Eye2 Explores Smart Glasses, Glasses Free 3D and More

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By Andrew Karp: Group Editor, Lenses + Technology

A couple of generations ago, if you told someone they had a “smart” pair of eyeglasses, you were complimenting their fashion sense. But these days, the term “smart glasses” has taken on new meanings.

Just as the word “smartphone” refers to a mobile phone equipped with internet access, apps, a video camera and other goodies, “smart glasses” are eyeglasses—or eyeglass-like devices—that offer wireless, hands-free communication and connectivity. This emerging trend, part of the revolution in wearable computers, was first brought to the public’s attention by Google with its yet-to-be-released “Google Glasses.” But other players are entering the field.

 

Vuzix calls its Smart Glasses M100 “the world’s first enhanced ‘hands free’ display and communications system for on-the-go data access from your smartphone and the Internet.”


This month in the debut issue of Eye2, VM’s monthly e-newsletter covering the latest, most innovative developments in vision technology, you’ll learn about two companies that are taking smart glasses in exciting, new directions. The first, Vuzix Corp., is developing what it calls “the world’s first enhanced ‘hands free’ display and communications system for on-the-go data access from your smartphone and the Internet.” It contains a virtual display with integrated camera and powerful processing engine, running an Android OS, to wirelessly connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to your smartphone (iOS or Android) or other compatible device. As a Hands Free accessory with AR camera/display functionality, Vuzix Smart Glasses let you do things like answer the phone with a visual address book as well as enable applications from reading text messages and email to visual navigation. Advanced features like basic augmented reality applications are also included.

eSight, a Canadian company, is taking a different approach to what it calls “intelligent” eyeglasses. In the first half of 2013, eSight will be launching a new class of wearable, electronic assistive technology designed specifically for low vision. It incorporates a high-resolution video camera and a bright, high–contrast, “virtual” display for each eye.

Also in the Jan. 23 edition of Eye2, discover how a group of German scientists at the Fraunhofer Center for Organics, Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD) has developed glasses that allow the wearer to flip pages on a digital document using nothing but their eyes. And find out why the next wave of 3D movies and home entertainment may not even use 3D glasses.