A student at MIT has developed a new smartphone app which shows the potential of Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things – and how mobiles and things could interact.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Fluid Interfaces Lab’s Ph.D. student Valentin Heun has released Reality Editor, a smartphone app which will allow users to pair objects together to create new connections and functionalities. Heun told The Kernel: “The Reality Editor is like a digital multitool. It allows you to learn easier about how an object works.”
Using the app, you could turn a light on or off by turning a doorknob. This could be done by directing your smartphone camera to a doorknob, and using the app to drag the functionality to a light switch.
The app uses the Internet to communicate between smart objects, with data communication controlled by the user, and reorganised by the object which sends identifying information and network IP addresses to the Reality Editor app itself, not a cloud, and this creates private networks between objects.
The fact that the app doesn’t use a cloud system sets it apart from the Internet of Things. This has its benefits as the app won’t stop working due to internet failures not enabling it to access a cloud.
Heun called his app a “Web browser for the physical space and said “we found a novel method that allows you to build simple HTML web pages and augment them on to an object. This means that every visual representation that you see in the user interface is actually a webpage and can be designed by every web designer.” This open platform makes it easier to get devices online, FingerPrints stickers (similar to QR codes) make it easy for Reality Editor to add new items.
The Open Hybrid platform and Reality Editor app provide less limitations than standard IoT products. Another limitation faced is that several IoT products made by different manufacturers can’t communicate with each other. Heun’s model does not “represent a pyramid model where only one silo can be the winner. It’s a model where everyone can be involved to build the products they want.”