In the past week, Olympus, the Japanese technology company best known for its cameras, and American computing titan, Apple, posted notice that Google's Project Glass is going to have competition in the field of Head-mounted Augmented Reality Display (HARD). For its part, as shown in the above photo, Olympus revealed existence of its MEG4.0 project. Based on technology that Olympus has been developing for several years, the MEG4.0 uses Bluetooth, cellphone accessed data streams, a GPS/acceleronmeter combination, and a 320x240 pixel QVGA display to deliver the HARD technology. As was the case in the past when Olympus teamed up NTT DoCoMo in 2010 on the experimental AR Walker project (see video below), it appears the company is going to let its efforts fly under the radar for the time-being by opting to keep publicity confined to the Japanese market. (Click here if you would like to read the Japanese news release).
Meanwhile, over in the Apple camp, on July 3, 2012, the U.S. patent office delivered welcome news that it had been granted patent number 8,212,859 B2, based on its 2006 application for "Peripheral Treatment of Head-Mounted Displays". The exact meaning of this patent left more than a few in the technology press scratching their heads, with some speculating it might mean Apple would soon be revealing technology that would leap-frog Google's Glass Project (contact lenses). For more on this item and the rest of the related developments, use the links below:
- Olympus Takes a Third Stab at Wearable Computer Glasses (July 5, 2012, Wired)
- Is Apple Readying Answer to Google’s Augmented Reality Head-mounted Display? (July 3, 2012, iDownloadBlog)
Comment: As noted back in February on this blog (see: Google's HUD Glasses), the value of this technology in support of the Emergency Services Sector is substantial. Indeed, a recent update on FEMA's Responder Knowledge Base indicates development of the Helmet Embedded Conformal Augmented Display (HECAD) has been moving along well. If Olympus and Apple confirm in the coming months what appears to be their strong interest in the HARD arena, it can only mean good things about the speed at which HECAD technology will be available for the ESS.
Lead photo: Olympus.co.jp