Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

Facebook and Luxottica Group’s luxury sunglass manufacturer Ray-Ban unveiled new smart glasses that enable the user to record via cameras hidden in the frame. The Ray-Ban glasses — priced at $299 — are based on the classic Wayfarer model, with the addition of a very small recording light, two 5-megapixel cameras, three microphones and four gigabytes of storage. The glasses, which will come in 20 style combinations and either clear or prescription lenses, are powered by Facebook technology. Both Facebook and Ray-Ban parent Luxottica stated that, “privacy is built into the product.” Continue reading Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

Amazon Debuts Program for Users to Vote on New Products

Amazon is launching Build It, a new Kickstarter-like program that will allow consumers to vote on potential new Amazon products. The program is intended to gauge customer interest in new products. Those that get enough support within 30 days will be built and interested customers will only be charged if the product actually ships. Among the current Build It concepts are a “smart cuckoo clock” with Alexa, a smart scale that provides nutritional information on food that’s being weighed and a thermal sticky note printer. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Program for Users to Vote on New Products

Pandemic Is Accelerating the Adoption of Augmented Reality

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased demand for augmented reality at some companies, including Mercedes-Benz and L’Oréal (whose brands include Lancôme, Kiehl’s and Maybelline New York), in the last year. L’Oréal chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet stated that, “we saw the appetite, it grew and it’s our responsibility now to continue to innovate.” That company has debuted a number of AR projects for employees and customers in the last few months. One uses ModiFace AR to connect consumers with beauty advisers. Continue reading Pandemic Is Accelerating the Adoption of Augmented Reality

CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

In a live question-and-answer period during CES 2021, Consumer Technology Association vice president of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh answered questions about technology trends not described in their earlier presentation on predictions for 2021. In answer to a question about what to expect this year from smart glasses, Koenig emphasized that, “this is definitely the year of augmented reality.” But, he added, rather than describing experiences as VR, AR or MR, he said those terms will be replaced by describing “degrees of immersion.” Continue reading CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft and Snap are among the Big Tech companies working on creating smart glasses that we can wear everywhere — and that may even replace our smartphones. Currently, glasses are too big (and expensive), but in time are expected to achieve a sleeker form factor and come down in price. Smart glasses promise to dramatically shift how we engage with the world, and some advocates believe we will eventually be able to replace every screen we use with a single pair of glasses. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Snap Inc. to Ship Third-Gen Spectacles as a Limited Edition

After unveiling its first-generation of brightly-colored Spectacles in 2016, followed by a more conservative second edition following two years of reengineering, Snap Inc. is about to debut Spectacles 3 — with hopes the eyewear will be more financially successful than the first version, which left the company with $40 million in unsold revenue. The second version offered better hardware, better design, as well as a high-end all-black version. Now, Spectacles 3, priced at $380 and marketed as a “limited edition launch,” will be offered with steel frames, classic details and two HD cameras for capturing footage with depth. Continue reading Snap Inc. to Ship Third-Gen Spectacles as a Limited Edition

Verizon, ThirdEye Gen Partner on 5G Mixed Reality Glasses

Verizon is teaming with ThirdEye Gen to offer its first official mixed reality smart glasses for 5G. ThirdEye has been awarded two patents for OLED displays and low-latency data streaming. The partnership is ThirdEye’s first with a wireless provider, said company founder Nick Cherukuri, who noted that the “advanced 5G use cases … will bring about a new era of hands-free human interaction.” One example would be an auto mechanic who could scan a “complex motor” and send the image to a remote expert for real-time help. Continue reading Verizon, ThirdEye Gen Partner on 5G Mixed Reality Glasses

Microsoft HoloLens 2 Offers AI Processor, Cloud Connection

At MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress), Microsoft introduced HoloLens 2, a new version of its four-year-old HoloLens headset, which is aimed at the enterprise use cases such as job training. Because the company is not targeting entertainment uses, HoloLens has maintained a low profile, focused on its corporate customers such as Bentley and Japan Airlines. Chief executive Satya Nadella stated his belief that “the next big tech breakthrough” will come from retail, healthcare or car manufacturing. Continue reading Microsoft HoloLens 2 Offers AI Processor, Cloud Connection

Interesting AR and VR Tech Found Around the Edges of CES

Among the sea of copycat and incrementally-improved AR and VR headsets being shown at CES, a few stood out because they either executed the potential of existing technology particularly well or they are developing a tech that could help advance the industry. We had the opportunity to check out a wide range of compelling products including MAD Gaze’s Vader AR glasses, the Pimax 8K Series HMD, the Vision optical engine by Lumus, ThirdEye’s hardened AR glasses for industrial and other uses, PinMR tech from LetinAR, the XTAL HMD from VRgineers, and Viewpointsystem’s lightweight tethered eyeglass frame. Continue reading Interesting AR and VR Tech Found Around the Edges of CES

CES Panel: Possibilities of Marrying 5G With Edge Computing

What is edge computing and what can it bring when married with 5G, asked TechRepublic editor-in-chief Jason Hiner, who moderated a CES panel on the topic. AT&T vice president Alicia Abella described edge computing in historical context, as the pendulum has swung back and forth from centralized computing (in the 1960s to 1980s) to compute power on the desktop (with the advent of the desktop PC), back again to a centralized notion with the cloud, and now back to a distributed model with edge computing. Continue reading CES Panel: Possibilities of Marrying 5G With Edge Computing

CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

UTA chief innovation officer Brent Weinstein convened technology and entertainment honchos to parse out 5G’s impact on a range of M&E applications. Intel senior vice president/general manager of the network platforms group Sandra Rivera opined that, “it’s never too early to be on the forefront of innovation.” “The work we did on 4G created the environment that drew in investment and services from Airbnb to Netflix and Uber,” she said. “We’re not quite at 5G, but the excitement is attracting the entrepreneurs and engineers.” Continue reading CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Canadian wearables startup Thalmic Labs, which has rebranded itself as North, unveiled its second product — holographic smart glasses dubbed Focals. The wearable features lenses with a built-in display that shows the user messages, weather forecasts, directions and more information from the smartphone, and allows the user to call on Alexa to order an Uber and get calendar notifications among other tasks. Two years ago, North raised $120 million from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and Fidelity Investments Canada. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing an augmented reality camera that goes beyond its earlier functions (and limitations) of selfie masks and inserting 3D objects into locations. Beta users can now test the use of real-world location markers that set off augmented reality experiences right where they stand. The closed beta includes promotions tied to the films “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Ready Player One,” and near future plans include adding tracker-based AR to its AR Studio tool that will be open to all developers.

Continue reading Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Snap Inc. is planning to launch a second version of its video recording glasses this fall followed by a more ambitious version in 2019 that will include two cameras and other features. In addition to new colors and water resistance, the second version aims to fix bugs and provide needed performance improvements. The potential price tag would be around $300, which is more than double the $130 cost of the first version. News of additional versions comes just months after Snap announced it lost $40 million on the original. Continue reading Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

ETCentric subscribers and their friends are invited to participate in the Creating Reality Hackathon, being held March 12-15 on the USC campus. The organizers are seeking forward-thinking industry storytellers, game designers, coders, and other creative artists. The teams that produce the top AR and VR submissions will each be awarded $5,000. This event will also be an opportunity to get a hands-on preview of the HTC Vive Pro and Intel’s Vaunt AR glasses. If you wish to participate, please submit your request via this special link (the deadline has been extended to March 7). Visit the event website for more info. Continue reading Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7