April 1, 2009 Vuzix, the creator of the VR920 Virtual Reality Video iWear, has showcased some exciting new accessories to compliment its 3D visor. Dubbed the Augmented Reality Accessory Kit, the add-ons consist of a clip-on USB camera and a wand-like input controller which the company promises will "allow the user to perceive and interact with the real world in ways they have never dreamed of before".
Partnering with Metaio, which is known for its artificial reality software, Vuzix demonstrated some fun applications of the technology at the 2009 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. These included superimposing a simple scenery constructed with LEGO with 3-D animated characters that literally pop out of the scene, or 3-D additions to printed books to make the scenery seemingly come alive.
The clip-on USB camera - the CamAR, - attaches onto the iWear goggles and allows the user to see the real world, accurately tracking external objects as well as the user’s position in 3-D space.
The second addition is the PhasAR, a wireless augmented reality input controller,which is to be used in unison with the CamAR. The PhasAR is a wand-like device that functions in a similar capacity to a controller for the Nintendo Wii. It allows users to interact with virtual, mixed and augmented reality worlds with 6 degree of freedom tracking system that lets the computer know exactly where the user is touching in the virtual and real worlds. Depending on the application, the PhasAR can become anything from a powerful virtual magic wand to a 3-D virtual paint brush. One of the demo's at the GDC saw the PhasAR being portrayed as a gun inside a typical First Person Shooter.
Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO, said “This capability, known as Augmented Reality, will open up new applications in the gaming, education and business sectors. The applications for gaming and education will range from books that come alive to interactive worlds with 3-D characters... why play video games on your flat panel when it can be brought right into your living room?”