The core of the setup is the Canon HMD (head-mounted display) which works in conjunction with various sensors — optical and magnetic, as well as visual markers — to help create the mixed reality environment. The HMD employs two cameras located in front of each eye that captures video and shoots it off to an off-board, tethered computer. The computer then combines the real-world visuals with computer-generated visuals, and beams that back to two monitors placed in front of the eyes within the HMD. The unit combines with a development platform, dubbed the MR Platform, which allows companies to create mixed reality images to display on the HMD.
Canon’s MREAL system isn’t for everyone. The system will be released on 03/01/13, and it is not targeted to general consumers: it’s sold for $125,000, with a $25,000 additional bucks to pay for annual maintenance. Nice toy!
According to Canon the main benefits of MREAL are:
- Productivity: Effective product lifecycle management places an emphasis on maximizing productivity to help reduce time to market, optimize designs, improve product quality, and save time, cost and resources. The MREAL System enables customers to develop digital prototypes, identify potential design concerns to reduce prototype iterations, incorporate required characteristics more quickly and get products to market sooner.
- Interaction: The MREAL System allows customers to make the leap from screen to seen. With this new system, you can experience, examine, modify, manipulate, discuss, analyze, or present designs with a level of realism that allows complicated ideas and plans to come to fruition quickly and efficiently.
- Attention To Detail: The MREAL System brings users to a 3D world where they can interact with virtually any given scene, landscape, environment or object. Designers can closely examine how components manufactured at different locations are expected to come together, or see how light will reflect off the interior trim of a car. Users can view intricate details of the 3D image from almost any angle.
- Feedback: When the audience is immersed in the MR experience, users gain tremendous insight. Whether collaborating on ideas, discussing new product designs, securing customer input, generating investor interest, winning management buy-in, or just entertaining an audience, MR brings many levels of value to all participants.