CMU Robotics Institute Associate Research Professor Simon Lucey told the Carnegie Mellon News that the gyroscope and accelerometer inside IMUs aren't very precise. But while they lack the precision usually associated with measuring devices like a ruler or scale, the "noisy" sensors are adequate enough to help them find the size and scale of an object. In fact, the researchers have been able to measure the distance between a person's pupils within half a millimeter. "We've been able to get accuracies with cheap sensors that we hadn't imagined," Lucey said.
The researchers have already created an eyewear augmented reality app that builds a 3D model of a person's face so they can try on virtual glasses. While the home improvement and furniture shopping implications are pretty apparent, custom tailoring services like MTailor could benefit from more precise measurement capabilities. The technology could also be applied to other devices with more powerful processors and higher frame rates like AR headsets and driverless vehicles to map out rooms and outdoor environments respectively.
With smartphones already being used for virtual reality headsets like the Galaxy Gear VR and developers building augmented reality apps to enhance our world, expect more features like this to trickle down onto the devices we already own.
[Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images]