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North Van company Vandrico develops Google Glass ‘apps’ 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Kenny MacKenzie (left), Brian Ho (centre), and Gonzalo Tudela (right), co-founders of Vandrico is using the prototype Google Glass to develop game controls that incorporate such things as head movements. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Kenny MacKenzie (left), Brian Ho (centre), and Gonzalo Tudela (right), co-founders of Vandrico is using the prototype Google Glass to develop game controls that incorporate such things as head movements. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Imagine playing a game that ditches the console controller for wristband-detected arm gestures and head movements that control what’s projected on a screen above the user’s eye.

A North Vancouver company has invested $20,000 to make the idea a reality. Vandrico co-founder Kenny MacKenzie said on Tuesday he’s landed one of Canada’s few pairs of the still-prototype Google Glass. The device has a screen above the user’s right eye and responds to voice controls, head movements or touchpad prompts.

“So you can program in hand gestures, gripping your hand, snapping your fingers, pointing, all these things are programmed in … and interact between your hand gestures and head gestures — you have quite an immersive experience,” MacKenzie said.

The company will be developing its simulation software, called ENV3D, to link up with MYO wristbands made by Thalmic Labs, expected for release in late 2013. Only a month in development, MacKenzie has already created a simulation that allows to users to move their head, using the Glass, to control a rolling ball.

The use of that technology doesn’t end with games, said company co-founder Gonzalo Tudela, who lists industries such as shipping, mining and construction.

“Say there’s an engineer on the surface at an underground mine … foreman gets down underground and sees the blast didn’t come out exactly as he said,” Tudela explained. “With this, you can send it up (using the Google Glass video recorder), and say, this is what I’m looking at.”

Vandrico has already been in talks with six Vancouver firms to market their technology, Tudela said.

There’s an app, in development, for everyday activities such as grocery shopping, too.

“It’ll map out (grocery) items in the store … so you can actually compile your list on the device, you can go to the grocery store and it’ll navigate through the store and help you find them,” MacKenzie added.

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