10 December 2016

Wearable Glass and 360° vision


Disruptive technologies have a way to get through from SciFi to market success in a few years, witness mirrorless cameras.

A few observers forsee the same for Google Glass, the wearable device getting mainstream this year : shall we kiss goodbye our smartphones? I would shed no tears. This is an preliminary article anyway: we'll see how things pan out. For the moment this is more an inventory of links, than an assessment, but I have no doubts that wearable technology is already taking long strides.

For the moment universal use seems hardly likely, except for the affluent, with Google Glass selling to a selected few at $ 1500  as part of the Google Explorer program. Google has just expanded to Britain the Explorer Program,selling the Glass for UKP 1000, offering in the meanwhile  new  glass frames that could be compatible with prescription lenses in the UK.

What drew my attention however is the appearance of a Chinese clone , the SimEye.



At $500 it seems far more reasonable. The difference is in the number of app offered, and the fact that it doesn't respond to voice controls like the original, and has no sound transmission through the skull bones like Google. But it can still take photographs and record movies with 4 times the definition of Google. And it can still download apps directly from Google Android Libraries.

Would that be able to interface with one of my cameras?

Looks a bit unsteady. Note that Google mentioned recently that the finalprice to consumers of the Glass would be close to your average smartphone - so better wait!


Meanwhile Olympus published a patent for wearable glasses, and I later discovered it is associated with Kopin company for development of a new device.

Olympus is known for its world dominance in endoscopes and medical devices, so Medical could be the first application. But it could also go consumer:

Imagine surgery with augmented vision, a thing that military jet pilots already have with their headup displays in their helmets. But here the device is much lighter and less intrusive.

It could also bring augmented reality to the operating table: a surgeon could  see a heart in 3D:

Or could it go Consumer and Virtual? Virtual Reality quit consumer markets some ten years ago because it required some extremely fast and expensive computers to be credible. Therefore it was the preserve of training devices for the military, like jet plane simulation.


It is now making a comeback to consumer games, because of the fast increased computing power of miniaturised devices, and their high resolution screens. Also, Wi-Fi and Cloud can act as Storage.


There are out of the box solutions, making use of devices you might already have. Check this, the Oculus device for making a Samsung phone into a virtual reality device:

By sliding a phone into with a wearable box with two magnifying lenses, you use the high definition Samsung screen to input software provided by Oculus, the Facebook funded company.

The built-in lens of camera phone also allows to superpose the artificial and the real. Remarkable!


The main reason reason however for me to take an interest, is that Olympus mentioned wearable glass a a future interface for cameras. Imagine a WiFi link between camera and Glass, instead of using a smartphone. Wouldn't it be more natural in the long run than sticking an odd, and expensive EVF to its Pens?


Google Glass was not born for Photography though. "It's a pretty crappy 5MP cell phone camera - there's not much else to say. It's ok when you have some sunlight and a muddled mess when you don't." says AndroidPolice

The most successful apps at the moment  include a Moving Map indicator, which can tell where you are, and direct you through the road system. You input the data with your voice. "Get directions to..." will fire up the app and start navigation to your destination. Just like your phone on Android, you can direct it to a specific business, search for a type of business, or speak a whole address.

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