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Sensors - how we find out about the world

The first thing our specs do is to find out what's around them. To do this, we have loaded them with a number of different types of input, which get as much information as possible.

Glasses with 3D camera and lenses

The current working prototype of the glasses includes:
  • two small cameras, or a camera and a projector, to detect how far away things are
  • a gyroscope, to figure out the orientation and movement of the head
  • a compass to find where the wearer is facing
  • GPS unit to locate the wearer in their environment
Two cameras are mounted on the pair of glasses, one on either side. Just like your eyes, each camera sees a slightly different picture. Comparing the difference between the two pictures, and knowing how far apart the cameras are, we can figure out how far away each item we see is. This is called stereoscopic vision, which is what pirates don't have.

A gyroscope is a device for measuring which way something is pointing. There are several different kinds of gyroscopes, but they generally involve setting up some kind of motion which will keep going in the same direction, and then comparing how things move around it.

A good old-fashioned compass (with a modern twist) tells our wearer which way they are facing.

By sending signals out and measuring the time taken for them to come back, Geospatial Positioning Systems can figure out how far away they are from different satellites. Knowing where the satellites are, GPS units can work backwards to locate themselves to within 10cm.