In the wearable-wired future Augumenta is looking to help build, you'll be entering your debit card PIN number on your palm, where no one else can see it. Or maybe you'll be adjusting the operating speed of machines in a factory by making a few swipes on your hand. The Finnish company just debuted its new software platform for wearables, one that will let you utilize a host of augmented reality and gesture controls for both entertainment and productivity apps.
We got an up close look at Augumenta at this year's Wearable Tech Expo in New York, where the company showed off several apps that would combine traditional gesture controls with virtual AR surfaces. The Augumenta demo interface (which was running on a smartphone but also works with most smartglasses) featured app icons for Twitter, the web, a PIN pad app, a settings menu and a rock, paper, scissors game.
The demonstrator navigated the menu by moving his fist about, and opened each app by making a thumbs-up gesture. He started with a game of rock, paper, scissors, which not only recognized the game's three titular gestures, but more obscure ones, like a lizard or the iconic Spock sign from Star Trek. This game didn't interact with the real world in any way, but it was a solid look at how accurately Augumenta can capture gestures. To close the app, our demonstrator simply made a thumbs down.
We then got a look at how Augumenta could help out with everyday life with the PIN pad app. With this app open, the user put his palm in front of the camera, and a PIN pad appeared on it almost instantly. When used with a pair of smartglasses and a compatible point-of-sale system, you could theoretically enter your PIN number onto your palm without anyone but you seeing it.
While the demos we saw were simple and didn't run on an actual pair of smartglasses, we definitely see the potential for developers to find nifty uses of Augumenta's tools. The gesture side of the software, which is compatible with Android, Linux, Tizen, iOS and Windows, is currently in limited beta for select OEMs and will be widely available to developers by the end of this year. The company plans to release the AR component by early 2015, and says the platform will work on Google Glass as well as smartglasses from ChipSiP and Epson.
Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. When he's not writing about games, PCs and iOS, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and on Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+