There is a general opinion about the stagnation of the smartphone market. Improvements in processors or megapixels don’t hide one reality – they’re just hand-held touchscreen devices. What devices will we start using in the next decade as an alternative to smartphones? What about the rapidly evolving mixed reality technology?
It looks like augmented reality or AR glasses can be a breakthrough in this area. In one of its latest iterations, augmented reality glasses from a Chinese company promise to transform the environment and offer music in hardware close to regular glasses.
What are AR glasses with augmented reality?
Augmented Reality or AR consists of overlaying digital information, including text and images, onto an image of the real world. Real images can be seen indirectly, as in the case of a cell phone screen, or directly, through the lenses of glasses.
In the case of augmented reality glasses, it is common to turn on a screen or use projection mechanisms on the lens so that virtual and real images merge for perceptual purposes. In theory, this approach should be more efficient, as the user can free their hands and move freely through their everyday environment. One of the earliest examples of this technology was the later Google Glass.
How are AR glasses different from virtual reality?
And this is the main difference between AR glasses and VR headsets. In the case of augmented reality glasses, the user interacts with the environment and can go about their daily activities. On the contrary, virtual reality offers a total immersion beyond physical reality.
In practice, however, the boundaries between AR glasses and VR headsets are not as clear-cut. New prototype augmented reality glasses, such as the one being developed by Meta, allow lenses to be dimmed, thus providing a virtual reality experience. At the same time, wireless virtual reality glasses with built-in cameras can display physical reality in combination with virtual elements.
Glasses technology to transform reality
All experts agree that ergonomics and ease of use will be critical to the mass adoption of augmented reality glasses. The new model unveiled by the Chinese company at CES 2023 is a step in that direction. They are still somewhat larger than classic glasses, but the user can wear them daily.
These augmented reality glasses incorporate their own processor, similar to the latest generation of cell phones, two micro-LED screens with Full HD resolution and 1000 nits of brightness, which theoretically allows them to work indoors and outdoors at different times of the day. However, the most exciting aspect is their applications.
The company claims that the glasses have an artificial intelligence system that can translate conversations with other people in real time.
That is, while the interlocutor is speaking, the lenses show his words in translation, as in a film with subtitles.
In addition, the model includes GPS features that allow the identification of buildings and monuments in the environment. And thanks to the Bluetooth connection, it can also display notifications received on the mobile phone, such as messages or alerts. Finally, it lets you listen to music and take pictures to share directly on social networks. And all this is controlled through a gesture interface.
Other areas of application of AR-glasses of augmented reality
The first applications of augmented reality glasses were focused on the professional environment. And, probably, the ability to more effectively solve simple problems will be the main advantage on the way to their mass implementation. At the moment, augmented reality glasses are great for applications such as:
- Construction. In architectural environments, whether at the design stage or on site, being able to access 3D views of models and building elements can greatly speed up processes.
- Maintenance in industrial environments. Getting hands-free assistance for parts or breakdowns in real time is a great support for operators as this augmented reality project is applied to water management.
- Logistics management. The use of augmented reality glasses can increase the flexibility of managing products and parcels in a warehouse in order to locate and move them.
- Surgery. If there is an environment in which freedom of the hands is critical, it is surgery. Indication of vital signs or alerts in the middle of an operation can be of great help to surgeons.
- Video games. This is one of the most famous applications because it can display characters or game elements in combination with the real environment, as is the case with Pokemon Go.
In addition to AR glasses, another way to explore augmented reality is through smart contact lenses, a promising technology that also comes with challenges.