Vuzix today announced they’ll be unveiling their latest smartglasses at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Called Vuzix Blade, the smartglasses are more of a heads-up display akin to Google Glass than a positionally-tracked AR headset like Microsoft Hololens or the upcoming Magic Leap One, although the Blade’s styling certainly comes closer to ‘normal’ than many we’ve seen before.
The Vuzix Blade connects to either iOS or Android devices, letting you answer phone calls, view notifications, and capture video or images with the 8MP front-facing camera. Weighing in at 3 oz and using proprietary waveguide optics, the company says they’ve fit in a “sizable virtual screen and brilliant pallet of colors via a thin completely see-through lens, in a fashionable form factor.”
While “fashionable” is pretty subjective, you’d probably get away with wearing them on the subway/tube/metro without getting too many sideways glances—one of the main factors behind the outlash against Google Glass users that had its part in driving Glass into the enterprise sector and out of the reach of consumers. The Blade’s design certainly isn’t any worse than wearing a backwards Kangol hat.
The Blade comes in two developer kit versions; a ‘prosumer’ version and an enterprise-focused version, although both offer the same hardware specs and are both priced at about $2000. The company, which is asking for a $500 deposit to reserve either unit, is staying mum on launch dates, and hasn’t published hard specs yet regarding field of view (FOV) or battery life, etc.
The glasses run their own Vuzix Blade OS which allows users to navigate data via simple swipes and taps, or simply use voice controls and external AI systems thanks to an integrated mic.
“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,” Paul Travers, President and CEO of Vuzix. “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.”
We’ll have feet on the ground at next week’s CES in Las Vegas, starting January 9th until the 13th. We hope to brings you more information on Blade and all AR/VR hardware and software descending on Sin City.