Sony has announced that it will be unveiling the prototype for a new device that can be clipped on to any pair of eyeglasses to make them instantly smarter.
The new device, currently called SmartEyeglass Attach, is a detachable single-lens display module that can be mounted to existing eyewear that the user already owns. On the right arm of the device is a compartment that houses the processor, which is connected to a 0.23-inch OLED display that translates into an image projected into the user's lenses.
"This display module possesses the potential to enrich users' lives in a variety of ways," says Sony in its announcement. "By simply attaching it to a pair of fashionable glasses, goggles, sunglasses or other type of eyewear, you can instantly gain access to visual information that adds a level of convenience to your everyday life."
Specifically, Sony is targeting sports, photography and work settings as the possible markets where users can find its new device useful. For instance, athletes can attach the module to their eyewear, which can then project information gleaned by a fitness app on a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Photographers can also pair the device with a smartphone's remote display on a camera to give them a closer look at what their shots would look like. In the industry, the module can also be linked to a factory's infrastructure system, where workers can receive instructions while working.
Sony is not likely to sell the module as a consumer device. Instead, it is looking to partner with other businesses such as electronics manufacturers and eyewear companies to incorporate the module into their products. The company also plans to make software development kits available for developers to allow them to take advantage of the device's "rich arithmetic processing capabilities," which Sony claims is on par with the processing power of smartphones, to come up with new applications for smart eyewear.
"This will make possible a whole new level of potential ways to use the module that could provide users with even greater convenience," Sony says.
At 40 grams, Sony's device weighs less than the 50-gram Google Glass. Sony says the weight is achieved using its high-density packing technology to put together a miniature control board, Bluetooth connectivity, the OLED display and the optical unit that transforms the display into images on the user's screen. On the left arm of the device are various sensors, including an accelerometer, a compass and a touch sensor.
Sony will unveil the SmartEyeglass Attach at next year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 6 to 9. The device will be a prototype intended for use in sports and outdoor activities.