The world’s first truly hands-free car repair manual

  • AFP
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  • Updated: Sep 21, 2013 15:29 IST

What makes the app so revolutionary is that it doesn't need tags or markers to overlay instructions or graphics on real-world objects. Photo:AFP


Metaio's Goggle Glass app could help users know when a mechanic is being economical with the truth and could also spell the end of men feeling that they need to pretend that they know what the problem is and how to fix it every time the car makes a funny noise for fear of appearing less masculine.

For years, the only viable solution for anyone that wanted to care for and maintain their own car was to go out and buy a Haynes manual that offered step-by-step instructions on how to do everything from changing the oil to altering the compression ratio and replacing a timing belt. Accompanied by black and white photos of each stage, the books were like graphic novels for wannabe mechanics.

And while a simple Google search can answer pretty much any car-maintenance-based query, setting up a computer in a workshop is not always the most practical of undertakings, especially if it doesn’t have a special, oil and grime-repellant keyboard cover. And then there’s the fact that a wannabe mechanic will have to keep putting down the component being worked on in order to check the screen again.

Metaio may well have the answer. The AR company has developed a special app for Google Glass that brings all of the benefits of strapping a Haynes manual or computer monitor to your face, but without any of the drawbacks. The company claims the prototype app is a world first, most notably because it doesn’t need markers or tags on real-world objects, or even GPS information to be able to identify the engine component the wearer is looking at or to overlay information, diagrams or step-by-step instructions over it.

The app will get its first official live demonstration at this year’s Inside AR conference, which kicks off on October 10 in Munich, Germany, and Metaio says that as well as Google Glass, the app will be able to work on similar devices by Vuzix and Epson.

As the company’s CTO, Peter Meier explains, this proof of concept app is simply the first step towards a new way of bringing augmented reality to everyday life. “We’re going beyond one-off passive viewing experiences. Metaio is taking all the necessary steps to ensure an always on, always augmented future, and we’re beginning that journey in a big way at this year’s InsideAR.”

 

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