Apple Glasses Project a Screen Straight onto your Eyeballs

Why use a screen when you can project a signal into your eyesApple Glasses (quantglasses) rumor suggests the upcoming smart headset, or its successor, could project a screen directly onto your eyeballs, skipping traditional displays entirely.

That’s according to a new patent, which calls the tech a ‘direct retinal projector’ – like AppleInsider (who first noticed the patent), we’ll take the high road and avoid the obvious ‘retina display’ jokes.

The ‘direct retinal projector’ also tracks where you’re looking so that it can use mirrors to accurately reflect a light field – aka the content that would be displayed on a traditional screen – right into the wearer’s pupils. Yes, this sounds as intense to us as it does to you. The tech as described in the patent sounds like a complex arrangement of controllers, scanning mirrors, an ellipsoid mirror, and a projector, though the patent details plenty of configurations that could include other elements of the eventual design. Most importantly: these potential systems are for AR and/or VR, suggesting Apple is keeping both possibilities open for future Apple Glasses.

Perhaps the most important rumor we heard in 2021 is that noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the Apple Glasses may arrive in the first half of 2022, finally ending our extended speculation on Apple’s biggest new product since the Apple Watch.

Source: https://www.techradar.com/

Augmented Reality A Hundred Times Less Expensive

Zombies or enemies flashing right before your eyes and the dizzying feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff using virtual reality and augmented reality (AR and VR) are no longer exclusive to the games or media industries. These technologies allow us to conduct virtual conferences, share presentations and videos, and communicate in real time in virtual space. But because of the high cost and bulkiness of VR and AR devices, the virtual world is not currently within easy reach.

Recently, a South Korean research team developed moldable nanomaterials and a printing technology using , allowing the commercialization of inexpensive and thin VR and AR devices.

Professor Junsuk Rho of the departments of mechanical engineering and chemical engineering and doctoral student in mechanical engineering Gwanho Yoon at POSTECH with Professor Heon Lee and researcher Kwan Kim of the department of material science at Korea University have jointly developed a new nanomaterial and large-scale nanoprinting technology for commercialization of metamaterials. The research findings, which solve the issue of device size and high production that were problematic in previous research, were recently published in Nature Communications.

Metamaterials are substances made from artificial atoms that do not exist in nature but freely control the properties of light. An invisible cloak that makes an illusion of disappearance by adjusting the refraction or diffraction of light, or metaholograms that can produce different hologram images depending on the direction of light’s entrance, uses this metamaterial. Using this principle, the ultrathin metalens technology, which can replace the conventional optical system with extreme thinness, was recently selected as one of the top 10 emerging technologies to change the world at the World Economic Forum last year.

In order to make metamaterials, artificial atoms smaller than the wavelengths of light must be meticulously constructed and arranged. Until now, metamaterials have been produced through a method called electron beam lithography (EBL). However, EBL has hindered the commercialization or production of sizable metamaterials due to its slow process speed and high cost of production. To overcome these limitations, the joint research team developed a new nanomaterial based on nanoparticle composite that can be molded freely while having optical characteristics suitable for fabricating metamaterials. The team also succeeded in developing a one-step printing technique that can shape the materials in a single-step process.

Source: http://postech.ac.kr/

Virtual Reality Is Life-Changing For People With Dementia

Virtual reality, smart clothes and reminiscence therapy are offering respite to patients and carers. One of millions of people who die each year from the neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s, for which a cure is not possible. The condition, one of a number of forms of dementia, is caused by rogue proteins that lodge and tangle in the neural networks of the brain, causing irreparable damage to the billions of neurons which transmit the electrical signals that build memories. These cells gradually die, causing memory loss and personality change, eventually halting the brain’s basic functions.

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Despite decades of medical research into treatments to slow the disease’s progressive course or prevent it entirely – the field from which Pfizer notably withdrew in January, after years of setbacks – it is not yet known what causes these proteins to gather, and therefore how to remove or block them. And despite Alzheimer’s being the world’s fifth biggest killer, funding levels for research have lagged shockingly behind those for both cancer and the next biggest area of medical research, cardiovascular disease.

In the meantime, the greatest cost is in providing care and therapy for those suffering from the disease – a global total currently estimated at $818 billion; the equivalent to over one per cent of global GDP. If no effective treatment and preventive solution is found this sum will only increase, as ten million new cases of dementia are diagnosed each year.

UK healthcare start-up, Virtue, applies the latest immersive technologies to the process of ‘reminiscence therapy’. While the traditional approach draws on physical visual stimulus such as photo books, or even involves substantial investment in constructing full-scale sets that recreate nostalgic scenes, Virtue has developed a new type of memory portal using virtual reality 

It’s only now that the phone in your pocket is advanced enough and VR headsets are reducing in price that we can really democratise access to this type of impactful therapy,” Virtue‘s co-founder and CTO Scott Gorman says. Virtue’s app, LookBack VR, offers a wide variety of 360 VR content and filmic experiences which chime with the memories of the target age group of the patient – arranged by destination, theme, activity or decade. Viewers can choose from experiences ranging from spending time on Brighton beach in the 1970s, to finding themselves in a 1950s tearoom, and can create a personalised playlist or ‘itinerary for time travel’ with the help of their family or carer. Their companion can see their VR headset view on a companion app via tablet, along with a series of suggested questions to help stimulate relevant conversation about that era.

Our vision is for LookBack VR to become a global platform that can help people with dementia anywhere,” co-founder and CEO Arfa Rehman shares. “We are starting to seek partnerships with organisations and individuals to gather content from around the world.”

Source: https://www.wired.co.uk/

VR Gives 3D Depiction Inside Blood Vessels

UW Medicine interventional radiologist Wayne Monsky first saw virtual reality’s vivid, 3D depiction of the inside of a phantom patient’s blood vessels, his jaw dropped in childlike wonder.

A virtual-reality depiction of a catheter navigating blood vessel. With a VR headset, this would be 3D (click on the image to enjoy video)

When you put the (VR) headset on … you have a giddy laugh that you can’t control – just sheer happiness and enthusiasm. (I’m) moving up to the mesenteric artery and I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” he recalled.

The experience reminds him of “Fantastic Voyage,” the ’60s-era sci-fi film about a submarine and crew that are miniaturized and injected into a scientist’s body to repair a blood clot.

As a child, and today, I’ve been amazed at the premise that one day you can swim around inside someone’s body. And really, that’s the sensation: You’re in it,” he said. Interventional radiologists use catheters, thin flexible tubes that are inserted into arteries and veins and steered to any organ in the body, guided by X-ray visuals. With this approach, they (and cardiologists, vascular surgeons, and neuro-interventionalists) treat an array of conditions: liver tumors, narrowed and bleeding arteries, uterine fibroids, and more.

Monsky and two collaborators have pioneered VR technology that puts the operator inside 3D blood vessels. By following an anatomically correct, dynamic, 3D map of a phantom patient’s vessels, Monsky navigates the catheter through junctions and angles. The catheter‘s tip is equipped with sensors that visually represent its exact location to the VR headset. It’s a sizable leap forward from the 2D, black-and-white X-ray perspective that has guided Monsky’s catheters through vessels for most of his career.

He recently presented study findings that underscore VR’s value: In tests of a phantom patient, VR guidance got him to the destination faster – about 40 seconds faster, on average, over 18 simulations – than was the case with X-ray guidance.

Source: https://newsroom.uw.edu/

How To Pilot A Drone Using Virtual Reality

Imagine piloting a drone using the movements of your torso only and leaving your head free to look around, much like a bird. The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  (EPFL) research, in Switzerland,  has just shown that using your torso to pilot flying machines is indeed more immersive – and more effective – than using the long-established joystick.

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Our aim was to design a control method which would be easy to learn and therefore require less mental focus from the users so that they can focus on more important issues, like search and rescue,” says lead author Jenifer Miehlbradt of EPFL’s Translational Neuroengineering Laboratory led by Bertarelli Foundation Chair Silvestro Micera. “Using your torso really gives you the feeling that you are actually flying. Joysticks, on the other hand, are of simple design but mastering their use to precisely control distant objects can be challenging.

The scientists wanted to observe how people use their bodies to pilot a flying object, in this case a drone, and determine which movements are most intuitive and natural – approaching the pilot problem from a completely new perspective.

They started by monitoring the body movements of 17 individuals thanks to 19 infrared markers placed all over the upper body as well as their muscular activity. Each participant followed the actions of a virtual drone through simulated landscapes that passed-by as viewed through virtual reality goggles.

The results are published in the journal PNAS.

Source: https://actu.epfl.ch/