With the announcement of SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1, Sony is taking on Google Glass. SmartEyeglass is a transparent lens eyeware that can connect to an Android smartphone and superimpose relevant information from the phone on to the glasses i.e. information which is relevant to what the user is viewing through the glasses.
The SmartEyeglass will first launch in UK and Germany and pre-orders for it have already kicked off. It will be available in 10 countries by March this year. Sony has also released the SmartEyeglass SDK 1.0 for developers so that they can create apps for the glasses.
Sony’s smartglasses use holographic waveguide technology that gives the 3.0 mm super-thin augmented reality (AR) lenses a greater brightness and a high 85% transparency. There is no display in the front of your glasses like Google Glass that might obstruct your view. The lenses themselves offer binocular display with information visible clearly in any type of lighting conditions. The lenses have a monochrome 8-bit display that consumes less energy but gives high luminance of up to 1,000 cd/m2.
The SmartEyeglass is connected to the controller by a cable. The controller module connects wirelessly to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It holds the speaker, microphone, NFC, battery and the touch sensor for controls. There are no controls in the glasses themselves like in Google Glass. The controller has a clip by which you can attach it to the lapel of your coat or jacket.
The smartglasses have a wide range of sensors including a 3MP CMOS image sensor, brightness sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, electronic compass and a microphone. The GPS location is obtained from the smartphone to which it is connected. All these combine to provide the wearer information about their current task or surroundings. The glasses are compatible with smartphones running Android 4.4 or above.
The 3MP camera takes still photos and enables the augmented reality function by which glasses can see the surroundings and then the relevant information is presented to the viewer on the glass itself with the help of AR apps.
Initially, a few SmartEyeglass apps will be available on Google Play such as apps that give you access to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, calendar, voice control and RSS. With the SDK available, developers can build innovative AR apps that can be useful for various purposes such as step by step instructional app for mechanics to assemble an engine when they are working on one. The smart eyeglass will be quite useful to people who have a deskless job. They can get instructions or information when they are moving around.
The video below shows how it works:
Sony will make available the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 to developers at developer.sonymobile.com in Japan, US, UK and Germany in March this year.
Enterprise customers located in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden will also be able to buy it from March onwards. As mentioned earlier, pre-orders have already started in UK and Germany for developers as well as enterprise customers. The SmartEyeglass Developer Edition has a price tag of ¥ 100,000, $ 840, € 670 or £ 520 excluding taxes depending on the country it is sold in.
Sony’s SmartEyeglass have some great features but some may find its cable and the dangling controller module not-so-cool. Google Glass in comparison looks quite elegant. What do you think?