‘Iron Man’ glasses allow you to project own reality onto world

Tony Stark

It was childish of me, but this weekend I bought a Lego Iron Man set featuring said character with a mask that lifts up to reveal Tony Stark underneath, as well as a missile-firing robotic enemy.

It was £12. Little did I know that for an extra £417 I could buy some glasses that mean I would actually become the man himself.

At least, so says Meta, the company behind a clunky-looking set of specs that would’ve got Stark beaten up by the other superheroes faster than Peter Parker’s snazzy spectacles got him into trouble at college.

Its website has three steps – "1.Buy the glasses and connect to your PC. 2. Download apps or build your own in Unity 3D. 3. You are Tony Stark."

The computer-headgear overlays interactive 3D content onto the real world, for use in virtual activities from gaming to product design.

The initial product, Space Glasses, is meant to be eventually supplanted by a sleeker, cooler version (due April 2014, currently also priced at £429), and right now is aimed at app developers rather being for just anyone, as Google Glass is.

Space Glasses have to be wired to a computer to work, for one thing, but future versions will be battery-powered and will contain graphics processors, says the company.

Meta’s website says: "We see our glasses as a fundamentally democratizing tool. You can control what you see. You can filter things from your view. You can create novel categories of application that haven’t even been dreamed up."

So it’s a step up, perhaps, from Oculus VR’s virtual reality headset, being developed by Doom and Quake games creator John Carmack.

It also sounds likely to have less practical applications than Glass, which is being used by one startup to cut down on the time doctors spend doing non-patient-related tasks.

Rather than finding new ways to interact with reality, Space Glasses seem to focus on projecting your own reality onto the real world.

They work by building up a 3D model of the world as you walk around, using an algorithm to track flat surfaces in real time, rendering a 3D model of your surroundings.

That means you could play a 3D game of chess with friends, or run around playing a shoot ’em up game.

Space Glasses don’t have the life-changing significance of Glass, but they will be popular in their own way – these ones are firmly for the geeks.

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