Discover augmented and virtual reality with an integrated time-of-flight camera.
Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the technologies that hold a special fascination for those who use the applications for the first time. AR is a combination of real and virtual components in one application. The normal camera image which can be seen on the display of a smartphone or a tablet is for example augmented by virtual objects.
The virtual objects seem to exist in reality and can be positioned or moved by the user. In addition to a high computing performance one of the smartphone’s features is decisive: It must be able to measure the environment.
Smartphones with 3D camera
The first smartphones with the required hardware available on the market were the Phab2Pro from Lenovo and the ZenFone from Asus. Both are based on the Tango platform Google developed for Android in cooperation with partners. Both smartphone models use an integrated 3D camera from pmdtechnologies that is based on the time-of-flight technology. This allows three-dimensional vision – together with the motion sensors in the device an important prerequisite for measuring the environment. Numerous Android apps using AR technology are already available in the Google Playstore. Even if most of these apps are demo apps and games today, this new technology will become accepted in other application fields soon.
AR interface to be put on
When smartphones are used, the interaction with the AR applications is often limited because the user has to hold the device in his hand and has to handle it using the display. Headsets which can be used like a pair of glasses open up new possibilities.
Another product that also uses a 3D camera from pmdtechnologies is the Meta 2 AR headset. The integrated camera technology allows to detect the user’s hands which can be used to get in direct interaction with the virtual objects. This enables operation in the three-dimensional space instead of using the common two-dimensional interfaces, mouse, display or keyboard. The user can for example pick up, move, turn a virtual object he sees in front of him or manipulate it in a different way. This is facilitated by the user not needing his hands to hold and use the smartphone.
The future is today
The technology of the 3D cameras is sophisticated and the series units available on the market such as the Phab2Pro and the ZenFone are already in use. However, augmented reality applications are still in the development stage. The new technology and its use will however not be a long time coming. The way we will work in the future could thus change considerably.
Threedimensional detection and analysis with the O3D sensor by ifm. Do you want to learn more about the O3D?
ifm is a manufacturer of sensors, communication and control systems. After many years of intensive cooperation with our customers we have established ourselves in the market as service-oriented sensor specialists and today we are represented by more than 6,700 employees in over 70 countries worldwide.
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