January 23, 2017
The smart glasses discussion has been all over the place in recent years. While Google’s smart glasses have sputtered, you might assume that giants like Apple or Samsung would be ahead of the pack in terms of innovation on the consumer front. However, one of the leaders in the smart glasses technology market is coming from Vuzix, a relatively unknown company in the ever-evolving space.
Vuzix’s newest model, the M300, has addressed the major concerns consumers had with Google Glass, using customer feedback generated over the last two years. The general concerns included the need for a more functional design that allowed for increased durability and comfort, as well as a longer battery life and of course, much better usability. Here’s the skinny on the technology after the company started shipping to key customers as early as September:
Vuzix’s M300 model certainly feels much more sturdy than Google Glass, so there’s no real fear that the glasses will break the second you set them down. They look more like regular reading glasses, so you don’t feel like a nerd wearing them. With constant usage, the battery lasts about three hours but can be extended up to six hours if you use a micro USB connector pack.
Almost everyone’s major problem with Google Glass was that the images were hard to see and constantly had to be resized. The M300 uses Waveguide technology, which the company showed off at CES 2014, which removes the need for a reflector prism to magnify and flip the image into the users’ eye. The image is beamed directly into the user’s eye without needing to resize or flip.
These glasses run the new Intel Atom-driven Android 6 platform, making it much more compatible for everyday consumers with a speed recognition engine, gesture control, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0. The monocular display and onboard processor comes complete with expandable memory, data collection, WiFi, touch screen, and recording capabilities, as well as pre-installed applications to make it more like working on a personal computer.
In addition to its “novelty” play as a toy, the M300 is being used as a business tool to build commercial aircraft and automobiles, and more broadly it is deployed in commercial and industrial applications. A report from shipping giant DHL showed that glasses increased efficiency by 25 percent by improving the functionality of warehousing, shipping, and logistics. While flying squarely under the radar, Vuzix has distributed its early models to over 50 VIPs, including Boeing and GE.
Vuzix’s flagship PR product won four awards for Innovation for CES 2017 and was featured at the event a few weeks ago. We shall soon find out if this is indeed the wearable technology AR/VR enthusiasts have dreamed of for almost a decade.
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