The world of CES, the annual technology conference in Las Vegas, usually brings a few surprises, but few expected Samsung to fire off its first real augmented reality salvo at the event.
But that's exactly what the South Korean company did late Monday when it unveiled a prototype pair of AR smartglasses on stage while demonstrating some of its other innovative ideas.
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Most of the presentation focused on Samsung's GEMS (Gait Enhancing & Motivating System) system, an exoskeleton-style device that appears geared toward helping elderly and physically challenged users to walk, exercise, and engage in physical therapy.
The surprise came when one of Samsung's staffers walked out to demonstrate GEMS and pulled out a pair of AR smartglasses to summon a virtual physical therapist.
Not much was discussed as to how the AR smartglasses work, but they look very similar to the Nreal Light in that the wearable looked mostly normal, with a bit of behind-the-lens bulk, and was tethered to what we assume was a wearable computer component somewhere on the person's body.
Once initialized by a two-fingered gesture interacting with (we assume) an AR interface, the virtual trainer appeared in front of the user in life-sized proportions and worked out with the user, thus showing off how AR can also be used for patients recovering from injury, or just trying to get in shape.
However, as far as we know, the demo used computer graphics to simulate the AR effect, as there was no direct proof on stage that Samsung's AR smartglasses work as shown during the demo (there may be a demo on the floor of CES, but if so, we haven't seen it just yet).
Overall, the presentation was a kind of look at the near future of Samsung rather than the announcement of products that are available today.
Nevertheless, the demo showed that Samsung has no plans on falling behind Apple (and its rumored AR smartglasses), as the Asia smartphone giant is definitely working on integrating an AR smartglasses product into the very fabric of the company's consumer roadmap.