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Smart Sunglasses could soon make driving safer

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At an event in San Francisco last week, BMW invited guests for a first look at some pretty impressive technology. 

The sunglasses worn by the guy in the above photo, are a prototype currently called Mini Augmented Vision. [BMW owns Mini]. The smart sunglasses pair with the Mini, to provide the driver with some very interesting sounding features.

The Mini Augmented Vision device provides a HUD or Heads Up Display. This allows the driver to see lots of information, without looking away from the road. For example, street signs are displayed, so the driver can see them even if his or her vision is obstructed. Journey directions are also available from the device, so the driver doesn’t need to keep looking at a dashboard mounted satellite navigation display.

All this information is displayed, whilst still giving the driver a clear view of what's happening in traffic and the world around them.

X-ray vision sunglasses?

Maybe the stand out feature, is that the smart sunglasses can be combined with the Mini’s external, rear cameras to provide the driver with a kind of x-ray vision. When selected, the driver can look over their shoulder and “see through” the car. This can be used, for example, to spot objects when reversing or to make sure you avoid the curb when parking. 

BMW Senior Project Engineer, Robert Richer, said the primary aim for the device is safety. There is still no timeframe for when this prototype could become a reality.

It’s easy to see how technology like Mini’s Augmented Vision, could lead to safer driving. Not only by providing car related information, but by displaying text messages, which can be seen whilst still looking at the street ahead of you.

It will be interesting to see how other car manufacturers embrace the opportunity, now that the technology exists for wearable, Heads Up Displays. Rest assured we will keep you updated.

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