May 7, 2014
Epson Gets Its Moverio On, Releases Smart Glasses For A Mere $699
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The Moverio BT-200 are Android-based glasses that are capable of displaying augmented reality and 3D images through dual 960x850 displays, according to SlashGear's Chris Davies. The twin displays (one for each eye) provide enhanced definition when combined.
Epson equipped its new wearable glasses with a number of sensors such as a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetic compass for head-motion tracking and hands-free navigation. A front-facing camera is capable of capturing still images as well as video. It also detects real-world markers that work with augmented reality applications.
“Moverio BT-200 is Epson’s second-generation smart glasses and incorporates much of the feedback provided by both the AR developer and end-user communities,” said Anna Jen, director, New Ventures/New Products for Epson America, in a corporate statement. “With these improvements, Moverio BT-200 is poised to deliver an AR experience that will revolutionize workflow, training and repair in the enterprise environment.”
Two advantages that Epson's Moverio BT-200 has over competitors such as Google Glass are dual displays (one for each eye), and availability. The Moverio is available while Google Glass still has limited availability restricted largely to industry insiders. The sub-thousand-dollar price tag also helps make the Moverio BT-200 more attractive. Yet Epson expects its wearable glasses to appeal more to enterprise and early adopters than the average consumer.
SlashGear reports that a number of apps already available for the Moverio BT-200 are geared toward business applications, such as checking store shelves for inventory issues or demonstrating product features in a showroom that emulate a computer with links and video that highlight product features. One example is a car showroom, where a dealership might provide the wearable glasses to consumers who come in to look at a car.
“Wearable technologies present a very compelling opportunity for those organizations that want to push the boundaries of innovative design and technology applications,” said Andrew Vaz, chief innovation officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “It’s crucial for organizations to build a baseline understanding of how wearables will impact the strategic drivers of their market, and find ways to use wearables in their businesses to gain competitive advantage.”
One aspect where the Moverio BT-200 differs from Google Glass is the wearable's control unit. While Glass relies on gestures, the Moverio BT-200 uses a handheld control unit that is similar in size to an iPhone. The unit has a motion sensor and textured touchpad used to scroll through the display screens on the glasses. The unit connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it operates on Android 4.0 OS, has a Micro SD card slot for additional storage, and has internal batteries that last up to six hours.
It is the handheld controls that likely relegate the Moverio BT-200 to enterprise use rather than consumer adoption. The handheld control is more practical than gestures, and can be useful for a number of business applications such as inventory control and quality control.
"How long it might take before Moverio technology segues into the mass market remains to be seen. Right now, the headset is conspicuously wide so as to accommodate the micro-display technology, and of course requires a wired connection to the processor/battery pack with its touchpad for navigating through Android. That might be acceptable to a roving worker, but it's unlikely to be palatable to those for whom even Glass is considered bulky," wrote SlashGear's Davies.