If the field of view of the individual human eye seems a bit limited to you, wearing the Hammerhead Vision System (aka PolyEyes 2.0) might be a solution to that problem.
The human body has plenty of limitations (in Battlestar Galactica, Brother Cavil emphasizes some of them in his ‘I don’t Want to Be Human!‘ speech), but technology can help us overcome at least some of them. The PolyEyes 2.0 AR headset gives its wearer a field of view larger than 180 degrees. Add to that the fact that the “eyes” can move independently, and you get some sort of big-headed animals.
Interactive Architecture Lab, the developer of PolyEyes 2.0, explained how the AR helmet fits in the big picture:
“You are alone in the room, except for two Raspberry Pi Camera Module spinning in the dim light. You use PolyEyes (aka Hammerhead Vision System) and through the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, you communicate with some other entities in another room, whom you cannot see. Relying solely on the Exo-skeletical Suit Controller, you must decide whether to share or receive stimuli. One of the entities wants to share its own visual field. The other entity wants to send you signals from its sensing body. He/she/it will reproduce through the PolyLimbs the body movement of the other entity. Your job is to explore alternative ways for communicating that distinguish your current performance from an embodied augmented reality.”
While the creators of this AR headset must have used chameleons as a source of inspiration, the name of the system, Hammerhead, points into a very different direction. Interactive Architecture Lab have clearly designed and named their invention after the hammerhead shark, which is famous not only for its unusual structure of its head, but also for the wide stereo field of view.
Inside each of the clear domes seen in both of the above pictures there is a Raspberry Pi Camera Module, that combined give the wearer more than 180 degrees of vision. As mentioned in the developer’s description, the Hammerhead Vision System is part of a larger conceptual suit, or exosuit, if you want, that Interactive Architecture Labs sees as “part of a continuing process of upgrading the human entity.”
It didn’t take long for people to question whether the Hammerhead Vision System could have any real-world applications. One of the first things that pops to mind is that it could be used by the military, but for that, it would have to be drastically reduced, unless you want soldiers to become better targets. Not at last, people have started to point out similarities between a human wearing the Hammerhead Vision System and the characters from the Warframe video game. Despite the rather consumer-centric video that you can watch above, there are no details of PolyEyes 2.0’s commercial availability or a price, so I cannot help but wander if this is ever going to make it past the concept stage.
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