Monday, September 19, 2016

Augmented Reality Snorkeling

Project Status: Still Dreaming

The Idea

I would love to design a mask for divers/snorkelers with an integrated heads-up display, commonly referred to as a HUD. I would like to have a clear window for the swimmers to see what is going on around them as they normally would and I would want to project or reflect images onto this window.

The device would process what is visible to the diver and augment this field of view with interesting information. This is a hands-free device, though the user could control the system by making hand gestures in front of the window. For example, acting as if you were wiping the screen could clear the interface.

I would take advantage of both speech processing and audio communications from other divers nearby. Thus allowing more control over the interface and more interactive fun with other people wearing the same headsets.

A Starting Point

Check out the H2O Ninja Mask featured in the video below. Here you see a product that could easily be altered to develop this underwater HUD gaming/educational platform.

Similar Projects

After a quick search I did come across something called Project Nautilus VR which had a Kickstarter page. Sadly it looks as though the project did not receive enough backing to get going. You can check out their video below.

Project Nautilus VR is an attempt at virtual reality, meaning they replace and control your entire view. I would rather a project that is augmented reality, meaning you still see the outside world but you add content to it. Although you could easily cheat an augmented view with their project by showing the live camera and drawing on top of it, my main concern is safety when the system lags or is buggy. I also believe the experience you have and the realistic feeling are both diminished when you jump from augmentation to a complete virtual view.

I'm not sure what happened to these guys or what they are up to today if they aren't still working on Project Nautilus VR, but whatever it is I wish them the best.

Product Uses and Real World Applications

Not sure why you would want an underwater heads-up display with augmented reality? Whether you are in the backyard pool or the Caribbean, honestly the possible uses are only limited by your imagination. Let me give you a few ideas:

  • Education:
    • Want to know what kind of fish that is in front of you?
    • How about finding out some more information about that coral reef you shouldn't be touching there?
    • What if you could project different species to learn about onto your mask?
  • Health / Fitness:
    • Want to race against your best time from previous swims?
    • Would you like to track and learn from your swimming stats, in real-time?
  • Gaming:
    • How about some capture the flag, maybe with virtual bases and communications between team members?
    • Want to see if you can play keep away, with some virtual sharks?