Canon MR (Mixed Reality) System
Japanese electronics firm Canon has developed what could potentially be a huge breakthrough in industrial design: the Mixed Reality system. For my scifi peeps out there this is halfway between the Gibson in Hackers and the setup at the precog unit in Minority Report. If that doesn't help, allow me to explain a little further:
Virtual Reality, or VR, completely immerses you in an electronically created visualization. Mixed Reality projects electronic elements over the actual surroundings of the user in real time and, as you can see from the images above, to manipulate those elements with a wand-looking thingamajiggy. If that is still confusing, the diagram below probably won't help, and you might just want to ignore the fact that you started reading this post in the first place.
So practically speaking, as you can see from the pics, one theoretical application of the MR technology is for the design of automobiles. Prototyping can be an extremely expensive part of the enterprise, and Canon aims to cut big chunks out of that part of the budget with this system. Other applications mentioned are the layout of machinery in a factory for optimum efficiency and safety, and also virtual surgical procedures.
If it were up to me I'd wear my MR around the house and pretend I had lots of cool stuff like an indoor particle accelerator and a pet elephant seal. Sadly, given the novelty of the technology and its intended markets, I fear I may be priced out of the bargain.
Check out the link here for a video, which Canon does not want me to embed.
The MR System is scheduled for launch in late July of this year and the cost will be determined by the breadth of the application the client is buying it for, or something like that.