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Throughout The Car Industry

MINI Reveals Advanced "Augmented Eyewear" Prototype

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On: Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 1:09PM | By: Carl Malek

MINI Reveals Advanced "Augmented Eyewear" Prototype

In a supervise move, MINI has chosen to unveil a new concept but whereas many auto manufacturers use the occasion to unveil an advanced car, MINI has chosen to unveil an advanced set of "augmented eyewear" that aims to improve driver vision and safety.

The eyewear in question shares much of its design inspiration from WWII-era aviation goggles and is a delightful mix of retro and modernistic themes. MINI worked with several Qualcomm companies to make the unique set of eyewear possible. While the eyewear appears to be a basic set of goggles, it boasts advanced electronics and features that should please a wide range of driving needs.

The headline technology is the integrated Head-Up Display (HUD) that is built into the glasses. MINI promises that the technology would allow drivers to receive various data in their direct field of vision but without obscuring road obstacles or the road itself, which can be an problem with some current HUD systems. According to MINI, this novel approach promises to maximize safety and comfort while driving. However, we are curious to see what the goggles can do for people who wear corrective eyewear (such as this author) and whether vision quality and comfort are affected by slipping the advanced set of goggles over prescription-grade eyeglasses.

In addition to providing drivers with relevant driving information, MINI engineers have also provided a wide range of other applications for the eyewear both inside and outside the vehicle. These include choosing a destination outside the vehicle with handy walking guidance being displayed until an occupant enters the car where the data would be automatically transferred into the navigation system. This is a cool feature that would be handy in bustling downtown areas where narrow streets and hard-to-find parking can make navigation difficult. Rounding out its range of use is the ability for the goggles to serve as a form of supplemental gauge cluster by displaying information such as current vehicle speed, navigation arrows that can lineup with the road surface, and incoming text messages, though that particular feature could run afoul of current laws in some states that prohibit texting while driving.

"We are proud to have helped develop a breakthrough augmented reality interface between eyewear and the automobile," stated Vice President for Qualcomm Connected Experiences Jay Wright. "MINI augmented vision offers a compelling example of what's possible today, and what we can expect in the future."

MINI, for its part, did not confirm whether it has green-lighted formal production for the spiffy set of eyewear, but if it does approve some form of production run, look for the eyewear to undergo more rigorous testing regimen before possibly arriving in MINI showrooms in the distant future, possibly as an accessory item versus being any type of optional equipment for an upcoming MINI model.

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