Form Factor and Computing Power

I think that glasses are the best form factor for augmented reality devices. The problem with glasses is that in the near term they are not large enough to hold the amount of computing power I think they need. An advanced augmented reality device will need two functions: the ability to perform image recognition in 3D space and it real time 3D computer graphics.

The image recognition is needed to recognize human faces. This ability support social augmented reality applications as I have already written about. The image recognition also allows the device to build a model of the 3D world the user sees. It can then project graphics onto objects in real space.

Real time 3D graphics are needed to properly render virtual objects in real space. Virtual object must be sized, shaded, and lit correctly based on what the user is currently seeing through the glasses. This is why it needs to be a real time function like in a first person shooter video game.

To do these the device will require a lot of computing power. It will need a very fast multi-core CPU and a fast GPU. With current technology these won’t fit in a pair of glasses. The user could carry these is a smartphone sized device that communicates wirelessly with the glasses. The glasses would function as camera and display only. For this to work the wireless would have to be fast and low power so it could run all day. And engineers would have to be able to fit the computing power in a small and portable device.

I’m not sure either of these is possible now but they will have to be to make these advanced features available.

Categories: Augmented Reality

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