Wearable Computers & Augmented Reality

Thursday night after work I decided to stop by WEAReABLES for their April event at MaRS; The Father of Wearable Computing & Canadian Premiere of Meta Glasses.

I am glad I got there early! The room filled up quickly after the doors opened at 6pm. I was able to grab three seats near the front for myself and two friends. Tom Emrich started the evening off welcoming everyone and thanking us for making it the biggest event yet. Uproar PR talked about the different PR projects that they are working on in wearable tech and optical character recognition.

Then was the big event! Steve Mann, with his keynote presentation: The Father of Wearable Computing. Steve Mann talked about his different wearable projects throughout his career.

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He showed us a game he built using virtual reality and a doing a plank on a board with a ball underneath. You steered the car by tipping your body to the side and kept it going straight by staying levelled. Then he bought out the work out ball and used us how you can make it harder by balancing your feet on the ball. I saw him do this back in December when some co-workers and I visited his lab at the University of Toronto.

Where the real world and space become one.

After this Steve talked about the Meta 1 Developer Kit, also known has space glasses, that he helped create with a team at Meta (a company in the USA). The glasses work with meta sensing and give people a different/better view of the world, while also allowing them to play games and interact in their surroundings in a different way.


Photo by Rachel Ma

After Steve Mann’s keynote, Todd from Meta talked a bit more about what Meta is working on, including glasses that give you the ability to see in complete darkness, and finding ways to use hand gestures to interact with the world around you.

The magic of meta.

The event wrapped up with a panel, moderated by Tom Emrich, and speakers, Steve Mann, Todd Revolt, Helen Papagiannis, Caitlin Fisher, and Ray Sharma. The panel talked about Augmented Reality in Everyday Life: Wearable Computing.

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The panel compared virtual reality to augmented reality, the differences, which is better, and what was beneficial for both. The panel also answered questions from the audience about where AR is going, the health risks, and the main issue: not knowing how people are seeing them through the glasses.

Most of the panel prefers augmented reality because it allows you to see the real world in a new way, and virtual reality removes you from the real world.

After the panel, Enlightly (winners of the PCH Hardware Hackathon) did a 5 minute pitch about their product and idea. We were running behind on time.

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