New augmented reality goggles are helping Marine mechanics perform maintenance on vehicles in about half the usual time. The futuristic headgear displays precise instructions on top of real-world settings, and shows how to complete certain tasks, such as wiring up an ignition coil.
Similar augmented reality (AR) devices have already helped astronauts carry out repairs on the International Space Station, and could aid civilians tinkering with their BMWs in the home garage. But the new goggles developed by Columbia University researchers provide solid proof of how the devices can improve human performance.
Besides the heads-up display, the AR system uses text instructions, floating labels, arrows and even 3-D models of tools needed for various tasks. An Android smartphone provides the wrist interface for cueing up new instructions.
We're looking forward to seeing this and other AR devices seep into both military and civilian life in ever greater numbers. An MIT augmented reality device previously won one of PopSci's Inventions Awards, showing the possibilities of interfacing online information with the real world. Some PopSci readers may also remember our July issue, which allowed people with webcams to play with virtual wind turbines popping off the magazine cover.
[via Technology Review]
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.