Hundreds of techies gathered recently in the main auditorium of the MaRS district in downtown Toronto for a presentation featuring Steven Mann as the keynote speaker. Mann, a serial inventor who has been involved with field of AI for decades, is known as the father of wearable computers , and the audience was not disappointed as he presented the AR eye wear, known as Meta for the first time in Toronto. The MaRS district, in the heart of downtown Toronto was started in 2000, and is a non-profit organization, designed to foster the growth of Canadian technology. Startup organizations are offered the opportunity to receive consultations from experts, market research and even venture capital funding
Meta appears ready to emerge as one of the more desirable units that features augmented reality or AR as it is commonly called. Wearers can a literally create their own world as the technology allows the addition of animated layers to what is present in the real world. Unlike its cousin, Virtual reality, where everything is virtual , the wearers still remain in contact with what appears in the environment, and this is the technology on which Google Glass was based.
Among his accomplishments, Dr Mann who graduated from MIT in ’97 and was the chair of the IEEE, is also a professor of Engineering at the University of Toronto, was the developer of the precursor of what became known as Google Glass with a device known as Eye Tap.
Interestingly enough while also being chief scientist at Meta, one of his projects include the technology, to detect what can be thought of as being invisible. He has also been heavily involved with the field of surveillance for a very long time , and although it may be difficult to describe from a technical point of view, it is now possible to detect and observe the light rays that are being emitted from surveillance cameras. We can actually see the light.
The area of Augmented Reality is expected to begin rapid expansion in the near future, and there are already applications in the field of navigation,as 3D maps can be overlay-ed to offer the experience of navigation around a city that you may not have yet visited. In the area of education, it may be possible to learn to play instruments as Meta supports both audio and video transmission. There are even greater expectations in the area of commerce, with the ability to browse stores anywhere from a mobile device and when a tactile response is added, it will then be possible to touch and feel the fabric on try on clothing without leaving your home or office.
Funding for the project, originally began in June of 2013, on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, but has since evolved to where more than $23 million has been raised with contributions from venture capital investors.
Meta has now made an SDK available to developers, and many new applications are expected.
The team includes, not only the AR pioneer Steve Mann, but also some of the brightest minds in the field of AR, such as Jayse Hansen, the creator of the User Interfaces seen in many of the block buster movies such as Ironman and the Hunger Games.