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The future is now: Epson releases Moverio BT-100 the world's first wearable Android augmented reality display

March 29, 2012

Let’s be serious – we have only recently begun considering the fact that our glasses could also be our primary communication device, ala Google Glasses. Good luck trying to explain that to someone over 65. But in all reality, augmented reality technologies are set to take off in a big way over the next 10 years. Imagine waking up, throwing on a pair of glasses, grabbing the coffee, sitting down, lighting up a smoke, and your news just starts flowing in without the need for any external, physical input. While we still have a ways to go in terms of machine learned intelligence that can respond to your every whim, and gesture technologies still need to be improved, the day draws ever nearer. We’re talking about a hands free, audio if you want, video sure type of interface. It could  feature everything you want to see – all right before your eyes, and in such a way that you could still see your immediate environment, but it would just be, well, enhanced. As such we introduce the Epson Moverio BT-100, one of the first of its kind, Android-based augmented reality multimedia headsets.

With a design that reminds me of Star Trek, (Geordi La Forge, anyone?), this device projects a 960×650 resolution display about an inch from your face, that gives you the advantage of an 80-inch perceived screen. The device also features a trackball controller which allows users to access the internet, stream, download, and view video, and enjoy other multimedia content while on the move, right on the move. Definitely be a lady killer with these bad boys on. “Do I know you? Yes, yes I do.”

The realization has suddenly hit me that I’m about to write a specification list for a pair of glasses which sounds a bit like a commercial for Bausch and Lomb. Still, with features like UV protection, photo-chromatic lenses, you get the picture. Anyway, this is what this set of sunglasses on (Android) steroids is packing:

The specs and features of the Epson Bt-100:

  • Android 2.2 OS (ICS? XDA? Good luck with that)
  • 1GB built-in storage, expandable up to 32GB with microSD support
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Dolby Digital Surround Sound through detachable earphones
  • Side-by-side 3D content
  • 6 hours rechargeable battery life.
Below is a short video describing the technology behind the product, Courtesy of Dimensioo

The videos and other multimedia hover over the real world so the user can see what is going on around them, as they watch. Of course, that is entirely dependent on how engrossing that video actually is.

I still remember a not-so-distant past where I received awkward glances on the street, seemingly “talking to myself,” until and unless they noticed the tiny bluetooth headset attached to me ear. I cant wait to creep around the mall with these, imagine the odd looks. Simply hilarious. But of course, as the technology matures, they will continue to get miniaturized until they eventually look like no other glasses. The hard part will be the battery, as that technology is only improving by 4-6% each year, whereas other components are beating down Moores law up like Rocky beat up Mr. T.

Yes, you want them, and no, you don’t need real, un-enhanced friends. Or reality.

If augmented reality is the thing for you, and you believe that Google’s glasses are simply to far to wait for, you can get the Moverio BT-100 at the Epson online retail store. It is also available at select re-sellers or for pre-order on Amazon.

This will set you back a hefty $699.99  but can we really put a price tag on awesome? Kudos to Epson for being first out the gate with these. Now, Google, step it on up.  Oh and you know we’re going to track these down and do a review on them. Giveaway anyone? We will do our best.

Is this the next big thing? What else does it need to explode and turn people into computer wearing, augmented reality display packing hipster 2.0’s?