Metaio harnesses thermal imaging in new approach to AR interactivity

Metaio has unveiled its research into a system that uses thermal imaging to provide an interface for augmented reality (AR), effectively turning surfaces, models and magazines into interactive objects. The company revealed Thermal Touch ahead of the 2014 Augmented Reality World Expo in Santa Clara, USA, May 27 to 29, where the developers will demonstrate their prototype.

Peter Meier, CTO of Metaio, said: “Everyone is talking about wearable computing eyewear like Google Glass, but no one is talking about the best way to actually use those devices. We need natural, convenient interface to navigate the technology of tomorrow, and that’s why we developed ‘Thermal Touch’.”

The prototype consists of an infrared and standard camera working in tandem and running on a tablet PC. It registers the heat signature left by a person’s finger when touching a surface.

Metaio’s AR software then supplements the experience with AR and computer vision to allow the user to interact with digital content. Despite unveiling the prototype now, Metaaio believes that we’re still between five and ten years away from the technology making its way into commercial production.