Hot off the tail of a $58 million capital raise, ODG today announced two new models of their R-series smartglasses, the R8 and R9, which add positional tracking, an improved field of view, and a closer-to-consumer price point.

ODG calls their new R8 and R9 “Consumer AR Smartglasses,” though with prices at $1,000 and $1,800 and a field of view of 40 degrees and 50 degrees respectively, I’m not sure everyone would agree with that characterization. Regardless, the glasses do represent a firm step toward augmented reality and the consumer market, as both models are said to be equipped with optical-based inside-out positional tracking and are siginificantly cheaper than the R7 predecessor, which was priced at $2,750. It seems the company plans to keep whittling prices down as they look toward consumer adoption.

R8 Smartglasses

Both smartglasses are based on Qualcomm’s powerful new Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, which is said to be well equipped for AR and VR use-cases. The glasses will tap into Qualcomm’s Snapdragon VR SDK to achieve positional tracking capabilities; in the past we’ve been impressed with the tracking of Qualcomm’s VR headset reference platform, and we hope to see the same positional tracking quality carry over to ODG’s new smartglasses. However, when we asked ODG how its positional tracking compared to that of HoloLens, we were told that the R8 and R9 weren’t built for the same level of tracking quality as HoloLens, so we’ll have to wait and see how well it stacks up.

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Both devices have dual 1080p OLED displays, said to run at 80Hz, that use what the company characterized as a “folded optics approach” to achieving a transparent display. Both smartglasses run ODG’s Android-based ReticleOS, which can run regular Android apps in a legacy mode, but the company says they’re working with partners to show how apps can be expanded beyond the phone paradigm with augmented reality capabilities.


So what’s the difference between the R8 and R9? The more expensive R9 is a bit heavier (at around 6 ounces), has a wider 50 degree field of view, and leans more toward the enterprise and developer sectors. The key feature on the R9 is a special expansion port on top which ODG says taps directly into the headset’s hardware, offering huge potential for customization through aftermarket modules—like UV, night vision, or gesture input cameras—making the R9 the device of choice for niche use-cases. The headset also has a 13MP front-facing camera that’s capable of high-resolution or high-frame rate recording (up to 120FPS at lower resolutions). The R9 will be available first, with development kits launching in Q2 2017.

odg-r8-smartglasses-ar-1At just 4 ounces, and with a somewhat more sleek design, ODG says the less expensive R8 is positioned more toward the early consumer adopter. The 40 degree field of view is only slightly wider than the R7’s 37 degree field of view. One thing the R8 has that the R9 doesn’t is a 1080p stereo camera pair which can capture 3D video. Development kits of the R8 are planned to ship in Q3 2017.

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Input on both devices revolves around buttons and controls on the glasses themselves (similar to Google Glass), as well as an option for phone-based control via an app, and support for Bluetooth accessories like keyboards and a ‘Wiimote-like bluetooth ring controller.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Sponge Bob

    Well, well ,well..

    Are you calling rotational tracking a “positional tracking” ?

    You can do rotational tracking with just IMUs, no cameras required,
    but not so with XYZ positional tracking

    Please use correct terminology cause your blog gets very confusing sometimes

    • Engineer of the future

      Actually, an IMU can provide 6 DOF, we use it in out robots. It depends on the IMU.

      • Sponge Bob

        an accelerometer data gets integrated 2 times to get your a position

        this is a no go without being adjusted to external reference at least every once in a while (pretty often actually)

        Anything else is a marketing gimmick (a lie). Period.

    • martinbrock

      These glasses are wearable, general purpose computers aimed at replacing a tablet and even a laptop, not VR or AR googles best suited for gaming. They apparently lack the Hololens’ infrared depth sensor, though they seem to map their environment spatially somehow; however, the applications enabled by mapping the environment are more glitz than practical tech at this point.

      Monsters climbing out of walls and sitting on couches and windows pinned to refrigerator doors make impressive demos, but none of it is essential for a wearable computer. For the wearable computing application, virtual objects should be fixed in space relative to my head, not relative to my room, so the IMU is enough. The smaller size, lighter weight and higher resolution are essential. I couldn’t wear a Hololens on the street or around the office or anywhere for very long. I could wear the R8 almost anywhere and continually.

      These guys know what they’re doing and are definitely at the top of my AR wish list now. I wish the R8 had 1080p resolution, but if it works as described and permits me to use the Android apps I use now, including remote desktop to a Windows PC, I would pay $900 for it, and it wouldn’t feel like a new game console without much content.

  • OgreTactics

    Fuck Meta2, HoloLens and that MagicLeap vaporware…ODG si doing damn impressive work on the future of AR, at least in terms of form factor and spec’ evolution (only information missing is opacity, R-7 was 80%, hope there’s evolution).

    Granted Meta2 and HoloLens tracking and interaction is probably better, glass technology is actually the most impressive and I don’t understand why it is evolving as an unusable gadget way faster that VR headset which are supposed to target consumer market despite their deplorable current conception…

    • Sponge Bob

      Actually, this is probably a dead end for high-quality AR, at least for the next 10-15 years

      I believe that VR and AR will merge, and pretty soon, but the AR part will be through external cameras, something like Vrvana of Montreal did with their VR/AR headset (a 5K contraption for now but can get cheap very quickly if they drop inside-out tracking and other expensive garbage like depth cameras)

      • OgreTactics

        “Actually, this is probably a dead end for high-quality AR, at least for the next 10-15 years”

        Absolutely, in fact this created a problematic differentiation in the market and obviously the industry, between AR and VR which are in no way different but the continuity of a same virtual spectrum. And I hope it’s more than pretty soon because actually VR headset don’t make sens without it.

        I didn’t now about VRVana going to look it up thanks.

        • Significant reductions in cost and form factor will lead to mass adoption of VR and AR devices. I don’t see a “cheap” merged device coming along anytime soon so separate VR/AR devices may have to suffice for awhile.

          Also, high-quality AR experiences like those offered by HoloLens do have significant commercial applications. Thus, improvements are coming even if they don’t necessarily appeal to the masses. The same can be said for VR. It just depends on your application.

    • martinbrock

      I’m with you. I’ve never been a gamer.

      Opacity matters, but ODG’s solution seems to be dark lenses creating more of a VR experience. The principal use cases are walking around and sitting down to work, if replacing a laptop with the device is really practical. For walking around, transparency is a feature rather than a bug. For sitting down to work, the VR experience is usually acceptable, particularly if the glasses are easily removed. In a busy office environment, the VR experience is like closing a virtual office door. It’s also a feature rather than a bug, and the camera permits a user to open the door on demand and close it as quickly. Self-darkening lenses would be better still, but I obviously don’t want a bug darkening them unexpectedly.