Trying Out Canon’s Mixed-Reality Tech

Meant for design work, it goes well beyond consumer-oriented augmented reality

4 min read
Woman viewing through Canon's mixed reality system.
Is this a Jaguar I see before me? The author checks out a computer generated car through Canon's mixed reality system.
Photo: John Boyd

26 July 2012—Canon begins selling a next-generation form of virtual reality technology known as mixed reality (MR) this month. The company suggests its version of MR is an enhanced, more grown-up version of the augmented reality provided by some smartphone apps and things like Google’s Project Glass. In contrast to augmented reality, which typically adds text or simple graphics to what the user sees, Canon’s MR adds computer-generated virtual objects to the real world in real time, at full scale, and in three dimensions.

In a further contrast to consumer-oriented augmented-reality schemes, the technology is initially targeted at engineering groups involved in designing and building new products. Canon claims that not only will it cut down on prototyping, it will also speed up concurrent engineering by allowing those involved on the manufacturing side to get a faster look at what is coming down the new-product pipeline.

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How Nanotech Can Foil Counterfeiters

These tiny mechanical ID tags are unclonable, cheap, and invisible

10 min read
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Close up of a finger with a clear square on it.
University of Florida
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What's the largest criminal enterprise in the world? Narcotics? Gambling? Human trafficking?

Nope. The biggest racket is the production and trade of counterfeit goods, which is expected to exceed US $1 trillion next year. You've probably suffered from it more than once yourself, purchasing on Amazon or eBay what you thought was a brand-name item only to discover that it was an inferior-quality counterfeit.

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