Gone are the days when we thought only the distant future could have high-tech toys and gadgets. We’re firmly in the digital age, and it seems that every day a new development is announced. Robots, digital devices to turn our lights and music on and off, drones to deliver and monitor, all of these are becoming commonplace in many parts of the world.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, attendees marveled at the R-8 and R-9 Smartglasses designed by the tech whizzes at ODG company. Originally developed as a set of augmented-reality (AR) smartglasses for use by the military, these devices have become compact and efficient for the modern consumer.
Now we’re all familiar with virtual reality and its various applications, but what exactly is augmented reality, and how do the two experiences differ? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines augmented reality as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device.” Sounds pretty dry, but in, um, reality, it gives you access to eye-opening 3D experiences and the ability to interact with what you see.
Augment.com compares VR and AR this way: “Virtual reality offers a digital re-creation of a real-life setting, while augmented reality delivers virtual elements as an overlay to the real world.”
So what does all of this mean in the case of the smartglasses?
“Think of them as a comfortable, portable computer that brings digital characters, objects, and information into the world around you or transports you to virtual worlds,” say the ODG tech team. “They play movies with cinematic clarity, drop you inside immersive 3D interactive experiences, and reveal new worlds of invention and productivity.”
Both sets of smartglasses act just like your tablet, but with a floating 65- to 120-inch virtual screen in front of you that displays full-color 3D 1080p images. You control the glasses with slight hand movements via a ring controller or by connecting via Bluetooth and using your phone or another controller. ODG has designed a small keyboard and console, too. “They can also be controlled on the glasses themselves, via light scroll and click motions,” say the designers. “The platform will eventually allow for subtle head gesture controls, for a truly hands-free computing experience.” For the directionally challenged, these smartglasses may be a boon as well. They have location awareness and can help you stay on track.
The company notes business uses for these smartglasses, too, from doctors enjoying instant access to patient charts to security officers comparing biometric data against records. You can even use it creatively! Love filming and dream of being the next Oscar-winning director? The R-9 model has an advanced camera (14MP 4K at 60fps) that holds your focus and ups your Scorcese rating instantly with high-quality video.
As far as regular consumers go, ODG says, “We believe that hands-free computing will ultimately replace all other screens in your life,” and that’s probably not too much of a stretch when you think that you can use the R-8 and R-9 Smartglasses to post on Facebook, chat via Skype, work on a spreadsheet, send email, and read the latest novel.