CES 2013: Head-Mounted Displays and Wearable Tech

The interest in 3D entertainment and augmented reality has inspired numerous new head-mounted displays and wearable technology. Using Bluetooth technology and wireless connections to offload processing, these displays come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have similar aims: to create an immersive entertainment experience or overlay relevant information onto our surroundings. We expect to see some compelling new products at CES.

Interestingly, the hardware in this segment has lagged behind the software, but this year at CES, there will likely be new displays that are less obstructive for regular use. As Technology Review notes, many display makers originally designed with military use in mind. This year, consumer applications will be much more apparent. While many models are still expensive — to the point of being prohibitive for most — it seems they are more targeted to daily use and wear.

Google’s Project Glass has been a promising foray into creating an unobtrusive augmented experience, leveraging one’s smartphone to provide data and run applications within one’s field of vision. Another company Vuvix has it’s own smart glasses, very similar to Google’s, which won the CES Best of Innovations Award and was selected as Best Technology in the Wireless Handset Accessory category.

“Running applications under the Android operating system; text, video, email, mapping, audio and all we have come to expect from smartphones is available through this wireless personal information display system,” the company’s website states. “Vuzix smart glasses offer a wearable visual connection to the cloud, through your smartphone or other compatible smart device, wherever you go.”

Sony also has its own 3D head-mounted display prototype, which it unveiled at CES a few years back. The headset provided an immersive entertainment experience, and there could be more to come from Sony this year as they’ve expanded their 3D technology.

Gaming is another facet of wearable displays that has seen strong interest in the last year. Kickstarter success Oculus Rift created it’s own 3D headset for gaming, While they won’t be at CES, it is likely competitors will have similar devices to preview.

Advancements in retina displays could also replace the current augmented reality headwear. Original prototypes started showing up at last year’s CES, so this year could see further applications and uses for such displays.