With Google’s ‘Project Glass’ AR glasses seemingly just around the corner (prototypes are currently on sale to selected developers), many of Google’s global technology rivals have been quick to react. Since Google obtained several patents for their device in June, during which time a pair of the glasses were modelled by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Sony, Nintendo, Apple and other smaller companies have announced their own AR glasses product.
AR glasses set to flood the market
One of the key features of all of these glasses has been the ability to take pictures on command. The concept of being taking pictures with just the eyes and voice is an appealing concept, perhaps because it will give humans the perceived powers of a science fiction robot, with a photographic memory. It is also a natural sign of market progression. In years gone by, the need was for everything to be mobile and transportable. Now that virtually all consumer electronics are capable of that, the latest need is for everything to be hands free. People can make phone calls hands free, but what else? You currently need your hands to take a picture, but is all that about to change?
Society in the 21st Century is one which expects to be able to take high quality photographs, whatever the circumstances and there are signs that AR glasses could very soon become the norm for casual photographers. Many smartphones are armed with technology to rival compact cameras, and soon most pairs of sunglasses will as well.
This is something which the electronics and technology industry must act upon. One of the biggest names in photography, Kodak, suffered huge losses for failing to react quickly enough to the digital revolution and it seems as though Japanese camera specialists Olympus are keen to not follow suit.
Lightweight and hands-free web browsing
Reportedly seven years in the making, Olympus’s ultra-compact wearable display prototype, the MEG4.0 has arrived. Weighing just 30 grams, these frameless glasses can project Internet and digital content right before your eyes but without blocking your view of the real world. Olympus claim that the product works well in bright sunlight, has a battery life of between two and eight hours, and includes an accelerometer which tells the glasses which way the user is looking. The digital content is provided by the user’s smartphone or tablet using a Bluetooth connection.
The early prototypes of the MEG4.0 do not currently feature a camera, although given Olympus’s rich pedigree in consumer and medical micro technology and photography, the camera is surely just a temporary absentee. It’s also unclear as yet whether Olympus plans to release the product themselves commercially, or to offer the technology to other developers.
What we do know is that for people hoping to be able to interact with the digital world using just a pair of glasses, the future is very bright indeed.
Sean writes about technology and its uses in the modern world for Direct Sight. Buy glasses online from Direct Sight here.