Wereables for Vision: Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Wearables, key pieces in the development of virtual reality and augmented reality

Technological development and mediation have revolutionized the way we relate to the environment, allowing us to overcome the limits of physical perception, and resulting in a more interactive, dynamic and complete user experience. Imagine being able to change songs just by blinking your eyes, or interacting with a giant spider… well on second thoughts the spider had better stay in the chapter of the Black Mirror where it belongs (second chapter of the third season).

Beyond fiction, current technological developments allow us to enter fantastic worlds and interact with them, or to design a house using a 3D projection. We are talking about virtual reality and augmented reality.

These two ways of experimenting and interacting with the environment are born, to a large extent, of a formula combining visual perception and portable devices. Wearables play a fundamental role in the development of new modes of perception and interaction with the environment.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality offers the user an immersive experience in a digitally created fictional world. To bring the experience to life requires the use of portable devices such as glasses, headphones and other elements such as hand controllers. These wearables enable the projecting of the virtual world and also detect the individual’s movements.

Currently, virtual reality finds its main application in the leisure and video game sector. Although this market offers a wide variety of accessories to enjoy, Oculus is the brand that currently leads the market: “No computers, no cables, no limits.” This game system ranks second in our ranking of the best wearables of 2019.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality on the other hand adds layers of virtual information to physical reality. Contrary to virtual reality, it uses the physical world as one of the elements of the experience. The goal of augmented reality is not to create a sense of isolation and immersion, but to improve reality by facilitating access to additional information and offering new opportunities.

Sight is the main sense via which augmented reality is perceived. Here are some examples of wearables which push the limits of our perception.

Mira Prism

These inexpensive augmented reality glasses project a mobile phone screen onto a transparent surface. Currently they are often used in work environments to improve productivity and coordination between teams, since the glasses allow interaction with holograms through gestures, head movements and voice commands.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

After the failure of Google Glass when it was initially presented in 2017, three years later the company presented this new model for business and industrial sectors where, excuse the pun, augmented reality is now a reality.

Form Swim Goggles

The swimming goggles of the future. Made specifically for swimmers, this portable device provides the wearer with information in real time about different aspects their training, including duration, stroke frequency, pace, distance, calories burned and heart rate.

Smart lenses for augmented reality

There are currently around eleven organizations, including both companies and academic institutions, working on research and development of the latest innovation in terms of augmented reality: autonomous and smart lenses.

Still in a primitive stage of development, these wearables are intended to be worn directly on the eye, to delay or monitor the development of health problems such as hyperopia, diabetes and glaucoma. Versions are also in development which improve existing vision by increasing night vision capacity or magnify objects in the visual field.