June 18, 2021

Gadget of the week

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odg-smart-glasses-blueYou might actually want to wear these smart glasses

By Pete Pachal From Mashable

LAS VEGAS — Consumer smart glasses that don’t make the wearer look like a complete dork are getting closer to reality. Osterhout Design Group, which makes military smart goggles, showed off a pair at CES 2015 that’s closer to something Bono might wear than Google Glass.

ODG’s smart specs are still bulkier than regular sunglasses, but not by much: The glasses weigh a little more than 4 ounces, and I found them quite comfortable. More important, the glasses look pretty nice. The design (based on Wayfarer sunglasses) might be on the beefy side, but at first glance they look simply like big sunglasses, and not some weird gadget that’s bolted onto your head.

odg-smart-glassesOne weakness of the design is that the top of the lenses are blocked by a plastic housing that contains the tiny projectors that create the virtual screen in front of you. After all, they have to go somewhere — side-mounting would elongate the front, and you only have to take a gander at the Epson Moverio to see why that’s a non-starter for consumers. Surprisingly, though, the housing doesn’t occlude your vision much at all.

The virtual screen looks great; ODG says it’s a high-def display that conjures up a virtual 720p screen floating a few feet away from your face. Checking out some apps, picture quality looked fine. I could read text on icons and documents perfectly, even with objects behind the screen, and I didn’t feel any of the discomfort that augmented-reality systems sometimes create.

odg-smart-glasses-controllerThe primary ways you control the glasses is via touch. It comes with a Bluetooth ring controller with a tiny touchpad and buttons. I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Similar controls are on the glasses themselves, so you don’t need to use the controller if you don’t want to. There’s also an option to turn a paired smartphone into a touchpad controller for the glasses.

Playing with some apps,
I found the device to be a great visual experience, but just an adequate interactive one
I found the device to be a great visual experience, but just an adequate interactive one. I explored an AR app that created a 3D model floating above a piece of paper with special markings, but there was a slight but noticeable lag when I moved my head.

Don’t get me wrong — it didn’t ruin the experience — but it did remind me that expectations are high for any kind of application that interacts directly with the real world. Though keep in mind I was using a preproduction model.

Even putting aside augmented reality, the glasses provide a level of convenience some people might prefer over other devices. They’re based on Android, so they essentially give the user access to a hands-free Android tablet (powered by a Snapdragon 805 processor, no less). Pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard to get some work done in an airplane seat, or curl up with some Netflix in the break room. You don’t even have to look down.

Remember, though, that ODG’s Android specs are intended for a different purpose than Google Glass. Where Glass brings you glanceable information to enhance the moment you’re in, augmented reality offers near-full immersion. Of course, it all depends on the app you’re running, but right now Android proper isn’t exactly a glance-oriented OS.

And yes, they’re compatible with prescription lenses, although you’ll need to get a pair made as spectacles and slip them into a clasp behind the front lenses, which are magnetic and can be swapped out easily.

ODG says its consumer smart glasses will be coming “later this year.” No price yet, but the company says they’ll be under $1,000.
ODG’s smart glasses are bulkier than Google Glass, but not as strange-looking. IMAGE: MASHABLE, PETE PACHAL
You primarily control ODG’s smart glasses via a ring Bluetooth controller.

For more on this story go to: http://mashable.com/2015/01/08/smart-glasses/?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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