Augmented Reality is expected to eclipse Virtual Reality by 60 billion dollars. As the tech titans’ battle for share of this emerging info-tech market, start ups dream up ways to change the world and make a bit of coin. The potential applications for augmented reality are immense, as infinite as any tech, ever. Which begs the question, are we entering a new era of humanity, “The Augmented Age”? Maybe, but today AR is best utilized in our daily as a tool that lessens the friction to consume info we seek at a moments notice, and only for a moment. Think push notifications, map navigation, and translations.
After much research we bring to you a range of “augmented reality” gear to consider. The market is so new, advancing fast and hardware is abundant. Today is about the physical gear, but keep just as close of an eye on the software side, too. HERE WE GO!
HoloLens – You’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s $3,000 AR headwear. It’s pretty futuristic-dope. Considering we’re wearing a face glass mask it’s somewhat fly. The product is one of the best on the market, but that doesn’t exempt it form many limitations.
The imaging looks surreal-real. The color pops plenty enough but the resolution is not the recent standard of HD. The objects are definitely 3D and and can be manipulated by the user. The field of view (FOV) is rather narrow, less than a third of human vision (up to 110º). MS claims this as an advantage, allowing you to be present in the rest of the room. The photos and videos of mixed reality captures are misleading to how much AR is visible at a time.
The user experience is clunky, but it is no surprise UX for the space is nascent. But, the idea that you navigate with your neck is surprisingly dumb. You give hand signals, which could work, such as “blooming” you hand to retreat. It’s far from seamless or natural and if the content stays OK, HoloLens will be but a trend.
Magic Leap – Arguably one of the world’s hottest start-ups, located in suburban Florida, Magic Leap raised 793.5M Series C at a $4.5B Valuation. Alibaba, Google, Warner Brothers, J.P. Morgan, and more.
They say they created a digital light field signal that mimics how visuals of our world communicate with our brain. “Synthetic digital images that merge with real spaces” if you will. There has been lots of hype, good and bad about Magic Leap. You can find some of the good here from Wired. The head of PR peacing out here. The leaked/fake Image from Business Insider there. Pleanty more highs and lows if you search. Nonetheless, CEO Abovitz + company have the attention of the entire industry and silly sums of money supporting them. We expect to leap deep into the future on their first product, anything less would be a total letdown.
Apple — The most valuable publicly traded company in the world and one of the most secretive is likely in development of AR. Bloomberg, job postings and glasses orders all lead us to believe we can expect the next hit from Apple to be AR. However they remain silent thus far, though publically championing the potentials of the tech. Apple tends to build products fully and release when the market is at its zenith for adoption. In many ways the company is marketing-first. Nonetheless, you can be certain Apple AR will be sexy, user friendly and at a 30%+ margin. Most interesting will be to see the pace they set for user interface, as during the days of Jobs, UI and UX have always been a key differentiator. Our best prediction is the first generation will release September 2018 or April 2019.
Snap Spectacles the adolescent hipster’s life logging toy is coming out later this year. But are these really augmented reality? No. We mention them to clear that up. They are not. Just a camera on glasses for the immensely vain. I’ll probably get a pair.
Vuzix New comer, let’s you “view the future”, promoting they have style, performance and vibrant full color display. More interesting is their gadgets in iWear which puts you in the cockpit of your drone You wear the connected camera. Their Blade 3000 won several awards at CES 2017. Vuzix blade 3000 model. It is the clever IoT integrations that will win out, or at least give these companies enough time to stick around and be bought up.
Epson Moverio BT-300 is the lightest “and most portable” AR glasses on the market to date. They are a bit super-nerd feeling though, wide rectangle frames, translucent, but definitely light. You can connect to a 360º camera and live stream into your AR view. The viewing screen seemed a little small, but unimposing.
Recon Jet “Heads up display glasses” built with a dual core CPU will connect and a ton of connectivity, and onboard sensors, it’s everything short of a USB port, even has IR eye gazing which suggests biometrics. We are confident these glasses will catch a following, they have a feel for them that give brands life.
Sony SmartEyeGlass have been out for two years now and are one of the truest pioneers of computer-glasses, with wifi, Bluetooth, microphone, et cetera. They are pretty nerd-looking but successfully provided navigation. Could be good for on-the-job work as convenient access to bits of info like directions and statuses. See demo here. With Sony’s success on PSVR, it will be interesting to see where they decide to take their business in these coming years.
Jins Meme Glasses that make you smarter, see website here. They are fairly stylish looking too, but only available for developers at the moment. Jins Meme researches visualization effects on the brain and tailor the experience to improve your life, especially in regards to healthy-living. Sensors gather eye movement to infer brain activity. Imagine that for big data collection! JM intends to research conditions of the nervous system and find ways to ultra-early diagnose. Maybe teachers can better understand how much of the material students are comprehending. We could monitor when our mind is being worn out and it’s time to take a break.
Augmented Reality glasses are hot and going to be the next wearable, not because they look cool, or because the recent technological advances are so great, but because they provide an ultra-convenience: We don’t have to look at our cell phone to consumer the information we’re seeking. Now is the time in which we will provide we are not addiction to our phones but the information on the other side of them. AR will bring that information in front of our face without the slightest bother. Even more subtly, we’ll be able to read the content without others being privy to what we see. This is a game changer for social interaction. Think about the information we will be able to pull up about someone in a moments notice. Google you while you’re still talking. Or, facial recognition technology and cross reference all public info. Damn, what does the future hold for us?!