updated 11:12 am EST, Thu February 21, 2013
AR system superimposes computer imagery over users vision
Canon has put its augmented reality system on sale in the United States. The MREAL Mixed Reality system, consisting of the MP-100 software platform and the HM-A1 headset, allows wearers to see computer-generated 3D images superimposed over what they are looking at, giving users an idea of what an object would be like virtually before making a physical version.
The headset uses a pair of cameras to film what a person would be looking at, and using a number of sensors to work out exact positioning, overlays parts of the image with graphics before displaying it on screens in front of the user's eyes. Using objects with special markers, the system knows what specific item can be overlaid with a virtual object, and what orientation it needs to be generated in. Optional controllers can be used to manipulate the virtual objects in real-time.
The MREAL system has been on sale to businesses in Japan for a number of months already, and is being released in the US from March 1st. Aimed towards product design teams and other creative industries, including for architectural and entertainment purposes, MREAL systems start from around $125,000, with a $25,000 annual fee for maintenance.