How smart are your glasses?

January 22, 2014

Wearable technology was the highlight of the recent 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I saw an increasing variety of fitness trackers, smart watches, and even smart glasses. Vuzix, GlassUp, and Epson had their latest models of smart glasses on display.

Wearable technology was the highlight of the recent 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I saw an increasing variety of fitness trackers, smart watches, and even smart glasses. Vuzix, GlassUp, and Epson had their latest models of smart glasses on display.

Vuzix M100 is an android-based wearable computer with a monocular display in the form of eyewear. The onboard android computer can run apps to allow the user to do such things as record and playback still pictures and video, track timed events, and manage a calendar. M100 was awarded the CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Award Best Of Innovation. It is still the most current model available

M100 has the ability to wirelessly connect to other devices, such as a smartphone or inventory scanner. According to the company, it is a “16:9, WQVGA, full-color display that floats in or near your line of sight, providing an image visually equivalent to a 4-inch smartphone screen held at a typical 14 in. distance.” It was designed for industrial use and can be mounted onto safety glasses or a headband.

M100 can be controlled via four buttons on the device, traditional smartphone software interface, or a paired android device. Voice and gesture control are also supported. Users would include mechanics, medical staff and warehouse personnel. They are available for purchase for $999.

GlassUp displays data such as e-mails, text messages, tweets, Facebook messages, and other app updates. Information briefly appears peripherally, without obstructing field of view. The patented display system uses a microprojector fixed on the inside of the frame temple to show the image on the inner surface of the lens. The company hopes to deliver prescription lenses in the future.

GlassUp is a display system only and does not contain an onboard operating system. It is controlled via smartphone through Bluetooth. Built into the device is an accelerometer, compass, and ambient light sensor. The company envisions usage for athletes reviewing performance data, movie-goers reading subtitles, tourists viewing tour information, gamers playing augmented reality games, healthcare professionals reviewing patient data, and warehouse workers taking inventory. Several models are available for pre-order for June 2014 delivery. The basic model lists for $299; prescription, camera, and prescription camera models are also available.

Epson Moverio BT-200 utilizes dual mini LCD projection systems on each side of the frame to provide a binocular display. This allows the user to view digital content overlaid on the real world. Other features include compass, gyro, accelerometer, and front-facing camera. Moverio BT-200 allows for advanced augmented reality capabilities, including gaming and medical diagnostics, and is capable of delivering HD and 3-D video content.

Moverio BT-200 is controlled via android device. Prescription and tinted inserts are available. The basic model, listing for $699, can be pre-ordered for a March 2014 ship date.ODT