Augmented vision is a long standing sci-fi dream. And thanks to Sony, the dream is still alive...
Google Glass is still warm in the grave, but Sony has picked up the baton for smart facial wear. The Sony SmartEyeGlass Developer Edition SED-E1 is available to preorder today in the UK and Germany for the grand sum of £520 - or £624 including VAT - and will arrive on March 10th in Europe, Japan and the US.
As opposed to Google's now defunct smart glasses, SmartEyeGlass projects overlays onto the full-frame transparent lenses, filling your field of vision with all manner of info, all in aggressive Hulk-green monochrome. The lenses themselves still have 85% transparency so you can easily read the projected information, but still see the world around you clearly.
The glasses themselves come packed to the rafters with sensors including accelerometer, gyroscope, brightness sensor and electronic compass, not to mention the 3MP CMOS image sensor, capable of 3MP stills and QVGA video at 15 frames per second.
If you want to pick up a pair, you'll need the money, obviously, and a phone that runs Android 4.4 or higher.
And that all sounds fine, but why isn't anyone else concerned that it looks swimming goggles?! We're hoping that this isn't an attempt to be fashion forward, and rather, is just the temporary design of the pre-release development kit.
As the latest smart headwear to emerge, SmartEyeGlass represents the current pinnacle of the technology. So we thought we'd take a quick look back at the devices that have helped to bring smart glasses and goggles from dream to reality.
Rift changed everything, and has gone from strength to strength. Aside from the impressive tech, Rift shows how much a product can improve in the space of a couple of years. The original dev kit was limited to low resolutions - the current version can run the likes of Elite Dangerous at full spec.
It may be dead, but Glass became a household name and will long be the benchmark for similar products. The tech was clever and useful in many respects, but the awful looks caused its demise - something other manufacturers would do well to take note of.
Designed more for sports and outdoor environments, Recon Jet was much better looking than the competition, though it struggled with symmetry. The open-ended API and SDK let app developers build some impressive stuff around it, including the Afterguard sailing computer and HUD.
Sony HMZ-T3W 3D Viewer
Crazy expensive but incredibly clever, the 3D Viewer used two 720p screens to create a 3D image. The HMZ-T3W had a futuristic, Geordi La Forge thing going for it, but it still stood out like a sore thumb. And at £1300, it wasn't exactly a bargain.
We've been waiting for Oakley to take on the challenge of smart sunglasses, but these connected AR goggles were an excellent starting point. Airwave let you track your friends in real-time across the mountain, and challenge them to races and events.