BMW thinks augmented reality can help you drive better. Mini, the auto manufacturer’s UK-based small-car subsidiary, unveiled its concept for augmented-reality driving glasses. Currently a research prototype, the glasses enable motorists to see navigation details, speed and other information overlaid onto a heads-up display.
The glasses are powered by a Qualcomm 805 Snapdragon processor, have 2GB of RAM and are equipped with two HD displays. Drivers activate and control functions via buttons on the top of the frames.
In addition, Mini added additional cameras to the passenger side of the car, which the company says gives wearers a kind of “X-ray vision.” By looking down toward the right corner of their car, drivers trigger the outside cameras and get a view of the feed. This feature could help drivers check blind spots, or aid with parallel parking by enabling them to see how close they are to the curb. Mini says it’s also considering adding eye-tracking and voice-control features in future versions.
The prototype we used got considerably hot after a 15-minute demo, which included a brief calibration process. And while the glasses weren’t uncomfortable to wear, certain features (like the “X-ray vision” feed) felt a bit distracting during the driving simulation. Augmented reality also isn’t an area known for its fashion sense, so we’ll have to see whether people will respond to the goggle-like glasses. (BMW says the concept was designed with old-fashioned aviator goggles in mind.)
The glasses are still in prototype form — intended more for research purposes than anything else at this point — but BMW says it chose Mini as its test case due to the subsidiary’s younger demographic (who may be more receptive to new technology) and reputation as a “fun” car. Read more…