Less than a full day into CES 2021, and it seems that smart glasses are very much shaping up as a trend. I wrote about a pair of AR glasses from Lenovo aimed at business applications yesterday, and a few other companies have popped up in the meantime, with various levels of “smartness” included.
Vuzix’s latest models are still several months away, but they seem to be one of the more promising we’ve seen at the show thus far. The company is best known for its business-focused solutions — that, after all, is where all the money is — at least until someone offers a really profound breakthrough in the consumer category.
These probably aren’t that (if I had to guess, I’d look more closely at offerings from bigger consumer electronics companies), but they do seem like a step in the right direction, in terms of an offering that bakes augmented reality into a presentable form factor. It seems like AR glasses that look like regular eyeglasses is the right hook here. There are clearly differentiating factors here, but the next-gen glasses look a lot closer to standard eyewear than what we’ve seen in the past.
That’s due in no small part to a partnership with Jade Bird Display, which will help commercialize the Chinese company’s microLED tech. Jade Bird describes it thusly:
JBD offers active matrix inorganic microLED display chips and panels with wavelength ranging from UV to visible to IR. The pixel pitch ranges from 400 dpi to 10,000 dpi with a varity of resolutions. With high brightness, high EQE, high reliability, these panels are ideal for AR, VR, HUD, projector, weapon sights, 3D printing, microscope, etc.
The module, which projects a monochrome stereoscopic image, is roughly the size of a pencil eraser, according to Vuzix’s description. The company says the glasses will be available in a number of configurations, including Wi-Fi and optional LTE. All will feature stereo speakers and noise-canceling mics.
No word on price, but Vuzix says they should hit the market this summer.