NUI: 3D augmented reality & gesture control
Atheer company, based in Mountain View, Calif., employs 20 people and is not venture capital funded so far. Atheer hopes to integrate its augmented reality and gestural control platform into existing mobile operating systems, such as Android, iOS, and Xbox.
Atheer’s technology demo at D11
Stealth startup Atheer came out of the shadows at the D: All Things Digital conference here, unveiling its wearable 3D augmented reality platform that works on top of Android and potentially other mobile operating systems.
Atheer’s technology employs stereoscopic glasses and a 3D camera to track hand movements to manipulate virtual objects in real space, similar in concept to the portrayals of gesture control in movies like “Minority Report” and “Avatar.”
“We are the first mobile 3D platform delivering the human interface. We are taking the touch experience on smart devices, getting the Internet out of these monitors and putting it everywhere in physical world around you,” said founder and CEO Sulieman Itani. “In 3D, you can paint in the physical world. For example, you could leave a note to a friend in the air a restaurant, and when the friend walks into the restaurant, only they can see it.”
Another startup: Meta
Another startup, Meta, is making similar claims about commercializing 3D glasses and gestural interfaces with mobile features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, accelerometer and voice control. But unlike Meta, which grew out of a Columbia University project, Atheer doesn’t want to go the route of Apple, creating a new, proprietary device.
More power efficient than SmartPhone
“We are aiming to make it significantly more power efficient than a smartphone,” Itani said. “We want to create a portable device you can put in your pocket and the interface is as big as possible.”
Atheer’s platform, which has been in development for a year and a half, is a bridge between existing mobile apps and games and those purpose-built for 3D augmented reality and gestural control. The platform will work with apps built on the open source Android platform, and could be integrated with Apple’s iOS, Microsoft Xbox, or Windows Mobile if they grant access to Atheer.
For Android apps not optimized for Atheer, users see a virtual tablet in front of them that they can manipulate by touch, just like a physical tablet. “This is important for people moving to a new platform. We reduce the experience gap and keep the critical mass of the ecosystem,” Itani said. “We don’t want to create a new ecosystem to fragment the market more. Everything that runs on Android can be there, from game engines to voice control.”
User experience like better than reality
Like other 3D augmented reality pioneers, Atheer, is facing an uphill battle and dependent on partners making the devices low-cost and easy to use. “In the end, it’s all about giving an experience will make their live easier and happier, whether a doctor or someone selling sandwiches,” Itani said.
One of the significant barriers to adoption for the wearable augmented reality glasses is creating an immersive user experience that doesn’t make it feel like a worse version of reality.
About Atheer and Meta
- Atheer bringing 3D augmented reality and gesture control to Android (news.cnet.com)
- Atheer Labs unveils 3D augmented reality mobile platform and a natural human UI (hands-on) (engadget.com)
- Atheer Looks to Add Human Touch to Futuristic Wearable Computers (allthingsd.com)
- Atheer’s Augmented Reality Glasses Tech Looks Cool (techland.time.com)