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Vuzix SMART glasses bring Augmented Reality into focus at CES

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January 10, 2012

Vuzix showcases SMART Glasses Technology at CES 2012

Vuzix showcases SMART Glasses Technology at CES 2012

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Vuzix Corporation came to CES 2012 armed with a video eyewear technology that, as they put it in the press release, "breaks the boundaries of conventional optics and display solutions". SMART Glasses Technology is based on integrated HD display engines and waveguide optics, as opposed to refractive and/or reflective optics used so far. What does that actually mean and is this technology really going to make Head Mounted Displays lose their association with bulkiness and strange looks? Read on for a report straight from the CES 2012 floor.

The wares proudly displayed in Las Vegas crown years of internal R&D work coupled with a recent licensing deal with Nokia. The SMART Glasses Technology relies on a compact HD display engine churning out images with brightness and contrast good enough for outdoor use. The output passes through a 1.4 mm thick plastic waveguide lens and the resulting image is extended in 2D into the user's eyes.

Vuzix showcases SMART Glasses Technology at CES 2012

Since the projected images are merged with the real world information, you can safely watch a movie on the go without bumping into things. But the company sees the technology as much more than just wearable TV. The glasses are meant to work in unison with Internet connected mobile devices, which leaves the door wide open to augmented reality (AR) based applications.

Whatever AR magic the glasses are set to perform, the software will have a lot of hardware to rely upon. SMART Glasses, or at least some varieties of them, will be able to record and transmit everything that the user sees. They will also be capable of recognizing their environment and their position in the real word.

Throw in some integrated head tracking and options for multiple camera technologies that "broaden the users' sensory perception across a greatly expanded light spectrum" and you can see why, apart from the consumer markets, Vuzix is also eyeing the commercial and industrial markets. It's probably with the last two in mind that the company came up with some pretty interesting form factors, like that helmet mounted monocle for example. Consumers can rest assured, however, that all this cutting edge technology nicely fits into an ordinary pair of shades. Finally, making a fashion statement will cease to be a compulsory part of the deal.

Vuzix showcases SMART Glasses Technology at CES 2012

From single-purpose night vision and first responder solutions to fully connected AR devices stuffed with sensors, a variety of SMART Glasses is slated to appear on the market as early as summer 2012.

About the Author
Jan Belezina Formerly in charge of Engadget Poland, Jan Belezina's long time fascination with the advance of new technology has led him to become Gizmag's eyes and ears in Eastern Europe.   All articles by Jan Belezina
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9 Comments

This is fantastic. Been looking forward to this kind of stuff to come along.

Dawid Dahl
11th January, 2012 @ 02:41 am PST

"broaden the users' sensory perception" ... how about broadening the field of view? Looks like the same old deprivation of peripheral vision.

"integrated head tracking" ... with what latency, timed from actual head positions? Until that is very short, simulator sickness won't go away. The 1990 kilogram HMDs at least discouraged rapid head movement. Tracking with what precision?

What's the resolution?

At what fixed distance do you un-naturally have to keep your eyes focused?

"safely watch a movie on the go without bumping into things"... if you're paying attention. I've had a car start up and hit me because the driver was looking at traffic gaps, not pedestrians. (This was LA, where pedestrians get the same belief level as reindeer.) With imposed tunnel vision, collisions will happen with much less notice than with the naked eye, or even with regular glasses, where motion is noticeable outside the lenses.

You'd be safer walking around blindfold.

Geometeer
11th January, 2012 @ 04:36 am PST

Geometeer - January 11, 2012 @ 04:36 am PS,

you comment seems to be anti-technology, obviously this new set of glasses has its limitations, what's your excuse,

tampa florida
11th January, 2012 @ 08:50 am PST

Gotta agree with Geometeer about the safety issue. If people are being maimed in the streets while they walk and text, causing accidents, this one will surely up the ante. Can you get them custom-ground with your eyeglass prescription?

dsiple
11th January, 2012 @ 10:34 am PST

We are the BORG. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Janet Bratter
11th January, 2012 @ 10:54 am PST

Quick fix for the issue of distracted pedestrianizing (that's actually a word, I'm surprised too), make it so that you can only see the real world or augmented one, but not at the same time. You board a train, you flip the switch. You get to your stop, you turn it off. Any glasses like these should also be 3d capable, because as mentioned it would be harmful to focus the eye so close. 3d allows it to trick the eye to un-focus, because it must make the images match. 3d delivered from glasses would be amazing, because the tv would be as big as your field of view allows. Now, with this it would also be interesting to integrate the cheek headphones so that you can also hear what's happening around you as well as crank the volume without damaging eardrums. Pretty cool.

Ethan Brush
11th January, 2012 @ 06:03 pm PST

Geometeer is right - last time I walked around blindfolded I was definitely much safer. True story. Mind you - it was a few years back, I was dizzy, and holding a pin-touting donkey's tail in my hand.

Maybe we can train these new specs to recognize Geometeer in the street, and augment his form into the the pin-tailed creature we had so much fun spiking back when mum and dad were looking after our own blindfolded you-know-what's :-)

christopher
12th January, 2012 @ 05:02 am PST

Some of the augmented vision ideas sound cool, but watching a movie as you're walking around? Come on, that's a bit much. It's bad enough that in the cities everyone wears headphones and don't talk to each other anymore, now they don't have to even look at each other?

It's only a matter of time before some idiot tries to drive with them on.

Conor Brannigan
12th January, 2012 @ 09:58 am PST

The military applications would be nice. As a service member, I could see many benifits to the tactical uses of this defice, whether it be real time enemy movement, friendly routes, or GPS.

Benjamin Thomas Small
19th January, 2012 @ 12:09 pm PST
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