This week in AR we have the return of Google Glass, one and only light-weight mixed reality focals to be released from Nreal as well as virtual technology tricking our sense and more specifically so our sense of taste.
Google has announced a new version of its business-focused AR headset, the Google Glass. It has been reinvented as a tool for surgeons, factory workers and other professionals. Priced well below the original "Explorer Edition" Google Glass (which sold at $1,500) and significantly cheaper than the Microsoft HoloLens, Google is clearly aiming to compete in the enterprise mixed reality space, which means this product is not being sold directly to consumers. The new device contains an improved camera, USB-C port for faster charging, and a significant processing boost thanks to a new chip, which is designed specifically for AR and VR, and is also powerful enough to incorporate computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities into the headset. Glass also now runs on Android, with support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. Focusing on enterprises is what many AR headset and focal glass companies are doing right now to keep up the income until the tech hits the masses, Google now joining the line of Microsoft, Vuzix and Epson with business-focused AR glasses.
At CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this year in January, Chinese startup Real announced their low-profile light-weight mixed reality glasses. So, first off they are said to look and feel almost like ordinary sunglasses, which is not something other MR headset like Magic Leap or Hololens are even close to achieving. The field of view beats the Magic Leap One. They fit easily and offer prescriptions lenses to avoid the bulkiness of glasses underneath the headset as well as front-facing camera and other sensors for inside-out tracking. With all of this tech packed in plus stereo speakers, they still only weigh in at 85 grams, which more than regular sunglasses, but with adjustable magnetic nose support they don’t put uncomfortable pressure on your nose bone. The glasses are set to be released in the second or third quarter of this year and will cost “the same as a smartphone”, which means they will be considerably cheaper than any of their competitors. Now the only thing missing are some killer apps.
Canada-based startup North and the most hyped smart glasses on the current market, the North Focals have secure $40 million dollars in new investment cash, a financial lifeline that could help the company, that in February experienced some staff layoffs. The funding will help the company stay afloat as it continues to add new features to its flagship product. The North focal work pretty much as an extended smart watch but with a holographic display and a wide range of other additional features. Although still out of the price range for most, North is still at the forefront of wearables, the design making them look like any other glasses as well as fitting and measuring them exactly for each user.
Virtual tech got us altering our senses with haptic sensors for touch, surround sound to enhance our audio experience and even a virtual sense of smell is exists. Now, it is altering our sense of taste. A company called Project nourished has been developing “gastronomical virtual experiences”. This would mean you put on VR headset, and in front of you is sushi, or so it seems through your headset, but instead it is 3D printed vegetable gelatin made out of seaweed and made into the shape of a sushi roll, so through the view in the headset this is what you see - a sushi roll. When you pick it up aromatic diffusers active and releases the scent of ginger wasabi and soy sauce and voila, you are eating sushi. This only as an example of the many gadgets and projects the company is working on.
This of course is not aimed at replacing our food industry, but merely a way of offering new kind of gastronomical experiences for restaurant-goers, challenging the senses and tricking the mind. “It’s like an illusion.. Illusion is not mystery, but a science.”
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