The Future of Vision Workshop

Technologies for augmented eyes

19 March Mar 2015

In 2014, Design Group Italia hosted a workshop with the theme of new technologies in the field of vision. The focus of the workshop was on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and eye-tracking. Our guests were JoinPad, one of the most advanced augmented reality companies in Italy. Their core competence is developing and supporting applications for the industrial sector. JoinPad develops software solutions that offer an innovative and extremely user-friendly way to interact with the environment.

Design Group Italia’s IoT team received a deep explanation of the differences between AR and VR and their pros and cons. AR glasses feature transparent screens, which enable the overlay of digital content onto the real environment, while VR glasses provide an immersive experience by blocking the vision of the outside world.

The team had the chance to test three of the most advanced devices available to develop applications; Epson Moverio BT-200 for AR, Oculus Rift DK2 for VR, and Tobii Glasses for eye tracking.

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We then focused on the creation of a concept for an AR app that would take advantage of the features of the Epson glasses, namely their lightweight and portability. The user could interact with the glasses through a smartphone-like device with a touchpad in place of the screen. The app also provided the power, memory, and the connectivity required for the applications to run without the need to be tied to a computer. Two teams were created by mixing people from Design Group Italia and JoinPad. Within a few hours the two teams developed two concepts.

Restaurant Advisor

An application for travellers looking for a place to eat. When looking at a restaurant, information would be displayed such as a rating score, reviews, price range, and food style. The app would translate menus and reviews into the language of the user. While looking at a menu, the user would see special offers just for people using the app. After the meal, the user could choose to leave a review by vocal dictation.

Augmented City Mapper

An application to help people navigate around cities and public transportation. Users would be able to receive directions through their glasses. While waiting for public transport the user would receive information such as arrival time. While on a train or bus, the user would be informed on the amount of travel time remaining and a notification for when they had arrived at their destination. The team also thought of adding eye-tracking technology that could track the points of interest based on what the viewer looked at the most, for example, different types of shops, monuments, or museums.