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Examining the Development of Mobile Tech with AR Smart Glasses

April 17th, 2024

Category: augmented reality

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Posted by: Team TA

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Nowadays, personal mobile technology is an essential part of our daily lives. We have come a long way from the basic cellular phones to the modern and powerful smartphones we carry today. Statista predicts the global smartphone penetration rate to reach 65% by 2025, indicating the widespread adoption of mobile technology. 

The evolution of personal mobile tech has been revolutionary, and as these devices continue to advance, they are increasingly integrating cutting-edge technologies. One such promising technology is Augmented Reality (AR) smart glasses. 

Unlike traditional mobile devices, AR smart glasses create an immersive and interactive experience by overlaying digital information onto the user’s real-world environment. These futuristic devices have the potential to revolutionize our perception and interaction with the world by seamlessly blending the physical and digital realms.

The Early Days of AR Smart Glasses

The Birth of Snapchat and the Rise of AR:

In 2011, Snapchat was created by Evan Spiegel, who went by the name “Picaboo” at the time. Snapchat took a major step forward with the acquisition of Looksery, a Ukrainian firm, for $150 million. This acquisition paved the way for Snapchat’s famous augmented reality feature, Lenses. The innovative filters, which combined 3-D graphics with real-time camera visuals, were an instant hit with users worldwide. 

Facebook’s Foray into AR:

Facebook’s journey towards augmented reality began quite late but quickly caught up with its major competitor, Snapchat.  After a stumble with Slingshot, the social media giant made a remarkable move by launching Stories on various platforms, including Instagram. However, it was the introduction of Camera Effects, which was later renamed Spark AR, that marked Facebook’s entry into the world of augmented reality. 

Niantic Labs and the Augmented Reality Revolution:

Meanwhile, Niantic Labs, a Google spinoff, set its sights on revolutionizing the perception of reality. By seamlessly blending the real world with digital Pokémon creatures, Pokémon Go amassed a staggering 45 million peak players, showcasing the irresistible allure of AR development services. With players traversing cities, parks, and landmarks in search of elusive Pokémon, Niantic’s creation became an iconic symbol of the potential of AR to transform our everyday experiences.

Early Models and Limitations of AR Smartglasses:

 During the initial phases of developing smart glasses for AR, a few innovative models were introduced, each with its unique features and drawbacks. Although these early devices provided a solid groundwork for future advancements in AR technology, they also encountered significant challenges that limited their widespread adoption.

1. Google Glass (2013)

Introduced in 2013, Google Glass was one of the pioneering AR smart glass devices. It featured a small display positioned above the user’s right eye, enabling hands-free access to information and applications through voice commands. Despite its innovative design, Google Glass faced challenges related to privacy concerns and limited functionality, hindering widespread adoption.

2. Epson’s Moverio Line

Epson’s Moverio line of AR smart glasses aimed to provide users with immersive AR experiences for consumer and enterprise applications. The Moverio glasses featured transparent displays that overlay digital content onto the user’s field of view. A few disadvantages of this device include its bulkier design, limited processing power, and tethering to external devices. Healthcare, remote assistance, and entertainment were among Epson’s target industries.

3. DAQRI Smart Glasses

The DAQRI Smart Glasses were specifically created to cater to industrial needs. These glasses provided workers with augmented reality overlays that helped in improving productivity and safety measures. DAQRI targeted various sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and maintenance. However, the glasses were bulky, expensive, and lacked consumer appeal, leading to the company shutting down its operations in 2019.

4. Microsoft HoloLens (Development Edition)

Microsoft’s HoloLens, first released in 2016, offered users a mixed-reality experience by blending digital holograms with the real world. Initially targeted towards developers and enterprise users, the HoloLens showcased the potential for AR in applications such as gaming, design, and education. 

Limitations of Early Models of AR Smartglasses

1. Limited Functionality: 

These gadgets only offer the most basic functions when compared to modern AR glasses. You can use basic apps or social media interactions, overlay displays with information, and record videos.

2. Design and Bulk:

Early models were clunky and uncomfortable. Imagine wearing thick eyeglasses with extra tech strapped to your head. Not exactly a fashion statement. 

3. Privacy Issues:

The capacity to capture video and maybe superimpose data on the actual environment gave rise to privacy concerns. People were afraid they would be unintentionally filmed.

4. Technical Restrictions:

Initially, there were issues with battery life, processor speed, and display quality. AR experiences were often janky and underwhelming. 

Technological Advancements in AR Glasses

1. Display Technology 

Advancements in microLED displays and waveguides are paving the way for high-resolution, transparent overlays. Imagine crisp information or graphics seamlessly integrated into your vision without blocking your view of the real world. Apple’s rumored AR glasses are expected to utilize microLED displays for a high-quality, transparent viewing experience.

2. Processing Power

Miniaturized, low-power processors are being developed specifically for AR glasses. This allows for more complex AR applications to run smoothly without bulky or overheating devices. The recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 1 chip is specifically designed for AR glasses, offering significant processing power in a compact form factor.

3. Battery Life

Advancements in battery technology and efficient chip design are leading to longer battery life for AR glasses. Improved battery life is essential for practical everyday applications as no one wants glasses that die after an hour of use. Companies like Mojo Vision are focusing on low-power AR displays that can last a full day on a single charge.

4. Enhanced Connectivity Options

The advent of 5G and other future advancements like Wi-Fi 6E is poised to revolutionize the world of augmented reality (AR) glasses. With faster and more reliable data transfer, AR glasses will be able to offer smoother streaming of AR content, real-time data access, and potentially cloud-based processing for even more powerful AR experiences. This shift towards 5G networks will provide the necessary infrastructure for bandwidth-intensive AR applications, ushering in a new era of AR technology.

Taking Charge of the Future: Addressing the Rise of AR Smart Glasses

AR, VR, and Mixed Reality technologies are poised to revolutionize industries, with smart glasses potentially surpassing smartphones. To prepare for this virtual shift, businesses must strategize with a clear vision and adapt their technical infrastructure to support augmented and virtual technologies. 

Collaborating with AR and VR experts, adapting product lines to digital trends like digital fashion, and assessing risks in areas like data privacy are crucial steps. Cultivating a culture of adaptability and investing in employee training in AR and VR technologies will ensure readiness for this transformative era. If you want to explore the possibilities of AR smart glasses, get in touch with us, one of the renowned AR development company, and unlock the true potential of smart glasses to embrace the future of immersive technology.

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