Carnegie Mellon Brings 3D Virtual Assistant to Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses

Students from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) in Silicon Valley have created an augmented reality application on the Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses that features a 3D virtual assistant that interacts with the user and the real-world environment.

The project is the start of collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and Epson to provide graduate students with the tools and guidance needed to create augmented reality applications on the Moverio BT-200 smart glasses.

In the app, a virtual assistant named “Sparky” appears in the user’s field of view to assist with real-time navigation. For example, the user can ask “Sparky” to find a Mexican restaurant nearby and the virtual assistant will locate the restaurant and then lead the user there.

Taking advantage of stereo vision to give the character a sense of depth and reality in the their field of view, users can interact with the character using voice and gestures and have meaningful and fun interactions based on its knowledge of the real-world environment.

"Most current augmented reality technology applications use markers or computer vision to drop static objects or pre-produced animation into the environment. We wanted to explore creating a more natural experience through interacting with a character in the real world," said John Shields, one of the Carnegie Mellon students working on the project, in a statement. "The Moverio BT-200 smart glasses allowed us to bring these augmented reality characters to life with their binocular transparent display, gyroscope, and other features."

"The team did an excellent job in creating an augmented reality navigation assistant that also acts as an interactive companion to entertain and engage users," said Carl Rosendahl, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in a statement. "The application offers a glimpse of the future of augmented reality's role in daily human life."

"The Carnegie Mellon team's application showcases the unlimited potential of augmented reality on smart glasses," said Eric Mizufuka, product manager, New Ventures for Epson America, in a statement. "Their work is a fantastic example of the future of digital overlays and using smart glasses to create meaningful, entertaining, and valuable experiences."

The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses are available through select online retailers and direct from Epson for $699.99.

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