Vuzix says it is will launch the world’s first consumer grade smart glasses incorporating waveguide technology within a year.
While current smart glass systems, including Google Glass, use LCDs to display data, waveguide is considered to be much lighter since the display is just 1.4mm thin and less power hungry.
Crucially, the display enables users to see the world, with data overlaid in colour, in their line of sight. Vuzix states that it has 80% optical transmission.
Wavefield technology emits RGB signals that are reformed into video, text, graphics or images within layers of the glass itself.
“When you have something this light it suddenly makes wearable computing, wearable,” said David Lock, European director of operations.
The Rochester-based developer has licenced waveguide technology from Nokia, incorporated it with its own waveguide research, and will introduce the first smart glass based on it (the M2000AR) in a matter of weeks.
“While other people are playing with waveguide we are the only company to have created a complete smart glass system,” Lock added.
While this first application is intended for rugged industrial environments like aircraft maintenance, Vuzix said it plans to launch a consumer variant by early 2015.
The display has brightness adjustable up to 8000nits and an electronic shutter for lighting control, both features that make outdoor use possible.
Vuzix makes a range of head-mounted systems, many of which were built under contract for the US military. According to Lock, a version of its head-mounted smart glass was used by the Navy Seals team on the operation sent to capture Osama Bin Laden.
By Adrian Pennington