AI-enhanced super workers could be a reality with this AR headband that can be fastened to industrial helmets

Frontline workers in hazardous industrial environments are often overworked due to shortage of labor and are exposed to perilous situations, which can lead to errors and increase the proportion of man-made hazards. Since state-of-the-art technology is changing the face of other industries; it is only fitting to integrate augmented reality into the helmet – the most important accessory – of frontline workers at oil & gas plants, power, aviation, railway, and many such industries to solve these problems.

Enter X-Craft – the first augmented reality device to achieve an explosion-proof protection rating. Designed by Rokid, the X-Craft is created in order to bring a technological transformation in the industry and produce a generation of “super workers.” Basically, this is an industrial explosion-proof AR headband that can fit around safety helmets and hard hats to armor frontline workers with technology that can facilitate in inspections, remote collaborations, trainings, and day-to-day operations.

Designer: Rokid

The headband in addition to AI and AR integration is also embedded with a 5G module to ensure brisk processing and real-time information storage and transmission. The headband is further equipped with a 40° field of view (FoV) display – right in front of the eye – and has a movable camera positioned just above. A secondary camera flip to switch is placed further up – around the forehead (when the headband is worn). The display employs waveguide optical technology to ensure it has a see-through aesthetic with high contrast and light transmission of up to 80 percent.

For the ones who work in more high-risk environments, the headband – featuring a user-friendly control knob on the temple – can be further attached with other peripherals and accessories such as industrial endoscope, infrared sensors, etc to enhance its capabilities and be more assistive to workers. Even with all the tech embedded and the possibility of additional attachments, the headband remains comfortable to wear. Its weight is evenly distributed and the headband’s detachable buckle ensures it can be wrapped around a large variety of helmets and hard hats.

Born to assist super workers in the highest-risk environments, the X-Craft is made to beat the elements. The IP66 water and dustproof rated headband can easily process large amounts of information and data over the cloud and facilitate real-time remote collaboration between teams. To ensure what is seen and transmitted is without a glitch, the X-Craft features three AI-enabled noise reduction mics that pick accurate sounds in the nosiest industrial environments.

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The Metaverse is inevitable, and it’s already changing product design as we know it

As virtual and physical worlds collide, the way we design and appreciate products will change forever.

It’s easy enough to downplay the metaverse as an overly hyped buzzword that won’t last a few years. There’s also plenty of reason to be worried when a company like Facebook formally adopts it as its new prime directive. The metaverse, however, will eventually be our future, or at least the technologies that power the metaverse will be. But more than just something that geeks will enjoy, this new version of our reality will also affect everyday life, and it’s already causing a shift in the design world even as we speak.

Designer: Keiichi Matsuda

The Metaverse of Madness

What is this “metaverse” thing in the first place? Just like “the cloud,” the word existed long before it came to the attention of mainstream media and big tech giants, so its meaning might have become a bit muddled by now. It’s also impossible to talk about the metaverse without talking about the different “extended realities” (XR) that preceded it and enables it.

People will probably be most familiar with VR or virtual reality since it has so far been the most accessible to even the common folk. It immerses people in a completely digital world, with almost no connection to reality except as images and videos overlaid in the VR world. In contrast, augmented reality or AR puts digital objects in the real world, mostly to give additional information or put stickers in a mostly passive way. Then there’s the newly-minted “mixed reality” or MR that truly blends the physical and the digital, allowing objects in one world to manipulate the other.

Designer: Microsoft

The metaverse is an application of all these technologies, particularly VR and MR, with the added element of social interaction. Whether that interaction is happening in a completely virtual world or against the backdrop of real-world locations, the metaverse creates a social space where people can experience the same things as others in that same virtual space. It’s this blurring of the boundaries between the real and the digital that is going to inform the field of design in the years to come.

Product Design in a Mixed World

Product design has always been a discipline that aims to create things that give value to people, not just things that are pretty but solve the wrong problems. The metaverse, however, changes the rules on what will be valuable to people, and that will turn the field of product design on its head. In some ways, it improves on age-old processes and makes iterations faster and more efficient, but it also creates dangers that could impact people’s lives in less direct ways.

Products in the metaverse will no longer be limited to the constraints of physical materials and production pipelines. Changing designs on a shoe or even a car can be as simple as changing what people see through their AR headsets or glasses. We already see a shift in that kind of customizable experiences with BMW’s latest concept car, and many companies are already laying the foundations for their metaverse products. Nike, for example, recently acquired a startup that specializes in designing virtual sneakers for the future metaverse. The metaverse could also help make products more sustainable since changing designs or creating new variants will no longer require additional production processes or new materials that would eventually create more waste.

Designer: BMW

At the same time, metaverse-centric products can also reduce their inherent value, or at least the value we place on actual physical objects that actually do something in the real world. Taking the shoe example again, you can have a metaverse shoe that can look outlandish or out of this world in mixed reality, but they might not perform as well as specially-made running or basketball shoes. As human beings with physical bodies, we still put value in things that we can touch and feel, things that tickle the senses beyond sight and sound, things that these digital realities can’t fully replicate yet.

Designer: RTFKT

User Experience by Proxy

The metaverse can also change the way we will experience the world around us, which, in turn, will also change the way designers create products or user experiences. Hyundai, for example, presented the idea of “metamobility,” where Boston Dynamics’ Spot dog can be your physical representative on Mars. That, however, also requires designing new products that will let you physically experience those same sensations as if you were there.

Designer: Hyundai

A lot of these new concepts seem to revolve around cars, particularly the ones that can drive themselves so that humans can enjoy the metaverse in peace. LG’s concept unsurprisingly puts displays around the car’s interior, creating a virtual window into a digital world. Outside of vehicles, we will also need apparel and accessories that will not only reproduce sensations that should be felt in the physical world but also let us control the virtual world as naturally as possible.

Designer: LG

Even everyday products at home will be drastically changed, more in function than in form this time. In the metaverse, reality can be made to look different in a snap, but the underlying physical object still needs to be able to support its intended functions. A couch still needs to be a couch that you can sit on comfortably, no matter the reality. Designers, however, might be less interested in spending time on the finer details if they will be overlaid with a different design anyway.

Designer: Jeongin Lee

The Metaverse will change the Rules, but not yet

From product design to money, the metaverse both promises and threatens to change the world as we know it. It is equally exciting and frightening for everyone, from consumers to creators. The winds of change seem to have started blowing, but the good news is that the big changes aren’t going to happen just yet.

Beyond the hype being pushed by large companies (except Apple, it seems), the metaverse isn’t something that’s going to happen in just a few years, like 5G or a new smartphone. There are too many pieces still missing, starting with the devices that we’ll need to experience this metaverse, like ergonomic mixed reality eyewear. That’s not to say it won’t happen eventually, but the change won’t be as revolutionary as some companies like Meta would have people believe. And that is just fine because it will allow us to better prepare for when it does happen and not have our real reality come crashing down like a web server.

Designer: Panasonic

Designer: Beijing EM3 Technology Co. Ltd.

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Meet Moon, a short throw projector that turns textbooks into learning experiences powered by Augmented Reality

In a world dominated by online learning, the Moon projector offers a hybrid style of teaching, where teachers/mentors can project AR content over their students’ textbooks.

Designed to make learning from home just about as easy and rewarding as actually being around a teacher/tutor, the Moon projector lets teachers interact with students through augmented reality. The projector sits right in front of a textbook, overlaying virtual elements on top of the book’s printed text. Teachers can then interact with students THROUGH the Moon, underlining paragraphs, leaving notes, highlighting images, and even scoring papers in real-time.

The projector comes with a stylus that lets the mentor make digital annotations on the textbook (which then translates onto the textbooks of the students).

The entire experience is even powered by a smartphone app that lets mentor and mentee interact with each other, asking and answering questions, and tracking a mentee/student’s overall progress over time.

Designed to be used by kids in an educational setting, the Moon comes with a simple design and a bare-basics interface. The projector’s soft exterior helps it look friendly and approachable, while big buttons on its upper surface allow kids to control it without being jaded or intimidated.

The stylus, on the other hand, uses a touch-sensitive tip and underlying cameras to track its movement across the textbook. It even comes with a microphone button that allows the mentors to communicate directly with the mentees, sending them voice-note lectures during the online lesson. All in all, the Moon hopes to make the online tutoring/teaching experience frictionless, by offering a tech-enabled alternative to a blackboard/whiteboard and a human mentor/tutor sitting with you and explaining your lessons to you.

Designer: Soomin Son

Apple Glass AR designed to give homage to the retro glasses Steve Jobs wore!

Antonio De Rosa and Apple concepts are the perfect smoothies we love and the Italian designer has surprised me again. This time Antonio has gone for a piece of concept that has a lot of nostalgia as well as the historical value attached to it. Meet the Apple glass concept that pays homage to Steve Jobs favorite pair of prescription glasses – the Lunor Classic PP. Apple co-founder was obsessed with this eyewear ever since he got influenced by the ways of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – who apparently shaped up Steve’s very thought process. After the turmoil of being fired by the board of Apple, he got the pair of circular wire-rim glasses to emulate his hero and ultimately returned stronger than ever as the CEO of Apple. Later on, Steve switched to the rimless brand Lunor Ideal i 380.

Combine that iconic piece of historical magnificence with the brewing rumors of the Apple AR eyeglasses, and it makes for a perfect case. Yes, this concept by Antonio makes even more sense since the world is expecting the augmented reality glasses by Apple to be announced as soon as this year. Having them in the Lunor Classic PP theme will be the apt strategy to go for if Apple is reading this piece. The AR glasses are in the second phase of testing since the start of this year and now this concept design weights its worth in gold. The rounded glass frame coincides with the rumor last year by trusted leakster Jon Prosser who claimed that Apple is working on Steve Jobs Heritage Edition AR eyeglasses.

These countered glasses look absolutely stylish for the generation next crowd- with the frame crafted from lightweight aluminum and the lenses made out of polycarbonate material. The technology of these wearables is honed by an array of six cameras with autofocus lenses, an eye-tracking system with HDR, and gesture recognition. The glasses even track your calorie intake and health status. Coming onto the cameras, two cameras are tucked in the nose-piece assemblies and the other two on the opposite side of each nose piece. Other cameras and sensors take a position in the crossbar connecting the two lenses. What I like the most besides the glasses is the AirPods style charging case for them!

Designer: Antonio De Rosa

Cognixion’s newest wearable is a brain-computer interface that uses AR to convert thought into speech!

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) are essentially communication devices that acquire brain signals to then translate into electrical signals, which are ultimately used to control a device’s operating and navigation system. BCIs were initially developed as assistive devices used to aid people with complex communication disorders such as ALS, muscular dystrophy, and Cerebral Palsy. Since their conception, BCIs have grown with the time’s technological advancements, coming equipped with features such as augmented-reality and robot control. Today, Cognixion ONE, a wearable speech-generating device with AR, is the latest BCI innovation and the first of its kind.

Conixion ONE works simply by strapping the headset on and letting the AR interface guide its user through communication processes. Six non-invasive electrodes manage brain communication by determining where the signals are coming from within the brain and translate its signals into electrical signals that guide users through features like a context-aware predictive keyboard, radial sentence builder tools, an integrated AI assistant, and data streaming. The headset’s dual-display allows users to ask or answer questions, with their responses then getting broadcasted on the display’s front-facing screen. The headset’s AR environment registers signals coming from head movement, voice commands, BCI, and switch controls. Cognixion ONE also comes enabled with 4G LTE to allow for full functionality even on the go and equipped with a USB-C charging port.

The makers behind Cognixion ONE designed the BCI out of necessity– there’s not another BCI on the market that enjoys its many features. Developed by a team of neurologists, biosignal engineers, Speech-Language Pathologists, special educators, as well as individuals who actually use AAC/AT tools in everyday life, Cognixion ONE evolved into the world’s first BCI to use AR to translate thought into speech. With such a well-endowed team of innovators, Cognixion ONE is able to offer speech and an integrated AI assistant for home automation control.

Designer: Cognixion

Cognixion ONE is completely wireless and comes equipped with 4G LTE for use on-the-go!

Cognixion ONE’s headset forms to the person wearing it, adapting to any brain and head shape and size.

Cognixion ONE’s headset registers signal from head pointing, BCI, or switch controls.

With added padding, the makers behind Cognixion ONE ensured that when wearing the headset, the user remains comfortable.

Through AR capabilities, Cognixion ONE guides users through display screens that help generate thought into speech.

Qualcomm has a new reference headset to help fast-track AR development

Qualcomm pulled back the curtain on a mixed reality headset design based on its high-powered XR2 chipset around this time last year, but it still isn’t done with the processor that precedes that one. The company announced today that it will release a...