Thankfully Mini’s take on Google Glass is only at the prototype stage because if they were on sale we’re quite sure the people wearing them would be arrested by the security forces for being a national fashion threat.
Despite our amusement at the thought of people wearing Mini Augmented Glasses the underlying technology is interesting. MINI Augmented Vision Project Manager, Dr. Jörg Preißinger, explains “MINI Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a MINI car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future,”
In a statement Mini said “Using see-through technology, the AR eyewear shows relevant information in the driver’s direct field of vision but without concealing other road users, thereby serving to increase safety and comfort while driving.”
In other words its like wearing a heads-up display system but in a form factor and design that is an acquired taste to say the least.
Mini has developed the technology with several Qualcomm companies, curiously they refrain from revealing six of those companies. But we do at least know of Qualcomm, if you don’t know who or what Qualcomm is then lets just say it makes the hardware that powers the majority of smartphones and tablet devices.
The Mini Augmented Vision is able to project a number of functions into the field of view when worn such as;
Destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle: Selecting destination points when outside the vehicle, then transferring them to the vehicle.
First Mile / Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination.
Head-up display functions: Display of speed, speed limits etc. in the eyewear so the information is in the driver’s primary field of view, with data always shown in same place above steering wheel to make sure that no road users are concealed from sight.
Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest: Reality is enhanced by contact-analogue navigation arrows “on” the road, as well as display of points of interest along the route, such as open parking spaces. The driver´s attention can always stay focused on the traffic.
Messaging: A small icon is shown in the eyewear when a message is received. The SMS/message can then be read out by the car while driving for safety.
X-Ray View / transparent vehicle parts: A virtual view through parts of the vehicle (such as A-pillars and doors) serves to render external areas or objects concealed by the car visible.
Augmented Parking: This facilitates parking by projecting the images from a camera housed in the (farside) mirror into the eyewear. In this way, the distance from the curb can be clearly and easily ascertained.
We say exciting, interesting but the next generation of augmented vision technology will not require glasses to be worn. In the future “augmented vision” will be projected onto the windscreen itself, the technology to do so is already here but its at the developmental stages.
So lets hope Mini’s Augmented Vision is just an experiment because in reality the technology will work without fault but in the world of fashion they would be a total fail. Just like Google Glasses. In the mean time we’ll stick to our tried and trusted set of Ray Ban Aviators.
Oh the simplicity of sunglasses.