Get Metaverse ready with this set of modular gaming controllers designed for the future of Generation Alpha!




 

Vers is a set of controllers designed for Generation Alpha to traverse the transformed incoming video game landscape, where VR and AI are in and AR is out.

With the arrival of each new generation, our world becomes more immersed in technology. Succeeding Gen Z, Generation Alpha will be the first generation to be entirely born and shaped in the 21st century. As such, their lives have been defined by smart technology, Artificial Intelligence, and virtual reality.

In response, designers have been busy conceptualizing tech accessories to bridge reality with its virtual iterations. Vers, a set of controllers designed to traverse digital metaverses, was developed by Ye Jin Kim and Hayeon Yoo for Generation Alpha.

Nicknamed the Glass Generation, those who belong to Gen Alpha primarily experience the digital reality encased beneath their glass smartphone screens. The arrival of the Glass Generation means that our digital mediums are evolving.

Of course, that means the ways we interact with digital interfaces must evolve too. With VR and metaverses becoming the norm within the realm of video games, Kim and Yoo designed Vers because “controllers are no longer restricted to stationary, passive interactions.”

Vers is comprised of five components, all of which are contained within a cushioned, minimalist controller box. In order to appeal to Gen Alpha’s millennial parents, the controller box maintains an inconspicuous, yet modern look. Inside the hexagonal controller box, users will find a set of two pads that can be used for jumping and running, a pair of ergonomic nunchuck controllers, and a camera console.

The pair of ergonomic controllers also keep a modular design that allows for versatile gaming experiences. Transforming the controller from its original remote form to an upright position, the controller mirrors each user’s moves à la VR remotes. Then, the couple of magnetic mesh cushioned pads have a silicone underside so that kids can jump and stomp freely without slipping.

Designers: Ye Jin Kim and Hayeon Yoo







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Metaverse keyboard transforms boring computer workspace into a cool 3D space for freedom of productivity!

The Metaverse Keyboard traverses our plain old workspace into a mixed reality workspace – perfectly in cohesion with the core idea of the metaverse and its applications!

Author Nel Stephenson came up with the term “metaverse” in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash” and fast-forward to the present day, it looks more likely we’ll be living in a hyper-realistic world within a digital universe in the near future. Reminds me of the movie Ready Player One, and the rendered 3D virtual worlds will one day be our life. Sounds exciting as well as scary, don’t you think so?

Visionaries are eying the metaverse-dominated future, take for example Mark Zuckerberg with his Meta (formerly Facebook) or Bill Gates with the mixed reality and augmented reality projects such as Hololens 2 headset. Of course, NFTs are slowly becoming popular with the masses, and having a unified ecosystem of the metaverse for applications input methods is most important. So why shouldn’t we go beyond the 2D space for our screen real estate and dive into the 3D realms actuated by a Metaverse keyboard? Something beyond the game and experience themes for daily tasks such as working on the PC?

Product designer Heewon Jung and Designer Dot feed the metaverse dream with the right kind of fuel with their cool Metaverse Keyboard that syncs with the virtual reality and augmented reality technology to go beyond the plane of information for the future work environment. It’s like a 3D world right in front of your eyes while working – with the 3D space actuated joysticks that accompany the keyboard. Yes, the logical progression to your PC mouse which operates in a 2D space. So the idea is simple – when you want to experience the 3D world for better understanding, just take out the cool trackpad dubbed Wormhole on one side of the keyboard, and you jump straight into a mixed reality workspace which is more engaging. The uni-directional touchpad lets you navigate in the 3D workspace, something we never saw in the last couple of decades, ever since we all started exploring our computers.

The peripheral works just like any other keyboard when you’re not delving deep into the metaverse productivity workspace with the Wormhole. This is a concept design of the cool and weird world we are looking upon in the near future for sure!

Designer: Heewon Jung and Designer Dot

 

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Augmented Reality Helmet concept aims at revolutionizing how firefighters rescue civilians

Brave - Augmented Reality Helmet for Firefighters

Technology is best put to use when it gives us powers we didn’t have before. Whether it’s being able to fly using airplanes, see through skin and bones using X-rays, or send each other messages using radio waves and satellites. I’ve long believed that augmented reality has the ability to positively impact life as we know it, beyond just entertainment and games. Microsoft’s Hololens has often demonstrated how AR tech can help remote learning and servicing, whether it’s something as simple as sending instructions to a technician fixing a faulty circuit box or plumbing pipe, or as game-changing as helping doctors learn more about the human body by literally being able to see inside it using virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. A Red Dot Design Concept Award-winning entry, however, is pushing the capabilities of augmented reality imaging to help firefighters effectively assess buildings, find structural weak spots, avoid infernos, locate and rescue victims, and quickly plot safe escape routes.

Brave - Augmented Reality Helmet for Firefighters

The Brave is an AR Headset with a helmet attachment purpose-built for firefighters to use while training and in action. The headset itself comes with an array of cameras along the front that allows the internal chip to effectively plot out its surroundings, and a HUD under the headset’s main visor helps project digital elements on the physical world while the firefighters move around. The outer visor also covers the upper half of the face, preventing dust and debris from making its way into the firefighter’s eyes, while a mask on the lower half of their face remains unobstructed or untouched.

When paired along with the helmet, the Brave is complete as a state-of-the-art imaging, safety, and rescue tool. The helmet comes with lights built into the front and the back, illuminating the path while allowing firefighters to see each other in smoke-filled corridors. The rear of the helmet even comes with a camera lens that allows the AR headset to see what’s behind the wearer too, informing them of any developments. Finally, the hard-hat helmet works as the ultimate head-protecting device, softening the impact from debris that may fall from above, and overall helping the firefighter effectively perform rescue missions without getting hurt. Along with the AR headset, however, the Brave is the ultimate rescue tool. It helps firefighters effectively see behind walls, beyond floors, and observe the building in a way that the eyes cannot.

The Brave AR Helmet is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2021.

Designers: Kim Hyewon & Shin Alim

Brave - Augmented Reality Helmet for Firefighters

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HTC’s leaked Vive VR headset are honeyed goggles that give you a bug-eyed minion-like look!

Remember the HTC Project Proton concept VR headset shown off in early 2020 that looked like a mix of glasses and ski goggles? The Vive Flow VR headset is the evolution of that very concept and it is coming soon – in fact just a day away from official release at the “Go with the Flow” event set to happen on October 14.

Interestingly the internet is going crazy with the freshly leaked images of the insect eyes like HTC headset that gives off the futuristic vibe. The person in question is trusted leaker Evan Blass who has posted convincing images of HTC’s next-gen VR headset. The big question arises – will this HTC VR headset be able to compete with Oculus Quest 2? Evan has been posting a constant stream of tweets with photos of the said headset, building anticipation for the tech community. For neutral viewers, these images give a much better idea of how the Vive Flow VR headset will look like. It is not much different than the Project Proton concept headset in terms of the alienating presence.

From the images so far, it seems the headset will have a tethered connection to a tube-shaped device to power up the advanced processing of the gadget. There are no straps apparent in these leaked images which suggests HTC has finally found a way to ditch the strap design. How they have managed to balance the weight out will only be clear once the headset is out there for real. Also, the images are highly suggestive of a snap-on face cushion for comfort, adjustable lenses, immersive spatial audio and an active cooling system.

Talking of the possible use case scenarios, the headset will mostly be used for multimedia content consumption and gaming. According to rumors the VR headset will have a microchip less powerful than the Oculus Quest 2, but will come with six degrees of freedom tracking. There are no controllers in view so it is presumed the headset will not ship with one. This will be a major limitation if it wants to go head-butting against the Quest 2.

One of the images suggests the HTC Vive Flow VR headset will be up for pre-order starting October 15th, and shipments are promised in early November. Interestingly it will cost almost $200 more than the Quest 2, at a debut price tag of $499, so it better be good. For all that money you’ll also get seven free virtual reality content and carrying case.

Designer: HTC

 

Canon’s INSANE new camera lens features two side-by-side fisheye lenses for recording 8K AR and VR footage




“A powerful 3D lens for an already powerful 2D camera.”

I bet you’re just as baffled as I am looking at Canon’s new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens. It almost looks anthropomorphic, with the way the two eyes stare at you, but in fact, what’s really marvelous is where Canon seems to be going with their cameras. DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are already some of the most powerful shooters out there, and rather than ditching that entire ecosystem of cameras to move to newer camera types – like drones and AR/VR cameras, Canon has just embraced good old-fashioned innovation instead, with a newfangled lens that is compatible with their existing EOS range of cameras. The lens, when paired with the company’s 1.5.0 firmware update, enables the humble yet capable 2D camera to shoot SBS 3D content. Pair the lens with the EOS R5 mirrorless camera and suddenly you can perform high-resolution video recording at up to 8K DCI 30p and 4K DCI 60p.

The bizarre yet beautiful lens unlocks an absolutely new dimension to photography. Just pop it onto the EOS R5 and the lenses use a complex internal optical arrangement to record SBS content on a single full-frame image sensor. When paired with the right firmware, the video content automatically gets split, synced, stitched, and turned into 3D VR videos that can directly be exported using Canon’s own software.

The two lenses offer 190° field of view, and are spaced a precise 60mm apart to resemble the pupillary distance in humans, making the VR content look believable and have just the right amount of parallax too. Focusing for both the lenses is controlled by a single ring, although minor tweaks to the focus of individual lenses can be done using hidden adjustment dials on the left and right-hand sides of the lens body.

It’s low-key marvelous what the RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens does not just for Canon, but for photography in general. It shouldn’t be long before other companies like Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm begin introducing lenses that allow you to record two channels of video content using a single sensor. Arguably, the sensor would have to be big enough to fit both the channels, and to make sure your videos are high-resolution enough, but what Canon’s unleashed on the camera and VR world is just the beginning. That being said, this lens was designed for a special subset of users (with deep pockets) and doesn’t come cheap. The dual fisheye VR lens sports a hefty price tag of US$1,999, and is set to go on sale in December this year. That’s excluding the fact that you also need a $3,899.00 EOS R5 camera to match.

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

These ergonomic AR glasses are designed with a minimal interface to seamlessly blend into your life

A pair of intelligent AR Warp smart glasses created with the mindful intent of simplifying the user’s life without any strings attached.

Apple’s ambitious AR glasses could hit us anytime soon, Facebook just released their smart wayfarer glasses and Xiaomi dropped a surprise bomb in the form of smart glasses that are making waves on the internet. Logical wisdom tells me, augmented reality and virtual reality glasses are the exciting future everyone is going to follow and excel at. Just like the smartphone tsunami revolutionized the tech space. AR glasses are not everyone’s ball game as far as design and function go – they are darn hard to create for the commercial market!

While we brace for the towering wave of AR glasses to change the complexion of our everyday world, it’s time for a concept that will bear fruit in the coming future.  The cool creation is ideated by Fountain Studio, a design studio excelling in stirring us every time they muster up a cool creation. The augmented reality glasses are ergonomically designed keeping in mind the wearer’s desire for comfort, freedom and a non-intrusive interface.

Unlike other AR smart glasses, the AR Warp is designed to be worn on the forehead when not in use. The adjustable legs can be rotated according to the need, giving them usability for all situations. The glasses, therefore, sit at a slight distance from the face, not touching the nose bridge. Of course, they need to be lightweight so that the user can use these glasses for a longer duration of time – and that’s what they actually are.

The mixed reality HUD interface can beam information based on the time of the day and the user’s schedule. For example, in the morning he glasses put up weather alerts, text messages, important reminders and all the little telemetry like the battery level. By the evening, when it is time for physical activity, they send reminders of workout schedules and the screen is partly filled with illustrations motivating the user to get off their ass. After that, the glasses could shift to the relaxing mode, playing soothing music to calm down the mind and body.

The AR function of the smart glasses is actuated by the on-board camera and the UX is aided by the speakers which combine the visual stimuli with the audio input. Just like any other gadget, these smart AR glasses have their own storage case that wirelessly charges them up. This is a well-thought concept that gives us a glimpse of the things to come with the exponentially rising popularity of AR glasses.

Designer: Fountain Studio

Xiaomi just announced its Augmented Reality Smart Glasses… and the timing couldn’t be more interesting!





Doesn’t it strike you as odd that Xiaomi would randomly drop such a massive product teaser just a day before Apple’s September event? And hold their own even a day AFTER Apple announced the new iPhone? I’m not an expert analyst, but it seems like they’re trying to beat Apple to the punch, given that a lot of people are expecting Apple to launch their own smart glasses soon. The announcement a day before and the event a day after Apple’s California Streaming event is just Xiaomi’s way of rolling its sleeves up and trying to grab the news cycle by its horns before Apple floods the internet. Moreover, the Smart Glasses also end up firing shots at Facebook, who just announced their own camera-enabled wayfarers with RayBan. Gossip and speculation aside, here’s what the Xiaomi Smart Glasses are all about.

Designed to look like a regular pair of eyewear, Xiaomi’s Smart Glasses actually come with a holographic display built into them. The tiny MicroLED display (which Xiaomi says is smaller than a grain of rice) is built into the temple stem, and reflects a simple UI onto the right eyepiece of the glasses. The specially crafted eyepiece uses a series of microscopic “optical waveguides” to project the display into your eye, allowing only you to see the augmented reality elements when you wear the glasses.

The Smart Glasses come with a rather bare-basics interface, although it’s still incredibly advanced for its time (not to mention the fact that Xiaomi managed to fit all this technology into a ridiculously slim piece of eyewear). The holographic display can display messages, alerts, notifications, and time, although Xiaomi’s most impressive flex was showcasing a live translate feature, that took an English food menu and overlaid the Chinese translations on top of it. Aside from the MicroLED holographic display, the Smart Glasses also come with a camera lens that captures the world around you, allowing you to not just take pictures, but also analyze images and text. Whether all that live translation and processing power happens within the spectacles themselves is yet to be determined, although we can expect much more information on the 15th, when Xiaomi holds its product event.

For now, the Smart Glasses are just a concept teaser with no price, no tech specs, and no foreseeable launch date.

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

Facebook just filed a patent for a baseball cap with a built-in AR headset and it looks terribly cringe

This is an opinion piece. All views expressed in this article belong to me, the editor.

I don’t believe in punching down. As the editor of a pretty well-to-do design magazine, it makes little sense to call out individual designers and students over their work. I do, however, believe in being able to hold larger companies and billion-dollar OEMs to a different standard. There is power in being able to critique designs and help the world understand what’s measurably good and what isn’t… which is why I think it’s alright to sometimes critically look at Apple’s Cheesegrater Mac, the Tesla Cybertruck, or in this case, Facebook’s AR Baseball Cap which is frankly ugly enough to make Google Glass look cutting-edge.

Outlined in a patent filed back in 2019, and spotted just this week by Founders Legal, it looks like Facebook’s working on a more accessible AR headset that can be worn everyday, anywhere. The AR headset exists as a snapback-style cap (although there’s a fedora version too) with a flip-to-open display built into its visor. Facebook describes the design for its forward-thinking headgear as an alternative to traditional AR headsets and goggles that can often appear thick and clunky. In doing so, instead of opting for a more sci-fi design, Facebook believes that integrating the headgear into something like a cap or hat that people wear around every day, is a much better solution. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help cringing at the very thought of a sci-fi fedora. In fact, Facebook even indicates that this foldable display system can easily integrate into different cap styles, including potentially even (and this was actually referenced in the patent file) cowboy hats.

Gizmodo writes: It might look extremely silly, but in its patent filing Facebook says there are some notable advantages of a design like this. It makes it easier to position potentially hot electronics farther away from someone’s face, thereby increasing overall comfort and wearability. The length of the visor also makes it easy for Facebook to position AR components like cameras, sensors, etc. It sounds practical in theory, but looks far from aesthetic if you ask me for my completely subjective opinion. The idea of having to wear a cap so that I can access AR functions seems odd. Not to mention the fact that casualwear and cutting-edge tech don’t necessarily go hand in hand. It’s an incredibly delicate tightrope when you’re walking between tech and fashion – Apple’s excelled in this domain, Google’s had a few hits and misses. I don’t think Facebook’s got this one in the bag.

With news about Apple working on AR glasses, it would almost seem like the sensible move to adopt that direction too. More than 70% of all adults wear glasses as opposed to probably the 20-ish percent who wear baseball caps and fedoras on a daily basis. That’s discounting the fact that an even smaller number of people actually wear caps indoors. Besides, I really don’t know if there’s any data on how many people want cyberpunkish fedoras with built-in AR displays. Those numbers are yet to be collected.

Images Credits: Andrew Bosworth (Facebook Technologies, LLC.)