Epson has announced the follow up to its Moverio BT-100 augmented reality glasses, which were released in Japan towards the end of 2011. The BT-200 smart glasses are reported to be 60 percent lighter than the previous generation, and include a host of new features aimed at changing how customers experience the world at large, and delivered entertainment.

The Moverio BT-200 is a system comprising two parts – the glasses and a control unit. The glasses feature a tiny LCD-based projection lens system and optical light guide installed left and right, which project digital content onto a transparent virtual display at 960 x 540 resolution in the center if the wearer's field of view. The system is set up so that other folks can't see what's on the user's virtual 16:9 aspect screen.

Third party software with head-tracking capabilities could take advantage of the built-in gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetic compass to make 360-degree immersive panoramas possible, and there's a camera at the front for video and stills capture, or AR marker detection to cater for artificial enhancement of the world beyond the glasses.

The BT-200s also come with a prescription lens insert, which allows users to have their own lenses mounted, include two removable shades, and feature Dolby Digital Plus technology for surround sound audio through the supplied earbuds.

The funky smart glasses need to be cabled to a handheld controller running Android 4.0, with a textured touchpad control surface, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for video content streaming, and up to six hours of battery life. Those who prefer high quality video viewing (the system supports MP4/H.264 with AAC encoding) can opt for a wireless mirroring adapter that can be plugged into external sources with HDMI connectivity.

Bluetooth 3.0 gives users peripheral options to consider, such as wireless headsets, speakers and keyboards, and photo albums, videos and music can be loaded in via the microSD media card slot to keep the entertainment flowing even when Wi-Fi is not available.

The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses are currently being demonstrated at Epson's CES booth, where visitors can experience a table-top virtual fighting game with AR characters, a medical imaging system that allows wearers to see through a person's skin, and an AR assistance app to help perform unfamiliar tasks .

They're expected to ship from March for the same suggested retail price of the previous generation, US$699.99.

A product overview can be seen in the video below.

Product page: Moverio BT200

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