A new re­al­ity

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECH WORLD -

Con­cep­tu­alised in the 1920s as a novice pi­lot train­ing de­vice, vir­tual re­al­ity was pop­u­larised in the 1990s as new age gam­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Vir­tual re­al­ity of­fers the user an ar­ti­fi­cial vis­ual en­vi­ron­ment based on cer­tain pro­gram­ming but iso­lates users from real life and only stim­u­lates sight, leav­ing the four other senses be­hind.

A step up from that, aug­mented re­al­ity com­bines vir­tual re­al­ity and real life. The tech­nol­ogy has been used as a nifty ad­ver­tis­ing strat­egy by many big brands from beauty prod­uct gi­ants to fa­mous coffee chain out­lets since the early half of the 2010s.

The gen­eral idea of an aug­mented re­al­ity fea­ture is that when your smart de­vice scans a spe­cially de­signed ar­ti­cle such as an im­age on an ad­vert, you can stream ex­clu­sive con­tent or per­form a cer­tain func­tion on your mo­bile de­vice.

Tech com­pa­nies are now think­ing of tak­ing aug­mented re­al­ity to the next level. By us­ing your mo­bile de­vice or a smart view­ing de­vice such as smart glasses, you can now not only view your e- mails as holo­grams right in front of your face but also in­ter­act with the holo­gram by nav­i­gat­ing func­tions with sim­ple swipes and flicks.

Since the launch of Google’s smart glasses, de­vel­op­ers are push­ing the bound­aries of cre­at­ing smart glasses that can do more than just take pic­tures or videos.

Meta, an aug­mented re­al­ity de­vel­oper, is paving the way for the de­vel­op­ment of aug­mented re­al­ity glasses.

With the de­vel­op­ment of its se­cond pro­to­type, the Meta2, users can now im­merse them­selves in a lim­it­less dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence that ex­tends be­yond the do­mains of a com­puter screen and in­te­grates with the or­ganic en­vi­ron­ment.

With­out the need of fancy hand ges­tures, Meta2 al­lows users to in­ter­act with holo­graphic three­d­i­men­sional im­ages like they are real ob­jects.

It also al­lows you to col­lab­o­rate with other Meta2 users and can be used in a myr­iad of ap­pli­ca­tions such as in education, re­mote con­trol, de­sign and medicine.

Mem­o­rable themes of ex­oskele­tons are found ev­ery­where in pop cul­ture, not least in films rang­ing from Aliens in 1986 to Ely­sium in 2013. Ex­oskele­tons are the fan­tasy tech­nol­ogy ev­ery­one is look­ing to make into a re­al­ity.

A lot of em­pha­sis of ex­oskele­ton tech­nol­ogy is put into mil­i­tary and weaponry de­vel­op­ment but the ap­pli­ca­tions of ex­oskele­tons have also been used in the field of medicine as a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion tool for dis­abled and paral­ysed pa­tients.

One such com­pany to head­line in this tech­nol­ogy is ReWalk, which is help­ing wheel­chair- bound pa­tients walk upright with mo­tor guid­ance at the hip and knee joints.

Ex­oskele­ton de­vel­op­ers are now in­tro­duc­ing the tech­nol­ogy at a com­mer­cial level es­pe­cially in con­struc­tion and the han­dling of heavy ma­chin­ery.

Th­ese ex­oskele­tons will en­able users to ex­ert less en­ergy when they are per­form­ing an ac­tion and also pro­tect them from in­juries while per­form­ing such ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ekso Bion­ics, an­other ex­oskele­ton de­vel­oper, ini­tially delved into pro­duc­ing “iron suits” for the US mil­i­tary but then ven­tured into physio- re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for peo­ple who have suf­fered strokes or are re­cov­er­ing from ac­ci­dents.

They have now in­tro­duced a new line of ex­oskele­ton devices that can aid con­struc­tion work­ers in han­dling heavy equip­ment.

At the mo­ment, th­ese devices work in ana­logue, us­ing sim­ple physics to dis­trib­ute weight evenly so that the user can use heavy ma­chin­ery with lit­tle or no ef­fort.

Pow­ered ex­oskele­tons, which re­quire an en­ergy source, and me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal hard­ware are in the works to al­low reg­u­lar peo­ple to per­form ar­du­ous ac­tiv­i­ties with min­i­mal man­power.

Aug­mented re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy al­lows users to im­merse them­selves in dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ences.

Ex­oskele­tons help peo­ple walk upright with mo­tor guid­ance.

Devices such as the Meta2 aug­mented re­al­ity glasses com­bine dig­i­tal con­tent and the or­ganic en­vi­ron­ment.

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