Vuzix Wrap 920AR Video Eyewear at CES 2010

The Vuzix Wrap 920AR aren’t the sexiest of specs, but they do perform the function of AR glasses. I got a chance to see this setup at ISMAR09 which they’re now showing at CES 2010.

The specs for the glasses look like:

The stereo camera pair delivers a single 1504 x 480 side-by-side image that can be viewed in 3D stereoscopic video, while the video eyewear provides an unprecedented 67-inch display as seen from 10 feet. The Wrap 920AR also includes a 6 Degree-of-Freedom Tracker, which allows for absolute accuracy of roll pitch and yaw and also X, Y and Z positioning in 3D space

Vuzix Wrap 920AR Specifications:

• 1/3-inch wide VGA Digital Image Sensor
• Resolution: 752H x 480W
• Includes 6 Degree-of-Freedom Tracker
• Frame rate: 60 fps
• Dynamic range: >55dB linear; >80-100dB in HiDy mode
• Shutter efficiency: >99%
• ADC Resolution: 10-bit column parallel
• High-speed USB 2.0
• PC and Mac compatible
• System requirements: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, Windows7, Mac OS X 10.4.9 or higher
• MSRP: $799.99


They probably won’t be worn in public anytime soon, but some creative programmers could create interesting house-only interactive avatars or AR spaces. While some might scoff at this idea, see this video from Georgia Tech last year to see how even semi-cheesy graphics can make augmented reality immersive. Having played the old VR game Dactyl Nightmare in the 1990s, the head-tracking really creates the illusion of reality.


We haven’t seen any developers put together a product that takes advantage of these $800 glasses, but hopes are that exposure at CES 2010 will bring more interest. The only thing I’ve seen using the setup is the Whisper Deck from Craig Kapp.

Maybe later this year we might see some products that would entice the hard core AR enthusiast to fork out the cash for these un-sexy specs.

What I Want For Augmented Reality in 2010

I was going to expand on my predictions that Rouli had posted on Games Alfresco because, frankly, they were pretty lame (mine and not the other nine, those were good.)  But decided that there have been enough predictions for 2010.  So instead, I want to go over the things I want to happen in 2010 in regards to augmented reality.   

1. I want the Nexus One phone from Google to be untethered, cheap and make AR apps fun.

2. I want to be surprised by an AR ready HMD.

3. I want to see fun, creative AR games that are across all platforms and come at an affordable price. 

4. I want the AR inspection assist project I’m working on with Metaio to go flawlessly and for it to revolutionize the way we do difficult inspection job at Toyota and make it easier on our team members. 

5. I want Google Goggles to be a database that other programs can use for pattern recognition and markerless tracking.

6. I want to attend ISMAR10 even though its all the way over in South Korea.

7. I want the ISMAR09 presentations to be put up on YouTube so we can see all the great things that happened.

8. I want Apple to free their live video API for better AR on the iPhone.

9. I want to know what Neogence Enterprises has been working on all these years. 

10. I want to continue to make Games Alfresco the hands-down, defacto source for all your augmented reality news. 

So for all you programmers and entrepreneurs working on the latest in augmented reality tech, even though I may put up your YouTube video or link to your webpage and make semi-snarky comments about its usefulness or how its so-2009, I certainly appreciate your hard work.  Unless you were just mailing it in hoping to capitalize on the AR buzz, then you deserve it and then some.  For all of you in the former category, I leave you with my two favorite quotes to keep you going when things get tough:

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is no in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively.  Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.  Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. 

   — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

IT IS NOT THE CRITIC WHO COUNTS: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. 

   — Teddy Roosevelt

ISMAR 2009 Epilogue: A New Augmented Reality World Order

ISMAR 2009 is over.

It was the best of times. Augmented to the Nth degree.

How does the world of Augmented Reality looks like in the morning after?

Eager, revolutionary, strong, creative, responsible, loving – with a speck of a hang over.

Does it feel any different than before?

Well, a few tectonic plates have shifted overnight.

Here it is, my

Top 10 tidbits reshaping the augmented reality industry:

1) AR Browsers make peace not war
Augmented reality browsers and navigation apps have been the media darlings of 2009. They have been depicted as gladiators battling to the death (we take some of the blame). ISMAR, on the contrary, was all about love and peace. On Monday’s Mobile Workshop, Robert Rice and I had the privilege to moderate a session about collaboration in the AR industry. Picture this: Layar, Wikitude, Junaio (from Metaio), and Across Air sitting around a table planning a communication standard for augmented reality information. I had a tear at the corner of my eye.

Missing in action: Presselite, Tonchidot, RobotVision, GeoVector…

2) Mobile is king, and the iPhone is the emperor’s new clothes

In 2009, ISMAR organizers decided to feature Mobile Augmented Reality (driven by Christine Perey) as the highlight of the event (duh!). The event guide explains: “much of the media and consumer attention is on mobile AR…because AR is increasingly with users where ever [they go].” The intention manifested itself allover the place: in workshops (“Present, Future, and the Roadmap to Mobile AR”, “Outdoor AR”), tutorials (Introduction to Handheld AR), sessions (Human interfaces, Human Factors, Tracking on mobile devices), announcements (Junaio, Artoolkit on the iPhone), posters (Streaming on mobile phones, In-situ outdoor geo models, Clinical Training experiences, Egocentric space distortion for environment exploration, Learning on the iPhone, and EyePly – mobile AR for sporting events), and demos (first panda ever to appear at ISMAR, PTAM on an iPhone.)

And all this hoopla around a phone that requires you to access a private API for live video?

3) Vuzix leading the pack in AR glasses

Photo Credit: Ron Azuma (Nokia)

Photo Credit: Ron Azuma (Nokia)

Mobile AR was all the rage, but AR aficionados in-situ were hungry for new AR glasses that will truly unleash its power. ORA Lab and Canon still offer huge-expensive HMDs; Microvision is focused on thick military grade monocle, and Nokia tries to leapfrog with way-cool gaze tracking but poor display (check out Thomas Carpenter’s post for more on ISMAR HMDs.)

This leaves Vuzix lonely at the top with with the only see-around, semi-dorky, inexpensive glasses (the envy of any Panda)


Missing in action: Lumus

4) Sketch is the new marker


Best student paper award went to Oriel, Nate et al. for AR Sketch (which featured in our top post and popular video). Their work is revolutionizing the AR world by avoiding the need to print markers – or any images whatsoever.

Two other winner were Steven Henderson (with Steven Feiner) for “Augmented Reality for Task Localization in Maintenance of an Armored Personnel Carrier Turret” and honorable mention for the lovely Susanna Nilsson (with Bjorn Johansson) for “AR to support cross-organisational collaboration in dynamic tasks”(read: disaster relief) – but both would have made scarry headlines: “Tanks Take Over ISMAR” or “Fire sweeps ISMAR”

Missing in action: Daniel Wagner – who delivered his best paper yet: con-graz on your new baby!

5) Qualcomm spearheads as the most aggressive chip maker in AR

As diamond sponsor of the event, and with its own Jay Wright painting the vision for AR in 2012, as well as bravely moderating the controvertial “Past and Future of ISMAR” Panel –  Qualcomm leapfrogged the other chip makers to become the most sincere contender in the future of AR devices.

Missing in action: Nvidia

6) Microsoft – the new big player to watch

Georg Klein, inventor of PTAM-on-an-iPhone (and the smartest Computer Vision guy on the block) joins Microsoft to make Mobile AR. Look out for Microsoft.

7) Minority report VFX designer is looking for the next big thing in AR

The mere presence of guy with the most enviable AR credentials in the world (the guy who designed VFX for minority report), Kent Demaine, signaled the entrance of AR into the major leagues. Now he just needs to convince J.J. Abrahams to make a movie out of Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End.

8) New ARtist in charge

At ISMAR 2008, only one artist was present at the show and easily grabbed my Most Beautiful Demo award. In 2009 with a whole new tarck for Humanities, Arts and Media – the competition was more intensive. One artist came above all with commercial-quality, entertaining-yet-sophisticated pieces – and proved that with good design today’s technology is ready for prime time. Helen Papagiannis is the new AR artist-in-charge.

9) The AR ivory tower has been shaken
The fearless Pattie Maes presented, in front of an AR-only crowd, her popular off-mainstream augmented reality project the Six Sense making the point that with simple technology, low cost components, and clever design –  it may be easy to bring the digital world into the physical one.

Although they all saw it coming – the audience was stumped.

Just check out who asked the questions:

Mark Billinghurst – “have you evaluated the user experience with users?”
Steven Feiner – “It won’t work on large buildings, would it?”
Bruce Thomas – “What about privacy?”

Nuff said.

10) AR goes commercial
This was already the 10th ISMAR yet since the first – multiple attempts were made to bring AR to consumers – but the market has been elusive. This year, was the first time were consumer-oriented products were introduced. From Layar to Wikitude to Across Air and the just-announced Junaio, and learning games like Ogmento‘s Put a Spell – ISMAR became the breading ground for commercial AR. Christine Perey even dares to estimate Mobile AR revenue in 2009 to hit $10 Million. The tsunami is coming, prepare your surf boards.


If you feel this list is lacking or biased, I kindly refer you to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which states that one can not measure both position and momentum in precision, because the mere observation affects the results. Beat that excuse – brainiacs.
(thanks Noah for the pointer)

By the way, I finally discovered why Korea is at the epicenter of the Augmented Reality world: How do you say “good morning” in Korean?

To find the answer you’ll have to come to ISMAR next year in Korea!
: 증강 현실)

How did ISMAR change YOUR view of the AR world?


Other ISMAR 2009 posts you mustn’t miss:

ISMAR Demo preview

Our ISMAR 2008 link collection

Stay tuned for links to videos and presentations here and at the ISMAR society site.

ISMAR 2009: Starts Tomorrow!

Can’t wait for ISMAR 2009, the world’s best augmented reality event, to get started tomorrow.

What are my highlights for the event?

Too many to list, but here are my top 10 highlights including my contributions among other attractions at ISMAR:

1) Monday 2:30 pm – Magic Mobile Wand Workshop
Co-leading a workshop with Robert Rice: Roadmap for Success in the Augmented Reality Industry

2) Tuesday 9 am – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Presentation: Augmented Reality Today (based on my talk from WARM)

3) Tuesday 11 am – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Panel with Brian Selzer (Ogmento), Tish Shute (UgoTrade), Alistair Jeffs (Eyeply), Greg Davis (Total Immersion): AR in Sports, Entertainment and advertising

4) Tuesday 1:30 pm – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Blair MacIntyre – AR Game Design

5) Tuesday 4 pm – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Co-presenting with Robert Rice: The 6 Elements of the Augmented Reality Universe

6) Tuesday,Wednesday evenings – At the demo gallery
Ogmento Presents the upcoming AR game – Put a Spell: Learn to Spell with Augmented Reality

7) Wednesday 6:30 – The Award Banquet

8) Thursday 11am – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Christopher Stapleton – Imagination, the Third Reality

9) Thursday 2 pm – Art, Media and Humanities Track
Joe Tankersley – Science meets Fiction: Imagining the Future

10) And in between – Blogging…as much as I can…

See all the excitement at the Event Schedule

What are your highlights for ISMAR 2009?

ISMAR 2009: Sneak Peek from HIT Lab New Zealand

ISMAR, the world’s best Augmented Reality (AR) event is just 11 days away!

We have already provided a sneak preview of some of the demos.

Here are 2 research results, to be introduced at ISMAR, from one of the most prolific AR labs in the world: HIT Labs NZ, courtesy of Mark Billinghurst:

Embedded AR

We have been developing AR software for the Beagle Board OMAP3 development kit. This allows you to run a whole AR system on a $150 piece of embedded hardware and use Linux for development. The OMAP 3 chip is the same that is in many new smart phones so it is a great way to do some benchmarking and prototyping for mobile phone AR applications.

If EmbeddedAR will have similar adoption to the open source Artoolkit, then we’ll soon see AR-enabled devices popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Potentially very cool.

Android AR

We have been developing our own mobile outdoor AR platform based on the Android operating system. We are using GPS and compass information to overlay 3D virtual models on the real world outdoors. Unlike some other systems we support full 3D model loading and also model manipulation, plus rendering effects such as shadows etc.

That’s not as new. Rouli would categorize it as a YAARB™ (Yet Another AR Browser…)
Wikitude and Layar (as well as other browsers) have similar capabilities (or will soon have), and are already open and accessible to many developers.

Want to learn more about it? Check out Android AR.


Just 2 more reasons to go to ISMAR 2009. It is going to be HUGE!

Don’t wait any longer – register Today!

ISMAR 2009: Sneak Preview of Demos at the World’s Best Augmented reality Event

ISMAR 2009, the world’s best augmented reality (AR) event is just 19 days away.

Check out these 8 reasons to attend ISMAR 2009.

If you are into AR – you got to register!

If not – check out some of these upcoming demos – and you’ll become an AR fan instantly.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the demos planned for the event:
Augmented Earth (GA Tech)

6DOF Object Detection (Graz university)

Room design (unknown)

CD and book recognition system (Nokia research Center)


Put a Spell – Learn to Spell with Augmented Reality (presented by Ogmento, developed by Arballoon)

PTAM on iPhone (Georg Klein – Oxford University)

Multiple object recognition – PTAM extension (Robert Castle)

Will Metaio show their Augmented Cards? (Metaio)

Goblin XNA: Infrastructure for Augmented Reality (Columbia University)

Image Space – Social Media Sharing (Nokia)

YVision – AR framework  (YDreams)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Embedded AR (HitLAB NZ)

Android AR (HitLAB NZ)

Tracking a City Model (Graz University)

Jakomini (Graz University)

Shape Recognition and Pose Estimation (HIT Lab NZ and VML)

In-Place 3D Sketching (HIT Lab NZ and VML)

What will you show at ISMAR?

ISMAR 2009: Make the Best Augmented Reality App in Flash and Win a Prize!

ISMAR 2009 proudly announces the first Flash AR Contest sponsored by ARToolWorks. The contest is opened to anyone and is part of the inaugural Arts, Interactive Media and Humanities program for ISMAR 2009.

The best FLARToolKit submission wins $1000 USD.
(we know you’re in it just for the money)

Contest rules:

1. Develop a desktop-based AR application using FLARToolKit that can be run from a desktop PC (using no additional input devices other than a Camera, Keyboard,  and Mouse).

2. Should be relevant for any subject of Arts, interactive Media or Humanities at ISMAR 2009

3. Submit as a zip file and its originality, style and potentially will be judged by a panel of experts during ISMAR 2009.

4. All the applications will be demonstrated on the ISMAR 2009 website and will be made available during ISMAR 2009 for the attendees.

5. The winner will be announced and awarded at the ISMAR 2009 dinner.

6. At the end of the competition, a selected range of applications will be made available on the ARToolWorks website

Start working – competition entries are due by 5pm PST, Friday October 9th!

For more details