Smart Glasses: AR & Mixed Reality Devices

Format: article

Topics: industry perspectives

Wearable Glass Devices

Wearable devices, or smart glasses, refer to a device that contains a computer screen or display in front of a person´s eyes that uses augmented reality or mixed reality to present data.  Graphics or text are overlaid onto a user’s existing environment so that they can complete a task or engage in a new contextualized experience. As a result, users can continue to operate within his or her environment without distractions or obstruction when the digital content is not needed.

Monocular or Binocular Displays

These terms distinguish between smart glasses that have a screen only for one eye (monocular) such as the RealWear HMT-1, Epson Movario and Vuzix Blade, or glasses with screens for each eye (binocular) such as the HoloLens, or Magic Leap One, which can provide a fully immersive AR experience. Your operational goals, working environment and the amount of data you need access to will likely determine what device design is most appropriate.

Head Mounted Display

An AR headset, or head-mounted device, is a wearable device that secures to the top of the head with hardware or straps. It can also be worn as part of a helmet and contains a display frame or lens in front of the eye(s). These devices are often utilized in industries that require protection for the head or face. This type of display is often used for virtual reality experiences; however, some device models contain a heads-up display for functional workplaces use cases.

 

RealWear

     

The RealWear HMT-1 device is often used in industrial environments in which workers need to access data yet remain hands-free. This device is a popular choice for loud environments, such as construction, due to its noise cancelling abilities. The device  sits on your head and contains a small high-resolution display screen, angled below the user’s line of sight. Voice commands are used to navigate through steps.

 

HoloLens


HoloLens 2 is the latest Microsoft smart glass device. It’s an untethered mixed reality headset worn like a baseball cap. Its built in sensors map out your physical environment so that you can interact with holographic displays. This next gen version includes improved hand and eye-tracking sensors, and a new display system. The increased field of view and improved resolution of HoloLens2 have also greatly enhanced the user experience. This device is popular for gaming, but is used for a number of practical enterprise applications.

 

Magic Leap

  

Magic Leap One is is a mixed reality device that assesses your physical space then uses that information to create a heightened-sensory experience.  Digital objects are placed around your environment, and feel like they’re really there. The device comes with a light-pack, a headset and controller. The headset itself is lightweight, but best suited for slow-paced interactions.

 

Vuzix

       

The Vuzix Blade is a monocular display device with a thick black plastic frame, resembling that of sunglasses. The glasses contain a miniature display in the right lens that provide data. There is a small touchpad on the right side of the frame which is used for navigating through menus. Users can adjust the position and brightness of the projected AR content, as well as  some display information.

 

Epson 

   

The Epson Moverio is a monocular display device intended for industrial augmented reality functionality.  They have a lightweight frame and can easily fit over a user’s prescription eyeglasses. Drone users can utilize the BT300 model to simulate a drone piloting experience. This device features a transparent display that makes it easy to see drone video feed and flight statistics.