Someday soon, Google Glass and its augmented reality (AR) headset ilk will be commonplace. No, the trees won't actually grow suddenly taller and the sun won't shine any brighter, but the way we as a species experience our world will shift. Looking down at your coffee table, you'll be able to generate board games at a whim. While reading a magazine, you'll be able to buy the clothes you like online instantly.
It's a brilliant concept, and one that everyone from Samsung to Google is hard at work making real. What the folks at AR firm Metaio have done, however, is create the interface for your newly-modified reality. With their Thermal Touch tech, you'll be able to interact with the world just like you do your tablet. Simply pressing down on real world objects will link you to the website they're associated with. Other controls will let you draw in mid air, alter the color and scale of the objects you see, and more.
The only hardware Thermal Touch needs to do its world-warping trick are a pair of video cameras: a basic one to monitor where you're pressing and swiping and a thermal imaging one to register when you press down on something. Once your warm fingers make contact, your headset will recognize whatever you've gotten your hands on as a touchscreen interface. The Thermal Touch interface even works with smartphones and tablets, so you won't have to be an AR headset early-adopter to take advantage of reality's new controls.
The folks at Metaio have been in the business of crafting an AR world since 2003, and now the only thing between them and their dream of a truly augmented reality is the absence of thermal imaging cameras on our tech. Somebody better get on that ASAP, because controlling how we perceive and interact with our world is one heck of a cool super power.