Murata's "Cool Design Smart Glass" concept puts household appliance control in your face
Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata, in conjunction with the city of Sabae, showed its "Cool Design Smart Glass" concept eyewear at CEATEC 2015. The smart augmented reality (AR) glasses incorporate what Murata claims is the world's smallest micro PS switch module and are designed to give the wearer the ability to remotely control domestic appliances without searching down the back of the couch for the remote or making the long trek to the light switch.
Rather than relying on a front-positioned prism to project images onto said lenses, the prototype glasses have all the hardware built into a traditional – if slightly more bulky – spectacle form factor. This includes a micro infra-red laser mounted in the right hand arm that works in conjunction with micro sensors presently under development at Murata that are designed to be placed on or near the household appliances to be controlled.
When you look at an appliance you want to control, an icon will appear in your line of sight and if it matches the appliance in question, you confirm the selection by pushing a button integrated into the right arm of the glasses. This button also includes rotating functionality, allowing for scrolling through menus and adjusting appliance settings, such as volume/power/speed/brightness/etc. Murata claims this switch module, which measures 3.2 x 3.4 x 2.3 mm, is the smallest of its type in the world.
At CEATEC, Murata was demonstrating the capabilities of the technology using a miniature model house. While it was somewhat difficult to locate and target the micro sensors in the model house through the heavily tinted lenses, this wouldn’t pose a problem in a full-sized home with real appliances – particularly since you're likely to know where the sensors are located.
Although Murata has plans to put the rotating/push button switch module into mass production next year, there are no similar plans for the glasses themselves. However, the company does have a history of continuing development of its concepts. A case in point is the robotic cheerleaders, who were back at CEATEC this year with an improved routine. So there’s a chance we could see an updated version of the Cool Design Smart Glasses at CEATEC 2016 – which was something the company rep admitted was a possibility.