Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: in this exclusive video interview, Jörg Preißinger of BMW Group Research and Technology explains how the prototype augmented-reality glasses his team have developed can make the solid parts of a car appear transparent.
MINI Augmented Vision, which was unveiled at the Auto Shanghai 2015 motor show this week, is a research project developed by BMW Group Research and Technology looking at how augmented-reality eyewear could make driving safer and more convenient in future.
"One visionary use case we present is to look through the hard body parts of the car," says Preißinger in the movie, which was filmed at BMW's research and development centre in Munich. "Basically, the glasses make the car transparent. You have cameras outside the car that film and transfer the video into the glasses."
The prototype augmented-reality headset, which visitors to Auto Shanghai 2015 can experience at MINI's interactive demo, aims to improve safety by eliminating blind spots, as well as helping drivers with everyday tasks such as parking.
The glasses can also overlay more traditional digital information over the real world, such as speed limits and turn-by-turn navigation.
"The interesting thing is that with tracking technology we can fix the information that is being displayed to the outside world," explains Preißinger. "So the display does not move with your head."
The glasses can also be used outside the vehicle to give users directions while on foot.
"At BMW Group we don't only work on cars and functionality inside the car, but on whole mobility services," Preißinger claims.
MINI's Augmented Vision headset, which was developed in collaboration with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, currently only works in a strictly controlled test environment. But Preißinger believes that such a product will one day be available to buy.
"With this research project we show a vision that is in an early stage," he concedes. "But if technology evolves these kinds of glasses could spread out into the consumer electronics market."
The music in the movie is a track called Trash Digital by UK producer 800xL.
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is an ongoing collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.