In the spring of 2009, Vuzix will release a product that could forever change the way we think about advertising: the Wrap 920AV.
Vuzix is a leading manufacturer of video eye wear for the consumer, medical, and defense & industrial markets, and their Wrap 920AV sunglasses will be the first to feature ‘see-thru’ Quantum optics technology, allowing you to see the world around you in addition to the screen in front of you. With this new technology, as well as with their optional six degrees of freedom head tracking system and stereo camera accessories, augmented and virtual reality experiences will be possible that redefine the way we interact with information.
Since this is all very conceptual, perhaps it’s best to look at a few examples of how this new technology could be used in the world of advertising. Previously, we looked at Mini’s Augmented Reality Magazine Advertisement, and how it allowed consumers to interact with a 3D model of the Mini vehicle using existing technologies that almost every new computer owner has access to. While this was great for demonstrating proof of concept, there was still a disconnect between holding the magazine in front of a webcam and then moving the magazine around to view the Mini from different angles, and actually interacting with the Mini as if it were a physical model.
Now imagine viewing that same advertisement, but through a pair of the Vuzix glasses. By using the stereo camera attachment, each screen in the Vuzix glasses would be a live video of what was located directly in front of the glasses, and because you could see around the video screen as well, it would blend into your field of view, adding to your overall experience in a very natural way, rather than removing you from it. Thus, what you would see in front of you would appear to be the ad as if you were looking at it with your very own eyes, but you would actually be seeing a video of the ad being relayed through the cameras.
Unlike your own eyes, the cameras would be feeding through a computer, and that computer could then display a 3D model of the car into your field of view using the screens in front of you. Now though, instead of moving the magazine around to interact with the augmented reality, you could simply move your head around to view the car from different angles as if you were looking at a physical model of the car. Want to look inside or see the car from a different angle? Just move your head as if the car really existed. With almost no learning curve, it would be a very natural and intuitive thing to do.
What separates augmented reality from actual reality though would be the ability to quickly and easily change any part of the car to suit your taste. Want to see how a different set of wheels would look with your favorite color of paint? Just click, and the new wheels would instantly appear on the 3D model. Taking the idea even further into the future, now imagine that you can control the 3D model on your desk using your keyboard. Instead of just viewing the car from different angles, you can now drive it around your desk like a video game, interacting with it as if it were a real toy in front of you.
For another example, imagine a watch company that creates an augmented reality tag that can be included in its magazine ads. By simply placing that tag onto your wrist and then viewing it through the Vuzix glasses, a virtual representation of the watch would appear on your wrist. Sure, you could technically do that now by creating a paper cut out of the watch and placing that on your wrist, but with augmented reality, the watch could instantly transform into any model that the company makes. Plus, instead of just laying on your wrist like a static representation, a watch viewed through augmented reality could actually tick away like a real watch, showing the current time and giving you a very accurate idea of what the real watch would look like on your wrist.
The Possibilities Are Endless
In addition to their stereo camera accessory, their head tracking system would also allow you to move and rotate your viewing perspective forward and backward, up and down, and left and right by just moving your head in the desired direction. To see how this could change the way we think about advertising, imagine a realtor that allows you to take virtual tours of their homes from the comfort of your own home without ever leaving the couch. Or how about an auto company that lets you sit in front of your computer and view the interior of their car as if you were sitting in one on the showroom floor.
While all of the above may have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, we’ve finally reached the point where it’s both economically and technologically feasible to create virtual and augmented reality worlds that the average person can interact with and understand. Of course, like any new technology, it’s going to need a huge amount of adoption to break into the mainstream, but considering the potential that a device like this would enable, I don’t think they’ll have a hard time convincing people to give it a try. The question is, will advertising be ready to utilize this new medium to its full potential?
- Augmented and virtual reality is a technology that already exists.
- Video glasses will allow the average consumer to interact with this technology in a very natural way.
- Price will be affordable for most consumers.
- Needs a large amount of adoption to be economically feasible for advertisers.
- Interactive ads viewed through augmented reality glasses allow consumers to interact with virtual products as if they were physical objects.
Watch Image Via Caitlinator