Jens Grubert has spent his past decade as a mixed reality researcher in pursuit of a simple goal.

“My research is to overcome the limitations that devices like smartphones, smart watches, data glasses impose on us,” he tells Inverse as he puts on a ski visor to demonstrate the prototype version of one of the wildest ideas he and his team at Germany’s Coberg University are pursuing.

As his team explains in a paper available on the preprint site arXiv, they want the front-facing cameras in phones to glean information from the reflections in our eyes’ corneas, extending screens beyond their normal physical confines. It’s a more ambitious extension of a project Grubert and his team previously partnered with Microsoft to explore — and one that he believes could be feasible tech within a few years, if a company put its resources behind it.

Here’s the basic idea: Someone wearing those goggles and staring down at their phone would, in turn, allow the phone’s forward-facing camera to see that reflection and, with the help of augmented reality, create a larger virtual touchscreen around the phone that the person could then use.

“We actually looked at, can we extend the input space around smartphones using these glasses?” he tells *Inverse, pointing out how much the visor reflects of what’s in front of it. “And it turned out yes, we can.”

Gesturing one’s hand toward the phone could make it zoom in, while pulling it away could make it zoom out.

“Or you could reference real world objects,” says Grubert. “You have your Google Maps application. If you want to go, ‘Okay, what is that building over there?’ You simply point to that building, and you can get a reference to it and the information is superimposed.”

This article was originally published by INVERSE.

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Jens Grubert has spent his past decade as a mixed reality researcher in pursuit of a simple goal.“My research is to overcome the limitations that devices like smartphones, smart watches, data glasses impose on us,” he tells Inverse as he puts on a ski visor to demonstrate the prototype...