Make Room For K-Glass - Amazing Wearable Technology Simulates Human Vision
Wearable technology is a burgeoning fiscal force in South Korea and the government has been pushing the scientific community to develop more “creative” concepts in this field for the sake of the country’s future economic status. In the words of a government spokesman:
“Wearable devices today come with limited functions like checking a user’s health condition or linking information through smart-phones, checking emails and schedules. But in the future, the application is expected to expand to cover products used in everyday life including outfits and tools used under high-risk situations like fire-fighting and national defense.”
The Popularity of Head-Mounted Displays
Many experts believe that Optical Head Mounted Displays (OHMD) will eventually supercede smart-phones because augmented reality has so much more to offer the average mobile user in all aspects of daily life ranging from culture to education, business and entertainment.
K-Glass and The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
A team of South Korean researchers headed by professor of Engineering, Yoo Hoi-jun from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), claim they have developed an electronic eyewear with a special built-in chip that functions just like human vision. This augmented reality chip processes visual data without relying on barcodes or other markers.
K-Glass and Google Glass
Google Glass as indicated above, is a small, rectangular wearable computer equipped with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) attached to the frame of spectacles that presents data in a format similar to a smart-phone, communicating via voice commands. K-Glass is a bulkier alternative, although the two share some properties. Its creators claim that this low-powered, high-performance electronic eyewear goes far beyond the scope of Google Glass and anything else that has ever come before. Based on the Visual Attention Model (VAM) that duplicates the ability of the human brain to process visual data, the scientists at KAIST have created an AR chip with a data processing network very much like the human brain’s central nervous system in the sense that the artificial neural network allows for parallel data processing.
K-Glass differs from others of its ilk because it generates the augmented reality experience not with codes and other methods to establish virtual reality as other HMDs, but by duplicating the process used by the human brain to establish our surroundings.
K-Glass’s augmented reality processor can transform the most mundane activities. For example, a user can stand outside a restaurant and look up at the name, which will conjure a 3-D image of the menu of the day and food. K-Glass can go even further by indicating how many tables are available inside the restaurant.
According to Yoo Hoi-jun: “Our processor can work for long hours without sacrificing K-Glass's high performance, an ideal mobile gadget or wearable computer, which users can wear for almost the whole day.”
K-Glass Versus Virtual Reality
In the case of virtual reality, a computer-simulated environment replaces the real world. Augmented reality (AR) is customized and personal, incorporating computer-generated data into a specific user’s reality. Augmentation is in real time and concerns only data that is related to the specific interaction. For example, when a user passes by a movie theater, the show schedule will be listed and not the hours of a nearby store or restaurant.
K-Glass and The Future
K-Glass still has a way to go before it is ready for commercialization. Despite this, Yoo and his team are looking ahead and are open to selling K-Glass to powerhouse companies such as Google and Samsung. Its energy efficient scope, which is said to consume about 76 % less power than other similar devices expands usage to an entire day as opposed to Google Glass which can go for about two hours. This coupled with augmented reality’s ability to refine and customize user experiences, makes K-Glassa concept ready to overtake current smart phone capacity. Time will tell on the future of K-Glass but there seems little doubt that head mounted displays and augmented reality are far beyond the realm of science fiction and are here to stay.