We seem to be on a collision course with wearable computing. Google Glass, while still in beta, has engendered a massive cultural backlash but that hasn’t appeared to have killed the consensus that some form of wearable computing is going to be the standard within a decade.
That’s led to a lot of augment reality dream, but it leaves one gaping question: how are we going to interact with the data layer of real world objects.
German augment reality design firm Metaio has an elegant answer: we’ll just touch them. As Engadget’s Mariella Moon (@mariella_moon) explains, Metaio’s deign relies on the thermal imprint left behind after a touch to track user intent. (Style note: Moon uses “smartglass” to refer to a head’s up display, not to the Microsoft app of the same name.)
When you do touch something, the system will complete the experience with augmented reality — for instance, “clicking” Like on a physical magazine will show you an animation of the action through your smartglass. While the technology’s far from coming to market, the company says it has a lot of potential applications. People can use it to play virtual board games, designers can use it to visualize their creations in 3D before making real-world versions and it can add digital content to toys, among many other possibilities.
Of all the design ideas for AR interfaces I’ve ever heard of this one is the most interesting and elegant. Cue the speculation on which tech giant is going to snap up the company and its designs.