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  July 24, 2013
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Epson Exec Says Optical's One-on-One Sales Approach is 'Ideal' for its Wearable Display Glasses

By Andrew Karp


One of the most innovative wearable displays on the market—and one of the most fun to use—is the Epson Moverio BT-100. Introduced in 2012 by Epson America, a leader in projection technology, the feature-packed BT-100 is the world's first Android-based see-through wearable display. Using micro-projection technology and an Android-powered track-pad controller, Moverio lets users view streaming video, experience side-by-side 3D content and enjoy downloaded digital content on a virtual 80-inch perceived screen projected into the user's real environment. Featuring built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and nearly six hours of rechargeable battery life, Moverio offers a portable way to interact with content from virtually any location. Check out the Moverio YouTube Channel for a close-up look at what the BT-100 can do.

Although Epson sells Moverio online and in consumer electronic stores for about $499, it isn't available in optical dispensaries—at least not yet. But Epson Moverio product manager Eric Mizufuka believes the high tech specs would be a great fit for optical.

"I actually think that would be ideal," Mizufuka told Eye2. "This is a very high touch product that really needs that one-to-one attention you can get in an optical shop. The user needs to be walked through the features and they need to try it on. That's not an experience that's supported in the consumer electronics space."

Mizufuka said Epson is working with various development partners to expand the range of functions that can be performed with Moverio, and has developed some "killer apps" like the augmented reality training app Epson developed with Scope Technologies.

"Wearers can use a 3-D look-through while they're repairing a product," detailed Mizufuka. "Digital instructions are overlaid in real time by a support tech at the home office. There's a real financial benefit because it lowers the support costs."

Medicine is another arena in which Moverio is gaining traction. In particular, a growing number of surgeons are now using screens to get supplemental information in the operating room.
Epson is also working with APX Labs' Northstar technology, which enables hands free interaction with digital content.

"We working with a spinal surgeon," said Mizufuka. "When he looks at monitor screen, his neck and shoulders move. Having a second display in his glasses can expedite things." The fact that the wearer can turn off the display without using their hands and then see through the BT-100's transparent screen is another plus, he added.

Although the BT-100 is not a prescription product, Moverio platform is designed to be worn over glasses. "We won't fit every type of glasses, but I imagine once we get into the workplace in a larger direction, a lot of workers are going to be fitted for Moverio-compatible glasses," Mizufuka predicted.

"What types of glasses frames will comfortably fit with Moverio? Should we develop an Rx insert? We need to start talking to optical people," he said.



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