High-tech contact lenses are straight out of science fiction — and may replace smart phones

A concept image showing a contact lens with digital and biometric implants. 

 By Bishakh Rout, McGill University

Contact lenses are the result of an accidental discovery made during the Second World War. Ophthalmologist Harold Ridley noticed that despite acrylic plastic shrapnel shards becoming embedded in the eyes of fighter pilots, it did not appear to cause any harm. This finding eventually led to the creation of hard intraocular lenses for the treatment of cataracts. 

Over the years, new scientific discoveries have led to softer and more comfortable contact lenses. And now, research bringing together chemistry, biology and microelectronics is resulting in contact lenses that are straight out of science fiction.

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Apple Glasses could turn any surface into a touch screen thanks to augmented reality


By Jacinto Araque

Despite the launch of the Google Glass project a few years ago, smart glasses are still a world to be explored, and with the advent of virtual reality and augmented reality, this type of product may take on a totally different dimension than imagined a few years ago.

Apple has already had several winks referring to possible smart glasses, the Apple Glasses, of which there are not many certainties, but that point to become a reality at some point in the near future, and that are still an unknown in some ways.

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The Metaverse Is Coming And It’s A Very Big Deal

By Cathy Hackl

Imagine walking down the street. Suddenly, you think of a product you need. Immediately next to you, a vending machine appears, filled with the product and variations you were thinking of. You stop, pick an item from the vending machine, it’s shipped to your house, and then continue on your way. 

Next, imagine a husband and wife. The husband offers to go to the store but the wife can’t remember the name and type of product she needs. Her brain-computer interface device recognizes it for her and transmits a link to her husband’s device, along with what stores and aisles it’s located in. 

Welcome to the metaverse, alternate digital realities where people work, play, and socialize. You can call it the metaverse, the mirror world, the AR Cloud, the Magicverse, the Spatial internet, or Live Maps, but one thing is for certain, it’s coming and it’s a big deal. 

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Facebook Developing Neural Wristband to Support Augmented Reality Glasses

The Facebook AR-supporting wearable device will be capable of detecting nerve signals to interpret complex hand gestures.

By Reuters

  • This marks as a step-up for Facebook in a hotly contested race 
  • Facebook had said smart glasses would need to rely on devices like phones
  • A wristband would be able to serve as a platform for computing

Wearers of the band would be able to interact with the virtual world with their finger movements.

Facebook said on Thursday it is developing a wristband that would be able to control its augmented reality (AR) glasses that are expected to be launched this year.

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Why Accenture lists ‘digital twins’ as top-five technology trend in 2021

By George Lawton

A digital twin technology is one that creates a virtual replication of a real-world entity, like a plane, manufacturing plant, or supply chain.

Manufacturing companies have increasingly used digital twin technologies to accelerate digital transformation initiatives for product development, and the tech has grown in popularity over the past five years as legacy manufacturers look for ways to keep up with innovative startups like Tesla.

The idea has been around since 2002, when it was coined by Michael Grieves, then a professor at the University of Detroit, to describe a new way of thinking about coordinating product lifecycle management. The concept stumbled along for many years, owing to limits around integrating processes and data across engineering, manufacturing, and quality teams. But it has begun picking up steam, thanks to improvements in data integration, AI, and the internet of things, which extend the benefits of digital transformation efforts into the physical world.

In 2019, Gartner suggested that 75% of organizations would be implementing digital twins within the next year. This year, Accenture has positioned digital twins as one of the top five strategic technology trends to watch in 2021. The reason is that businesses are finally figuring out how to scale these projects across a fleet of projects, rather than a single one-off, Accenture Technology Labs managing director Michael Biltz said.

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Almost a fifth of Facebook employees are now working on VR and AR: report

Nearly 10,000 employees in the Reality Labs division

By Sam Byford

Facebook has nearly 10,000 employees in its division working on augmented reality and virtual reality devices, according to a report in The Information based on internal organizational data. The number means the Reality Labs division accounts for almost a fifth of the people working at Facebook worldwide.

This suggests that Facebook has been significantly accelerating its VR and AR efforts. As UploadVR noted in 2017, the Oculus VR division accounted for over a thousand employees at a time when Facebook’s headcount was 18,770 overall, indicating a percentage somewhere north of five percent. 

Since then, Facebook has shifted its VR focus away from Oculus Rift-style tethered headsets by releasing the Oculus Quest and Quest 2, which are standalone wireless devices that don’t require a PC. The $299 Quest 2 was preordered five times as much as its predecessor, with developers seeing a boost in sales of their existing titles.

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Inside Facebook Reality Labs: The Next Era of Human-Computer Interaction

TL;DR: In today’s post — the first in a series exploring the future of human-computer interaction (HCI) — we’ll begin to unpack the 10-year vision of a contextually-aware, AI-powered interface for augmented reality (AR) glasses that can use the information you choose to share, to infer what you want to do, when you want to do it.

Imagine a world where a lightweight, stylish pair of glasses could replace your need for a computer or smartphone. You’d have the ability to feel physically present with friends and family — no matter where in the world they happened to be — and contextually-aware AI to help you navigate the world around you, as well as rich 3D virtual information within arm’s reach. Best of all, they’d let you look up and stay present in the world around you rather than pulling your attention away to the periphery in the palm of your hand. This is a device that wouldn’t force you to choose between the real world and the digital world.

It may sound like science fiction, but it’s a future that Facebook is building inside our labs. And today, we’ll share our vision for how people will interact with that future.

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The Future of Vision: Augmented reality contact lenses will make you bionic

Augmented reality contact lenses have been “around the corner” for years. They’re finally set to arrive.

By Jeremy Kaplan

A decade ago, Google’s ambitions seemed unchecked: The company would design self-piloting cars through Waymo, sponsor moonbases, and even conquer death. One of the company’s plans: Smart contact lenses to measure the glucose level of your tears — and perhaps help reduce the damage caused by diabetes. “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies, which are helping to refine our prototype,” wrote Google’s Brian Otis and Babak Parvizback in 2014.

Seven years later, the company’s ego remains just as inflated, but Verily’s smart contact lenses are nowhere to be seen; the side project of Google parent Alphabet was officially abandoned in 2018. Yet smart lenses are finally becoming a reality, thanks to the efforts of countless scientists and engineers. And the future of this intriguing technology is nothing like what you might expect.

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Fashion Scoops : Dior is inviting people try on sneakers via augmented reality

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Dior’s new Snapchat lens dedicated to the B27sneakers

The reality of trying on shoes in a store?

Risk of embarrassing sock holes; risk of foot odor, or worse, risk of visible butt cleavage when bending over to tie up laces.

So how about augmented reality? Simply point your smart phone at your feet and instantly see how the shoes look, no matter where you are or what’s on your feet at the moment.

Dior is bringing the latter reality to life with a new Snapchat lens for its B27 men’s sneakers.

Launching today, it allows users to quickly try on six variations, and purchase directly from the Dior channel on Snapchat or on Dior.com.

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The US Army is testing augmented reality goggles for dogs

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The AR goggles will allow military canine handlers to issue commands remotely.

 

The US Army is trialing a new technology that could “fundamentally change how military canines are deployed in the future” — a pair of augmented reality goggles for dogs.

Dogs are put to many uses in modern militaries, from detecting explosives and searching for targets to accompanying infantry patrols in dangerous areas. Usually, handlers issue commands to their dogs using hand signals or laser pointers, but these techniques require line of sight with the dog, limiting how far canines can stray from their humans.

AR reality goggles, though, could let military dogs operate at a distance without handlers losing control. The goggles have a built-in camera that transmits live footage remotely, and a heads-up display that can be used to show commands to the dogs. A dog could be directed to search a specific location, for example, while their handler stays hidden.

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Apple is going big into AR technology after acquiring Dream Works’ former project spaces

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 KEY POINTS

  • Apple is serious in its push for augmented reality technologies
  • The company recently bought a small VR startup
  • The results and benefits of the acquisition remain unknown at the moment

Apple recently acquired a virtual reality experience company, signaling its intention to further its push for augmented reality.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on some head-mounted display devices for AR use, such as the so-called “Apple Glass.” Various patents and the advancements seen via ARKit, as well as other technologies present on the iPhone and iPad Pro, show that the company is serious in its AR push.

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