I thought I'd do a different kind of article today. A first for this site, which had music only up to this point. Apart from music, I am also a geek, and I love new, innovative tech, so I thought for my first non-music post, I would write about augemented reality glasses that will come on the market this year or 2017. VR-glasses, like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, has just begun shipping, but what I am more exited about, is the possibilites of augumented reality, even though I guess I will invest in a high quality VR headset in time.
In the upcomming AR market on the other hand, I have found a few interesting companies, that tries to find their own niche, and I think the most important issue when it comes to these evolving niche markets, is the price tag of their products, and the three companies I will write about, is offering their products with a large price gap between them.
The cheapest alternative is the Meta glasses with their pre-ordering price at 949$. From what I've seen from their earlier videos, they need to be connected to an external source for their computing. In the last year, the design of the glasses have transformed extensively, from kinda silly looking over-sized glasses, to now be more of a headset. They come with gesture control, so you can play with digital objects in your augumented view, a technology similar to Leap Motion.
Since they are one third the price of HoloLens, and if you can use a powerful smartphone to power them, these glasses is a very interesting alternative, but from the most recently videoes they've posted, much of the graphics is taken from last year videos, so i can't really tell how responsive the gesture control is, and how well the glasses will perform when it hits the consumer market.
Microsofts HoloLens had allready been in development for five years, when they announced it last autumn. Unlike Meta glasses, which need an external computing source, these have a computer built into the headset. With a price at 3,000$, the closest comparison is powerful gaming computers, but if you want to follow the natural evolution of computers, this could be the next step.
The only negative critic I've heard about it so far, is the narrowed view, that doesnt cover the whole field of vision, but the information is rather displayed on a screen in front of your eyes. As of now, the only people that can order this, is american and canadian Microsoft certified software developers. I've considered to buy one of these when it comes to the mass market, from the day they announced their new product line, and my first predictions on price was in the 1,500-2,000$ market. 3k is a bit steep, but still highly considerable when it is finally released. Even if the headset is controlled by gestures, there will be a "clicker" included in box, for the use of scrolling, clicking, etc.
The most expensive alternative is the Daqri hard helmet, with a price that begins at 5,000$. Unlike Meta and HoloLens, these will not be directed to the consumer market, but to companies, as a bundle, which will defend the price, because I really doubt these can match Microsoft in technical features. Their use, which can be viewed in the video below, suggests uses in construction, industry and service professions.