Indian Startup Makes AR Glasses That’ll Keep COVID-19 In Check

Indian Startup Makes AR Glasses That’ll Keep COVID-19 In Check

As lockdown restrictions ease further, the uneasiness associated with stepping out is only going to shoot up. “What if I unknowingly contract the virus?” is another plague that’ll take over minds all over the country when this does happen. To help ease this seemingly normal fear, Indian startup AjnaLens has developed a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that could be an effective way to keep COVID-19 in check in India. Called the AjnaTX Series, the smart glasses make use of augmented reality to layer information over live camera feed to provide useful information in real-time. With the attached infrared sensor, the startup claims that the glasses can scan up to 300 people in a matter of 3 minutes as its reading response time is less than 300ms. While thermal scanning is probably one of the most important aspects of the smart glasses, there’s much more to it. The glasses can monitor social distancing, identify individuals with facial recognition, estimate the age of individuals, track attendance, and detect if an individual’s wearing a mask or not. While the AjnaLens can be customized in their use (for instance, it can also help track attendance in offices along with temperature readings), they’re currently aimed at helping combat the pandemic. The results of the temperature readings are quite simple to understand. A red box around an individual signifies high fever with a temperature reading shown below. Similarly, an orange box means a person isn’t wearing a mask and doesn’t have a fever whereas a white box means the person is wearing a mask and doesn’t have a fever. While I might not be speaking on behalf of all, I won’t be stepping out of my house unless I know that precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance are being enforced. It is here where a solution such as the AjnaLens smart glasses makes a profound impact. Not only does it help authorities in efficiently monitoring a crowd but it’s also likely to instil confidence in people who are sceptical of stepping out. Glasses like these will be immensely useful to public spaces like shopping malls, schools, commercial complexes, bus and train stations, and factories amongst other places. In fact, the startup is already in talks with multiple stakeholders including several state governments, shopping malls, and universities, amongst others, to have these glasses deployed. The price of the glasses ranges from INR 2.72 lakhs to INR 4.99 lakhs depending on the software capabilities that are chosen to be added. For inquiries and orders, you can head to their website. AjnaLens was established back in 2014 and claims to have designed and manufactured AR/VR/MR solutions for Defence, Education and Enterprise. Earlier this year, the startup also raised $1.5 million in a Pre-Series-A funding round led by Maharashtra Defence and Aerospace Venture Fund (MDAVF) and HNI investors like Nailesh Khimji, Chirayu Khimji, Jay Jesrani, and Mohsin Group. Delhi-based startup Indian Robotics Solution also came up with a similar solution, officially known as the Thermal Screening Headgear, that would help authorities scan body temperature from a safe distance. You can read more about them below.


Google Has Developed a New 3D Object Recognition Process, Which Could Lead to Improved AR Experiences

As recently demonstrated by  Snapchat , AR systems are advancing, and facilitating new options for branding and advertising which utilize more immersive, engaging visual elements.

But one of the limitations of AR is 3D modeling, and the capacity for smartphone cameras to accurately scale object size in order to match them with virtual comparisons, and provide realistic depictions that can be layered over real-world scenes.

That’s where this new process from Google comes in – this week on the  Google Engineering Blog , the company has outlined its latest advance in 3D modeling, which could see a significant shift in AR rendering in the near future.

Google 3D modeling

As explained by Google:

Today, we are announcing the release of MediaPipe Objectron, a mobile real-time 3D object detection pipeline for everyday objects. This pipeline detects objects in 2D images, and estimates their poses and sizes through a machine learning (ML) model, trained on a newly created 3D dataset.”

The process improves the capacity to capture an object’s size, position and orientation in the world, which, as noted, could have significant impacts on the accuracy of AR applications, leading to more impressive, useful digital placement tools.

“Our novel approach, called AR Synthetic Data Generation, places virtual objects into scenes that have AR session data, which allows us to leverage camera poses, detected planar surfaces, and estimated lighting to generate placements that are physically probable and with lighting that matches the scene. This approach results in high-quality synthetic data with rendered objects that respect the scene geometry and fit seamlessly into real backgrounds.”

Google MediaPipe example

We’ve already seen examples of AR product placement in real-world environments, including various make-up try-on tools and IKEA’s AR furniture display app.

Those initial usages are impressive, but more advanced 3D modeling capacity like this will enable even smarter virtual placement, and better, more accurate tools. That could be major for eCommerce and virtual shopping, with more ways to see what objects look like in your world before you make a purchase, while there are also advanced potential opportunities for brand activations and engagement through improved AR tools.

Google is sharing its latest advances with the developer community, with a view to future product enhancements. And with reports also suggesting that Apple is also testing a  new, dedicated AR app , and potentially its own  AR glasses , we could be in for some major AR updates in the latter half of 2020.