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Meta Building Future of Augmented Reality with Steve Mann

If you're a little disappointed at the limited feature set of Google's Project Glass, there's a new pair of glasses that might bring all your augmented reality dreams to life. A company called Meta is building a fully hackable headset, complete with visual overlays and gesture detection. Even more exciting, the company has just announced that Steve Mann, a pioneer in wearable computing technology, is joining the team as Chief Scientist.

Meta blew past their Kickstarter goal of $100,000 in five days. Developer kits quickly sold out in the $550 and $650 pledge tier, which is less than half the price of the $1500 Project Glass Explorer Edition. The Meta developer kit includes see-through augmented reality glasses, a depth camera and a software developer's kit, which includes sample applications and documentation. Meta works with Unity3D, the same graphics rendering engine supported by Oculus Rift, allowing users to pick up and manipulate their own 3D digital objects.

Unlike Project Glass, which aims to be as unobtrusive as possible, Meta aims to make the entire world interactive. With low latency gesture tracking, depth detection, and an augmented reality overlay for both eyes, users will be able to interact with 3D objects in the real world, creating a fully immersive experience overlaying the real world.

There are, however, privacy concerns about this new wave of wearable tech devices. Project Glass has already been banned in some local establishments and members of the congressional bipartisan "privacy caucus" have expressed concerns about Google's upcoming augmented reality device. Public reaction remains to be see regarding Meta, but it appears that wearable technology will be blazing forward regardless of critics and privacy advocates.