We’ve become used to thinking of advances in communications technology exclusively in terms of our phones, but with Augmented Reality glasses starting to hit their stride, all that may be changing. The general consensus at the moment is that the market leader is the American company Vuzix and their AR Glasses.
Their Vuzix Blade are now on sale for around a $1000. What you get for your money is a pair of glasses which don’t look too much different from regular sunglasses, but which use see-through optics to project a full-color display in front of the right lens. They have an 8mp front facing camera which can record full HD videos, and which can be controlled with touchpad gestures. An integrated microphone enables you to issue voice commands to Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, and access the full range of applications that it provides.
You can make calls, send texts, listen to music, check your schedule, get travel directions, check the weather or watch videos. Pair it with your smartphone and all your notifications will come up as projections. You can also have your Blades fitted with your prescription lenses or with photochromatic lenses. Vuzix are ravenous for apps, which will develop the Blade’s potential, and these are likely to follow thick and fast. Their blog talks about the Blade providing real-time over the shoulder support for doctors or providing instructions and guidance in the workplace.
A potentially controversial application of the new technology
The Dubai based firm NNTC are providing the facial recognition algorithms, which they call the iFalcon Face Control Mobile. Paired with Vuzix glasses this will allow the wearer to scan a crowd of faces and compare them with a database of a million images. Notification of a positive match would then be sent through to the visual display. The makers claim that this technology can identify an individual in a second and that it can detect age, gender and even emotions.
Meanwhile, sunglasses continue to be the most popular accessory
Sunglasses are the most popular of all accessories on the planet, with a global eyewear market of $132 billion and rising. Market leaders are offering ever more in the way of personalization. Ray-Ban offers the choice of a range of different technology lenses on their most popular styles, like the Wayfarer classic. Lens coatings give the option for different visual enhancements and smart coatings provide improved reductions in glare. The new lens,Prizm, from Oakley, is being promoted as the latest in cutting edge lens technology and provides enhanced perception of color, contrast and detail. Maui Jim offers their PolarizedPlus2 lenses in a range of new materials which boast improved strength, durability and clarity.
At a time when sunglasses become a more and more important form of eye protection by the day it is certain that the technology will continue to develop and that before too long, we’ll see a synthesis of traditional sunglass design and the emerging AR technology.