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09 Feb 2019
What exactly are AR (Augmented Reality) smart glasses?
These glasses are a part of that genre of electronic devices that pertains to making an accessory out of the technology. So, basically these are worn like regular glasses with a remarkable difference that instead of looking at the regular world objects through them you can place holograms of real life 3D objects like that of a clock on a particular spot. The argument behind developing such a device being multi-fold, one of which is to reduce the number of objects in real life that would offer both utilitarian and hedonic advantages among others.
But how the work of AR Smart Glasses is accomplished?
The AR Smart Glasses add to whatever the users might be looking at an AR Smart Glasses overlay which in an automated way brings the relevant information to the fore. This provides the user with an impression that they are actually looking at the objects which are basically the holograms and, thus, are only virtual. Simply saying, a user gets the ability to place virtual objects on some particular places in his home or at his workplace or to his visual panorama using these glasses where he will be able to see 3D objects.
Enthralling, isn’t it?
Reminds you of Iron Man-3 or any other such movie, doesn’t it?
After all, this sounds so fantastical that it can only be perceived as a figment of imagination. But all of this is real and happening. Consider, for instance, the Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens, which were aimed at merging the virtual information with the physical information in the view field of the user and were released in 2015.
The main motive behind developing this particular rubric of technology is “Spatial computing” which will make possible an infinite workspace with the help of augmented reality. Now this infinite space is not literally infinite but it can stretch out to as far as user’s field of vision can.
Meta 2 headsets pertain to this area only and whose founder and CEO, Meron Gribetz, has even planned to incorporate the company’s headsets whose developer prototype has been released to be employed in his company’s workspace since he believes that this will bring out more productivity in his employees. So, the employees are most probably going to be left with bare desks and thus, working without their monitors with the emails and other tasks managed through their headsets.
The best instance to illustrate this workspace is that of image editing, a computing task that can be simplified by AR Smart Glasses in which the specific task of changing the paint tool by clicking on the menus is involved. In this, a physical tool might be held like a real paint brush through the headset. This paint brush could be further dipped in a virtual paint pot to change or mix colours. In fact, the size of the paint brush can be changed by stretching its virtual bristles with gestures.
But what’s this relation between productivity and AR Smart Glasses because of which such thrust upon its usage has been put by Meta’s CEO?
Well, Gilberts is basically referring to a neuroscience research which states that people are more effective at problem solving when parts of brain that focus upon the motion activities are also involved. Ergo, if the information is distributed around the person and they are made to interact with this information using their gestures then this will engage the part of the brain that sits idly when you sit like a log working on your flat monitor screen.
Indeed, Meta is placing more importance on the shoulders of the augmented reality technology to bring about a surge in the productivity of its employees than its competitors.
AR Smart Glasses
And then there is Vuzix Blade which was unveiled in January of this year (only a prototype) which is a pair of AR Smart Glasses that enables the screen to float in the upper right corner of user’s vision. Though this is not the only time the AR Smart Glasses have been released by those for there have been several iterations to the same in which the technology appeared in a rather ugly fashion. So this iteration is an improvement on a much larger level courtesy the flaws encountered in the so many versions floated earlier. Also, this iteration is the first device Vuzix has developed that constitutes nearly all the aspects of the display as well as its power source within the glasses itself.
To further add upon to the bandwagon of praises lavished upon the Blade, the company has also partnered with the e-commerce giant Amazon to bring Alexa integration to the device which has rendered the device as a first pair of augmented reality glasses that makes use of Amazon’s voice based digital assistant.
These AR Smart Glasses are a real deal since they provide every benefit that the Google glass provided but only in a better and more accentuated manner since the display of the Blade is larger, clearer and it is lighter with a weight of only three ounces as well as it comprises of full colours in the vision.
And in order to manoeuvre the device’s interface, the user can use an internal voice control system that lies separate to the Alexa integration, or a series of multi-fingered swipes on the right side of glasses frame can be brought to use. This device works as a standalone headset and also, it comes with a specification of connectivity with the internet via Wi-Fi. To add a further icing upon the cake, it can also be paired over Bluetooth with an iPhone or Android device to push notifications or display photos/ videos and it constitutes a battery life between two to twelve hours depending upon the use the device has been put through which can be as low on battery consumption as that of notifications or very intensive because of playing games, accessing the internet through Alexa or through the use of the camera.
AR Smart Glasses among the competition is Solos. Solos’ market segment is centred around the cyclists. This pair of smart glasses provides a small heads-up display which enables the user to take a look at a lot of data in real time which includes the speed of the user as well as the heart rate among other such data that holds meaning to a cyclist like the cadence and the power zones.
In the same segment, the competition is being provided by the Israel based Everysight whose Everysight raptor has been brought to life after years that were taken into building an expertise around the heads-up displays for the military. Now the same insight has been brought to use for developing the firm’s smart glasses.
And the count of the contenders doesn’t end here because it will be a long list if all such smart glasses were attempted to be encapsulated. But I believe that the basic gist can be driven home that this space of smart glasses is only widening with passing time and not just from various contenders but from one singular start-up as well. As has been already explained by the case of Vuzix who has released various iterations to its smart glasses each one of which was better than the previous.
So, we can be looking to a future in which instead of having a desktop we would be well equipped with just a pair of AR Smart Glasses with the help of which we would be carrying out all our tasks every which way. That future doesn’t look that farther considering the speed at which the advancements and improvements are taking place in this particular realm.