Augmented Reality, we’ve seen it, tried it, bought it and seen what all the fuss is about. From Google Glass, to Holo-Lens and everything in between, they all do the same thing: give us something cool to look at.
BMW, in a partnership with SoC manufacturer Qualcomm, just joined the fray with their own variant of AR glasses – aimed specifically at those driving a Mini. While this may seem a tad strange, it’s actually worth a second glance. Read on to find out more (In case you didn’t know, Mini is a British automotive marque now owned by BMW).
Called the “Mini Augmented Vision AR glass”, the device will essentially take the HUD technology currently seen in some vehicle models today, and provide you with an “in-your-face” experience. The features of the HUD are, of course, a lot more sophisticated than what you usually see on the dashboard. It uses ODG’s R-6 Smart Glasses and uses Qualcomm’s Vuforia AR tech to bring BMW’s vision of in-car displays to life.
In the car, for example, you can see your current speed and upcoming street names hovering just above you with animated arrows showing where to turn. You can use the glasses’ X-Ray feature to look through the passenger side of the vehicle to see any oncoming objects such as random skateboarders or even stray animals (but sadly no, no Superman stunts). The X-ray feature uses camera placed on the passenger side door that relays information to the glass. You can even have incoming text messages read out to you.
The one-time initial configuration is fairly straight forward. Put on the glasses and keep one eye closed. Then you align a frame in the display with a frame on a poster, and then repeat the process with the other eye. In case you’re outside the vehicle, you can control the display via a button on the right temple — swipe up and down to navigate and press to select.
Those who have used the glasses do say that they are a bit on the heavy side and tend to heat up after a while. But all in all, the concept does have its advantages. No pricing or launch dates have been set as of current. Let’s just see how far BMW can drive the new (or not-so-new) technology.