses on the consumer market. I don't know what their quality will be like, but I think we'll be able to buy something. I'm hoping that having seen that recent seven hundred million figure, investors will make the connection that AR won't be staying on cell phone screens indefinitely, and will show a little love to Lumus. Vuzix going public will also be a big step. Nokia, Sony, Apple, Konica Minolta, Canon, and Microvision are all putting R&D into display glasses. Microvision will be focused on their military contract with Lockheed for a while, and has already said that we can expect a product on the market in 2011. I doubt that that will be a consumer product, and will probably just be when their ULTRA-Vis research leads to a mass-produced fieldable military product.

I expect that we'll see some step towards a more precise civilian positioning system in the US. I can't speak to specifics, but AR is the first real consumer application where the lack of precision positioning presents a serious implementation problem. Up until now it's really been about navigation or setting general local context, where there really wasn't a good justification for investing in super-precise positioning. It may end up be something that relies on local infrastructure. I don't necessarily see it being in consumer hands in 2010, but I think that there will be increasing awareness that this is something that we'll need.

If we do see display glasses, I expect there'll be some sort of wristband or wristband-and-thimble inertial interface device released shortly thereafter. Hell, I'll be looking for ways to use the eZ430-Chronos with my rig as soon as that thing ships. It needn't be a 1-to-1 device, but perhaps just something for gesture interpretation. We all seem to have gotten the hang of moving an on-screen cursor without looking at our hand, so once we're wearing our monitor, I think we'll want to do the same for the mouse.

Mobile phones with a next-gen Tegra chipset will make OpenCL and CUDA capabilities available in a pocketable package, and perhaps we'll see OpenCV and other vision frameworks being updated to take advantage of them. I know the iPhone's PowerVR GPU core already supports OpenCL, and if Apple ever opens up direct access to the camera framebuffer, maybe we'll see it there, too. Or it may be that Apple really is stifling iPhone AR development because they're working on something in-house. Perhaps they're working on their own machine vision framework for the iPhone SDK. I don't know. Anyhow, I think mobile GPU-accelerated machine vision will be something that we'll probably see in the next year.

I'm obviously a pretty hardware-oriented guy, so those are a few things that jump to mind.

For software, I think we're going to see mainstream mobile AR games. Lots of 'em. I think we're going to see mobile multi-user, multi-device, multi-perspective games. I think we'll see improvements in registration AR registration with the world.

With people like Tim O'Reilly showing huge personal interest AR, it's hard to know what will happen. The possibilities and possible directions for "Augmented Reality: Year Two" (on the public radar) will be exponentially greater as enabling mobile hardware and low-level software become wider-spread and more mature. The path for Year One was easy enough to predict. Bruce Sterling and Robert Rice have both have both called it pretty well so far. But now we're getting to the part where everyone jumps in and unless you're giving your undivided attention, it'll be hard to know who is going to emerge, with what, and when. Regardless, I expect that this will be the year when Apple, Microsoft, and Google's larger AR strategies will begin to coalesce.

Anyhow, I don't know if there's anything unique, insightful, or concrete enough to make it worth making part of your piece. Lot's of qualifiers in there ;-) I also don't know if I'm in a position to make predictions, since I've been out of touch since starting my new job after ISMAR.

What's your opinion? Don't forget to take part in our predictions-poll!

AR in 2010 Part 1 - What's your opinion? - Our online poll
AR in 2010 Part 2 - Crazy predictions that might come true.
AR in 2010 Part 3 - Thomas Wrobel's predictions
AR in 2010 Part 4 - Augmented Planet's Lester Madden's predictions.
AR in 2010 Part 5 - The Future Digital Life's Thomas Carpenter's predictions


Anonymous said...

Actually, Integrated Realities is a future venture to build on some of my IP. There's not a whole lot there to be stealthy about just yet. I'm actually working at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine on some projects that aren't AR-related per se, except insofar as they also involve lots of intertial sensors and motion capture equipment.

Thanks for including me, Rouli :-)

Anonymous said...

Please check out this holiday augmented reality:

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