When you think of “smart glasses”, more than likely the first device that pops into your mind is Google Glass. While there are a few other computerized headsets being developed, it’s true that Google Glass is the most well-known and most actively developed and supported.
Of course Google Glass is still in the early stages, and isn’t quite ready for prime-time. Among several hurdles that Glass faces is the pricing. At least until their full commercial push, the Explorer Edition headsets currently run $1,500. Looking for something with a somewhat similar experience, but a much more affordable price point? Atheer Labs is hoping to fit the bill with their new Atheer One smart glasses.
You’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of the Atheer One. The new computerized headset is still very much in the early development stages just like Glass, though the company is hoping to get the Atheer One into the hands of consumer’s by the end of this year.
To further their efforts, Atheer Labs is currently raising funds through crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where the campaign has already reached $27k more than its original $100,000 goal, with 18 days left to go. Through Indiegogo, Atheer One can be yours for a pledge of $500, with an estimated shipping date of December of 2014.
The real difference between Google Glass and Atheer One is that the latter gets its “brains” from your existing smartphone. The Atheer One connects to your phone using micro-USB, and from there your phone is transformed into a 26-inch HD floating display that is just 50 centimeters from your face.
Using air gestures, you can reach out to the display and use any Android app just like you would with a normal smartphone or tablet. That means a augmented reality Angry Birds experience or even just a floating chat session over Skype. There’s also an integrated camera so you can snap some pictures, just like Glass. The lenses that ship with the device will be fully see-through so you can still see the world around you while using the glasses, though the company also plans to introduce opaque lenses for applications like gaming.
Aside from using standard Android apps, the Atheer One will also have a special SDK and API that allow special 3D compatible apps to be created that will provide a much deeper, immersive experience while using the Atheer One. Finally, it is possible to use PC applications on the Atheer One using remote desktop software.
For those that are interested in developing for the Atheer One, the company is offering an Atheer Development Kit, which will set developers back $850 to secure the kit by June, or $1000 to receive it in April. Unlike the final commercial version, the developer model has an already-attached Android system that includes a Snapdragon CPU, HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and everything needed to dive in and start developing. On the downside, this earlier hardware will only project a 15-inch floating display.
What do you think of the Atheer One, something you’d be interested in getting your hands on or not? For more details, be sure to check out their Indiegogo campaign page.