Our Crazy? Experiments

September 25, 2009

I really appreciate CrunchGear‘s and other articles introducing our ARider project! They are both famous media in US so I’m really excited by that!!

One of Zeptotools member, shi3z (follow him “shi3z” on twitter!), uses the ARider devices everyday to move anywhere in the centre of Tokyo. Downtown of Tokyo is  not so big geographically, but it has over 10 millions  population in just about 10 miles diameter. Its population rate is less than half of NewYork’s, but the number of population in the cnter of Tokyo is 5 times of NY.

So, to move around the downtown by bicycle is easier than expected. Bicycles take us to all the places of business partners. 

Some people worry about using the device when it rains, that is also our fear. To avoid getting iPhone wet, we usually bring it in our pockets.

Furthermore, using an originally “renovated” connector for iPhone, iPhone and a HMD can be directly connected.

This solves the problem of getting cables entangled 😉

At first, we tried to see the map on the HMD, but seeing it during the ride is dangerous. So, we made just arrows to a goal and time displayed on the HMD. Currently blue arrow points the direction to Roppongi, green one does the direction to Akihabara, and red ponts the north. In addition to that, each length from current location is shown too. Such a simple display is much easier and safer to see during the ride.

However, using GPS long time needs much energy and the battery of iPhone becomes empty faster. We cannot solve tha problem up to now…

Furthermore, white screen of iPhone is difficult to see when it’s dark. But the problem is easy to solve. Just change the setting of the screen into black one at “setting” > “general” > “accessibility” on your iPhone! 

Our another play… no, “experiment” with HMD is as follows. The image captured by the superior digital SLR camera, EOS 5D MarkⅡ, is output on HMD like this.

If someone takes images from your back with the camera and you see it on the HMD, you may feel as if you were a FPS player! The imae on the HMD is truly “real”, isn’t it?

You can do it without your friends too if you have the camera attached to a tripod and bringing it on your back.

 

 Do you think we are crazy?

Maybe, you are right.

However, we believe such craziness is necessary for innovation!

Believeing such thing, we continue to play… explore the possibility of iPhone and HMD!

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Further Research of ARider

September 14, 2009

Hello, how you doing?

I mentioned the iPhone “chonmage” bike rider, or ARider on the last post. Today, I will talk about more detail and our impression of the equipment usage.

The HMD used in this experiment is T3-A by Scalar Corporation.  

The test was done between Hongo and Roppongi, Tokyo. To avoid crushes or falling down, we used a retractable HMD and used it while stopping. (Actually the HMD was being shaken so much during the ride so it is difficult to check the map even it is always shown.)

The HMD was light so it was fixed on the helmet with Scotch tape. Actually this equipment can be used not only while riding a bike, but also while walking. A GPS receiver, a compass, a main CPU, and a communication unit, all are included in the iPhone. So just connecting the HMD to iPhone, it is ready to be used.

This time, we had iPhone not on the helmet, but in a pocket, to avoid iPhone falling down.  Seen from a little far, the HMD is not so noticiable. It may be better than using other HMDs.

The screen of iPhone app is not directly displayed so we developed and used an original mapping app to display maps on HMDs. 

Our impression of the equipment usage is not bad. Rather, we felt it is more convenient to use it than to check the iPhone directly because it saves the time is to taking it out from the pocket. Thought the resolution of map on the HMD is not good, it is possible to check rough map and the direction. When the iPhone is equipped on the helmet, the map changes the direction following to the direction of your face. It can sense more slight moving than car navigation systems. 

You may think using a camera through AR is more useful. Regarding that, the camera captures images seen by either right or left eye when a HMD is used. However, if you see with both of your eyes, the image shown by the HMD is doubled on what you see really. So that is not necessary. Rather, if more simple information, such as the direction of your goal, is shown, that is enough. 

It seems to be longer to developed the “Cyberspace glasses” which themselves can receive your location and indicate the direction. However, the “Cyberspace helmet” or the “Cyberspace hat,” devices like above, would be appear before so long. 

Considering the safety, it should not be used during the ride. But as a navigation system for walkers or  bike riders these devices would be paid attention. Also, if a camera through AR is used and equip it on a backpack, the device can work as a rearview mirror.

As car navigation systems become more popular than before, the systems for other transferring, especially bike rider or walker should be, or would be developed and more popular in the future. We are also interested in it so much.

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Hi there, how are you?

When I walked on the street of Tokyo the other day, from a bit far I saw a bike rider who seemed to have something “creative” chonmage on his top.  

iPhone-mage

At first, I was wondering who he was. “He has chonmage like something, so is he a Sumo wrestler? or a 21th century style Samurai??” As I approached to him, I found that it was not chonmage, but an iPhone!! And I found the rider was my friend, Sho. What surprised me more was that he wore a scouter (an item used in Dragon Ball) like equipment too.

As I asked him what he was doing with such technological equipments, he answered it was a test ride with an experimental mapping application by Mr Kondo.

What he wore was a retractable HMD connected with the screen of iPhone. iPhone 3GS  has a compass and is good GPS receiver too. So the map rotates  as he changes its direction. The rider with the equipment can check the map of current location displayed on the HMD. (However, be careful! Sho said it was dangerous to see the map when pedalling a bike!! So it was used when he stopped his bike at the traffic light or other places. )

This is a video clip of how equipments work and how Show ride a bike with it….

Also with this equipment and TwitBird Pro, you can receive real-time Mention of Twitter.  When it is used with A2DP of Bluetooth, speaking on the phone hands-free during the ride.

As we mentioned the future style of mobiles before, these “21th century Samurai style” could be popular? There is certainly room for improvement, and thought the map can show the direction of your way, it cannot indicate the future unfortunately. 

However, I believe it predicts something for future and think that in the future, some devices like this and possibly more useful, comfortable and, of course, safer! for bike ride would be available.

See you on the next map 😀

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