AR Walker brings augmented reality to glasses

Concept kit shown off

AR Walker brings augmented reality to glasses

Augmented reality may still be seen as limited to smartphones but Japanese phone company DoCoMo has been doing a little experimenting with the technology and has found a way to port it into everyday glasses.

Although DoCoMo showed off a number of interesting things at CEATEC 2011, the AR Walker was not on the show floor. TechRadar had to go to the company's offices in Japan to get a demo of the kit that is still very much in concept stage.

The idea is clear, though: out the AR glasses on and you will be given visual hints and tips about the area around you.

AR walker

For instance, there is a mapping system that will guide you by overlaying arrows over your peripheral vision. And, like numerous AR apps found on the Android Market, if you look at a restaurant, information about that restaurant will appear.

It's not the glasses that offer this technology, but a little gyroscopic sensor that clips on to any head-mounted display. Although we had to hold this in place in the demo we were given, the sensor was clipped to a pair of glasses, and was so small that it didn't obstruct vision.

AR walker

There's definitely some niggles with the technology. For a start, it took a long time for our eyes to adjust to the tiny screen that feeds you information. We found ourselves closing one eye when using it as well, as the sensor only goes over one eye.

But, the premise does intrigue. We went through a virtual walking tour and prompts told us where to look and it did work, even if your brain is confused throughout the whole process.

AR walker

What we would like to see is an app like Layar take advantage of this future technology. Having augmented reality on your phone is fine, but you still have hold up your handset to get the information.

If this was piped straight to a pair of glasses you were wearing instead, then there's opportunities for the tech but it is all rather silly.