LAS VEGAS, NV -- Vuzix announced that its latest product would debut next week, and it may be the breakthrough in AR devices that we’ve been waiting for. The Vuzix Blade could be among the first smart glasses that fit in a familiar, comfortable form factor and don’t look like a technophile's goofy gadget.

"What differentiates the Vuzix Blade from all existing or proposed AR smart glasses and mixed reality head-mounted computers, is that it’s built for today’s user," said Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix in a press release. "With a fashionable form factor, a brilliant display, and a broad range of features that allow the user to experience AR at work or play, the Vuzix Blade is the first pair of smart glasses that people would actually enjoy wearing."

He also stated that the spectacles will work "right out of the box, without the need for programming."

From the outside, the Vuzix Blade Smartglasses look like a standard (yet chunky) pair of eyeglasses. They sport an unsuspecting frame, with transparent prescription-capable lenses. Vuzix said it designed the Blade Smartglasses to be comfortable for all-day use, and it managed to cram all the internals into a compact package that weighs less than 3 oz.

The Vuzix Blade Smartglasses are powered by an undisclosed quad-core ARM CPU, and they operate on a custom build of Google’s Android OS. The device includes a touchpad input, and it has a noise canceling microphone for voice. You can also pair them with an Android or iOS smartphone to let you accept phone calls through the device. When thusly paired, the Blade Smartglasses can also integrate with the applications on your phone to receive visual notifications, such as text messages or GPS alerts. It will also provide social network notifications and weather updates.

Vuzix stuck a tiny projector called the Cobra Display Engine in the right side of the device. It projects light into the company’s proprietary Waveguide Optics. Vuzix didn’t say how wide the field of view is in the Blade Smartglasses but did confirm that the FOV is adjustable and provides a “sizeable virtual screen” for digital content. The company also said that its Waveguide optics produce a “brilliant palette of colors” with adjustable brightness.

Vuzix also equipped the Blade Smartglasses with a front-facing 1080p video camera that can capture first-person video of your activities. The camera can also take 8MP still photos.

The Blade Smartglasses were designed to be a consumer device, but the almost $2,000 price tag suggests otherwise; when the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hit the market for $599 and $799, respectively, most consumers balked at the idea of paying so much. It is true that Vuzix didn’t reveal the retail price of the Blade Smartglasses, but the company is currently accepting reservations for developer kits, and you’ll need deep pockets to secure a pair: To put your name on the list, you have to plunk down a $495 deposit. But before Vuzix ships you a pair, you’ll have to settle the remaining balance of $1,502. For that price, developers receive a pre-production unit and a production pair, when they’re ready to go. Given those numbers, we expect the final product to sell for anywhere from $700 to $1,200.

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Written by Kevin Carbotte | Tom's Hardware

Source: Tom's Hardware

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  • megadirk - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    Looked interesting until I saw the price and what they actually looked like on someones face. Better than a VR headset for sure, but still not "walk around town without getting weird looks" better.
  • Pinn - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    Had a coworker show me google glass awhile back. See nothing new here.
  • pixelstuff - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    I have a feeling that Magic Leap will provide the true break through we need for AR. See if you guys can get a hands on demo with those guys somehow.
  • pdf - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    Look like more HUD than AR to me, thoroughly uninteresting until we can get some actual augmentation to our reality.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    Ugh, a low-FoV trackingless HUD, same as have been available for the last couple of decades (though not with the Tiny Awful Portable Computer in the headband rather than a belt unit), except now they're lying by calling it AR to ride the premature marketing hype wave.

    Unless you already have a system using an existing glasses HUD, and want to switch it to Android and get rid of the belt-box, there's basically no reason to buy this.
  • theuglyman0war - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    Oh Joy! Another AR device with all the immersive drama that can be mustered out of a floating postage stamp. ( thousands of dollars for the privilege of developing on a vapor product. Because providing for developers respected as partners is out of the question with the new developer preview paradigm )

    I will gladly pay however!
    Just the thought of coding/developing intensely immersive content on such a device has me giddy with anticipation.
    I fancy a daydream starring all the insufferable tools one might experience on a daily basis seemingly "talking to themselves" loudly out in public spaces ( into their blue tooth earpieces )...

    Where in my fantasy...
    their socially oblivious solo-ego displays in combination with my addictive content immersions cause them to walk clueless into rush hour traffic where society if freed from their loud vainglorious and obtuse conversations with invisible associates:

    When large dump-trucks or speeding school buses flatten them into pancakes! Along with their blue tooth headsets and Alternate Reality glasses. The afterlife after being flattened because u walked out into traffic oblivious to everyone around you! Wham! Yep that would be a fine Alternate reality. :)

    Now I have guilt.

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