Wearables

Sony’s SmartEyeglass is a head-turning Google Glass alternative

Sony’s SmartEyeglass is a head...
Sony's SmartEyeglass is somewhat clunky-looking Google Glass competitor
Sony's SmartEyeglass is somewhat clunky-looking Google Glass competitor
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Sony's SmartEyeglass is somewhat clunky-looking Google Glass competitor
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Sony's SmartEyeglass is somewhat clunky-looking Google Glass competitor
Sony’s new head-mounted wearable is designed to provide the user with context-aware information, right when they need it.
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Sony’s new head-mounted wearable is designed to provide the user with context-aware information, right when they need it.
The wearable is currently a development prototype, and even includes an external controller that houses the device’s battery and microphone
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The wearable is currently a development prototype, and even includes an external controller that houses the device’s battery and microphone
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While Sony’s smartphone division hasn't exactly been on the up-and-up, the company still isn't afraid to try its luck down new roads. Sony today announced its own heads-up-display-packing wearable, known as SmartEyeglass. The headset, which is designed to pair with Android smartphones, offers a built-in camera and several sensors.

Much like Google Now-powered Android Wear smartwatches, Sony’s new head-mounted wearable is designed to provide the user with context-aware information, right when they need it. The device makes use of a CMOS image sensor, coupled with an accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor and a microphone.

As you might expect from a head-mounted wearable, there’s also a camera on board (3 megapixels). SmartEyeglass is technically compatible with smartphones and tablets running Android 4.1+, but you’ll need to be running the more recent 4.3 release onwards to make full use of the wearable’s camera.

Sony’s new head-mounted wearable is designed to provide the user with context-aware information, right when they need it.
Sony’s new head-mounted wearable is designed to provide the user with context-aware information, right when they need it.

Sony has used “unique hologram optics technology” for the device’s lenses, which offer a transparency of 85% and are just 3 mm (0.12 in) thick. The projected display is monochrome and reportedly easily readable in a variety of environments. The headset will draw GPS data from the tethered smartphone or tablet, with that device running the apps and pushing data to the wearable.

SmartEyeglass is clearly designed to compete directly with Google’s much publicized Glass wearable. But while the Mountain View-based firm has spent years encouraging development of practical applications for its headset (the Explorer Edition release of the product is currently available for early adopters), Sony’s platform is much earlier on in the development process.

It’s likely that SmartEyeglass developers will be able to feed off some of the creativity we’ve seen in Glass applications (such as its use as an aide for Parkinson’s sufferers), but it’s likely to be some time before the level of functionality catches up.

The wearable is currently a development prototype, and even includes an external controller that houses the device’s battery and microphone
The wearable is currently a development prototype, and even includes an external controller that houses the device’s battery and microphone

To get the ball rolling, Sony has today released the SmartEyeglass Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers, while highlighting some potential uses for the tech, including the ability to provide heads-up walking directions or player stats while watching live sports.

The second big obstacle that the wearable will have to overcome is its clunky looks. Wearers of Google’s Glass headset turn more than a few heads walking down the street, and it looks pretty tame by comparison.

That said, the version currently on show is a development prototype, and even includes an external controller that houses the device’s battery and microphone. It’s likely that the final release will be far more streamlined ... or at least we'd hope.

Sony hasn’t announced a roadmap for a consumer release for SmartEyeglass, but plans to make it available for sale to developers by the end of the year.

Check out the video below for more on Sony's SmartEyeglass wearable.

Source: Sony

Introducing Sony’s SmartEyeglass and how to develop apps

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4 comments
4 comments
Star Helm
So, the opening line caught my attention...
"on the up and up"
informal 1. NORTH AMERICAN honest or sincere. 2. BRITISH steadily improving or becoming more successful.
I understood how it was intended to be used, but being from the US I wasn't familiar with it. Sony has also been accused of not being honest or sincere.
Starhelm
Bob Flint
Maybe in a ski goggles, helmet, or snorkel mask, but really unappealing for normal wear, no matter how hot the model is.
What about those of us with glasses? Does it come with prescription encryption?
Cyndysub
Where is the autofocus Sony?
Drakov IsHere
They can have a lot of cool things, but they don't look cool at all. They look like "I'm a creep and I'm filming you" (even if you are not filming) kind of glasses. I personally would not wear glasses like those; I may as well just carry a HD digital cam everywhere and I think it would actually look less creepy - thinking in the shoes of people around you. I don't know why all these eye-wear glasses are coming with that creepy look. Is it too hard to make them look like just as-normal-as-possible-glasses? Or the companies just need to make them obviously-camcorder glasses so people know when someone in the room is wearing them?