The company Meta does exactly what its name implies, as its Meta 1 glasses are able to overlay metadata on to a person’s field of view. So, while looking at the real-world, the meta glasses add vital information that could potentially help a worker learn a task, enrich a travel adventure or improve a gaming experience. What sets Meta apart is its Natural User Interface that is enabled thanks to the 3D time-of-flight depth camera (think technology used in popular gaming systems) and 360 degree head tracking that allows one to literally reach out and touch virtual objects in space.
In the above video, filmed on the exhibit floor of the 2015 Augmented World Expo, I had a chance to try the Meta 1. It is clear that, at least today, it takes some practice for certain people (this author) to efficiently interact with virtual objects (watch me flail). Still, as pointed out in today’s Wall Street Journal, virtual reality is the wave of the future; a future which isn’t 20 years away, but could be less than five years. And the so-called, killer apps, may not be associated only with fun and games, but could be much more mundane like the aforementioned work-related tasks (more on that in a future post).
As was pointed out in that article, many of these advances may find a home in smartphones. Or, it may be that these types of headsets house the smarts of the smart phone (similar to how the smart phone subsumed things like GPS, MP3 players, etc.). The Meta devices already have many of the elements of a smart phone, as they have Dolby-3d audio, gyroscope, compass, accelerometer and a 9-axis inertial measurement unit.
Keep both eyes on Meta, as they are sure to be in the mix as this brave new virtual world unfolds.