Home Mobile devices Epson Moverio augmented reality glasses – here, now

Epson Moverio augmented reality glasses – here, now

Epson thinks smart glasses will play a very important part in our future with growing uptake of its Moverio technology in tourism, health, real estate, education, sports, and, following recent CASA legislation, for drone piloting.

It has launched its new third generation Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses — technically a “self-contained, binocular augmented reality (AR) system” — to help combine the digital world with the real world.

Moverio BT 300 600

In layman’s terms, it is a pair of glasses with transparent lenses (so you can see the real world) with transparent si-OLED (self-illuminating) technology so you can see data overlaid on the glasses. Processing power comes from an attached mini-computer “pod” with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and spatial awareness from a 5MP camera and motion tracker.

The data can be anything – a movie, context-sensitive information (imagine walking around an art gallery where looking at the painting brings up more information) to being used as a teaching aid. The difference is that it is overlaid on the real world, unlike Virtual Reality where you need to close yourself off from the same.

At the demonstration today, Epson Australia Consumer Division general manager – Sales and Marketing Bruce Bealby said, “The BT-300 marks a major advance in technology and performance for the Moverio platform. By using Si-OLED we take advantage of reductions in power usage and weight, and improvements in response times, HD resolution, brightness, and contrast. By choosing silicon rather than glass for our base wafer we achieve an even more precise pixel display.”

“Moverio also has several truly unique benefits, for example being the only smart glasses you can legally fly drones in Australia as they offer pilots crystal clear, transparent first-person views from the drone camera while simultaneously maintaining their line of sight with their aircraft. This makes flying and filming safer and helps users stay in compliance with local and national aviation regulations,” he added.

But the real advance is in the apps – there are now hundreds and they are rapidly addressing new use cases.

Dr Gary Grant, from Griffith Universities School of Pharmacy, spoke on the use of the Moverio to help students learn. His point was that students lose 80% of what they have learned in 30 days and Moverio helps engage and exponentially increase retention. “Just being able to walk through a patient journey in 360° from the ambulance to discharge helps the students understand and learn,” he said.

Epson Moverio Grant

Bealby reeled off dozens of uses from providing sightseeing commentary atop a tour bus, sports performance (Manchester United use the glasses and drones for athlete/game analysis), the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 racing team (that use it for analytics, training, and performance tuning), Live Opera (for subtitles) and sports matches (for live updates and sports statistics).

“The use cases are just starting and the Epson Moverio BT-300 is the first real smart glasses to have truly made it into the mainstream with their wide variety of uses and apps in the consumer, government and commercial worlds. They represent a major leap forward in mobile AR smart eyewear with their comfortable, lightweight form factor and powerful display engine. The transition from LCD backlit projection to Si-OLED enables higher contrast levels, a wider colour gamut and true display transparency which makes it game-changing technology,” he said.

Moverio header 1

The writer had a brief test of the Moverio and they were light (69g), responsive, and allowed the use of reading glasses at the same time. The current 720p display is equivalent to a floating 80” perceived screen. The glasses are Android powered, have a six-hour battery life and are attached to the processor dongle. Cost is $1,199.

ITWire looks forward to reviewing a pair soon. 

Following are some short use case videos.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!