As a complement to its MREAL Mixed Reality headset, Canon is showing off a handheld version of the technology this week at SIGGRAPH. The new version functions much like the head-mounted one, enabling the use of markers or (as was the case here) sensors to render images in real space. Something you'll want to keep in mind: this is still an enterprise-focused device. That said, it doesn't make the tech demo and usage scenarios any less cool to gawk at. The demonstration we saw here in Anaheim involved a Kabuki dancer out in the center of the demo area. Details like shadows and wrinkles in the performer's clothes were rendered in real time -- just as if a real person were performing. A collection of sensors mounted around the top of the demo stage allowed us to look around the space while the projected image reacted to our position. Not once did we lose sight of the action.
Two other demos for the head-mounted display (that can easily translate to the handheld unit as well) caught our attention, too. First, a boat motor was projected in real space using augmented reality markers, allowing the user to inspect a scale model of the engine for training or other purposes. The ability to deconstruct the engine and see how different portions of it worked was all available to the user. Next, we saw a set of markers wrapping a rectangle projected a model of a Canon DSLR housing. Both of these scenarios offer a more in-depth look at 3D models before the prototyping phase or any steps are taken towards production. A quick look at the Kabuki demo and our best in-dance commentary awaits on the other side of the break.
Canon handheld MREAL display hands-on