Watch out, Google. Here comes Olympus with the MEG4.0 and don’t dismiss this as a Google Glass knockoff. Olympus has been researching and developing wearable displays for more than 20 years. The MEG4.0 concept, and with that, its eventual production counterpart, has been a long time coming and could be a serious competitor in the space.
Olympus made it clear in today’s announcement that the 30g MEG4.0 is both a prototype and a working name. The stem-like system sits on one side of the glasses and connects to a tablet or phone through Bluetooth. A 320 x 240 virtual screen floats above the wearer’s eye line. The MEG4.0 is designed for all-day use and should last eight hours on a charge, although Olympus states the glasses are designed for bursts of use, 15-seconds at a time.
Google isn’t the only player in the augmented reality game. In fact several companies have toyed with the concept for the last few years including Olympus. The company introduced a working set of AR glasses back in 2008. Called the Mobile Eye-Trek (shown above) the glasses were designed to be worn on a daily basis, feeding information like email to the wearer on a screen placed 50cm in front of the eyes, making it appear as a 3.8-inch screen.
While the Mobile Eye-Track never hit the retail market, Olympus indicated at the time that the prototype would lead to a production version by 2012.
However, much like Google, Olympus is not revealing the user interface yet. If the MEG4.0 is to be a success, the interface, and more importantly, the depth of the information available needs to be as mature as Google Glass. Price and availability was not announced.