The SmartEyeglass by Sony was announced at this year's CES and IFA tech shows. Along with the announcement, the company releases a software development kit to help developers with the eyewear's tech details.
The wearable glasses are in the developmental prototype phase and are yet to have a final design. Just like Google Glass, the SmartEyeglass connects to an Android smartphone in order to start displaying various kinds of information. Technically, it is compatible with smartphones and tablets that run on Android 4.1 and higher. However, the recent iteration of Android 4.3 and higher is essential for one to take full advantage of the smart glasses' camera.
The smart glasses work like Robocop's helmet when it comes to displaying texts. It utilizes the hologram optics technology that enables the glasses to project the text in a multitude of ways.
"For example, users will be able to view navigation information while walking, check a recipe while cooking without taking their eyes from their hands, or view information related to a certain player while watching a sports game in a stadium," said Sony in a press release.
Both lenses in the smart glasses act as screens where images are displayed in a monochrome and holographic style. In other words, the images are transparent enough, assuring the wearer that his view will not be blocked without compromising good functionality. Moreover, Sony promises that the glasses deliver good readability in broad daylight, which is something that the Google Glass still needs to overcome. Battery life is also expected to last longer since the glasses are not designed with a color display. However, batteries are initially nestled in a separate external pack and not as a built-in feature.
The new wearable by Sony boasts a wide range of sensors. These would include a brightness sensor, digital compass, gyroscope and accelerometer. It also features a microphone, a light sensor on the right eye and a 3MP camera on the left.
In terms of specs, the SmartEyeglass has a 419 by 138 pixel display and electronic compass that triggers the glasses' AR functionality. It communicates with the smartphone using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology. It comes with a palm-sized controller that helps in manipulating the microphone and navigating menus.
Some of the hurdles faced by the wearable is the level of functionality, which still needs some catching up. The second issue is how the wearable should deal with its clunky appearance.
Sony is yet to announce a roadmap for the wearable's consumer release although it is aiming to have the glasses available for sale to developers towards the end of the year. Indeed, the SmartEyeglass makes an interesting addition to the company's SmartWear line, which already features the fitness-focused SmartBand Talk and the Android Wear-based SmartWatch 3.