It’s typically not suggested to wear augmented reality glasses while driving, but carmaker Mini is challenging that notion with its recently revealed prototype of the Mini Augmented Vision glasses. These glasses aren’t meant to distract you, but help you while on the road.
“The biggest way augmented reality can be useful is in supporting safe driving,” Professor Anind Dey of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute told the BBC in 2012. “The ability to enhance information around us that might otherwise be opaque to us is invaluable.”
Mini’s smartglasses, meant to be worn while driving a Mini Cooper, are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. The design is similar to that of old-school aviation goggles, but for this day and age, the glasses feature a camera on the bridge. With this camera, the Mini smartglasses are able to track where the wearer is in real-time.
Right now, the Augmented Vision glasses are made up of two 720p displays in each lens. The displays can show the driver street names, directions, and speed limit. In addition, the glasses can connect with cameras on the car’s sides, giving the driver the ability to see through the car, akin to x-ray vision. Aside from making the driver feel like he or she has super powers, this also helps the driver avoid objects in the road or with parallel parking.
Mini is not the first to come up with augmented reality glasses for cars. In fact, Mini’s parent company, BMW, already has similar products. Like any good family member, the BMW DesignworksUSA studio helped with the Mini Augmented Vision glasses, specifically on the design.
Though Augmented Reality display glasses are not yet the norm, Qualcomm VP Jay Wright told The Verge that he’s hopeful for the future. “We think the long-term vision for something on your head where it’s a head-up display for your life is super compelling,” he said.