Introduction2015 was the year which we saw the rise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality applications and solutions. It all started with Google Glass project which enabled the further exploration of eye wear technology that simulates reality. While Oculus Rift and similar products have gained widespread acceptance in the Virtual Reality landscape, there is no big player covering Augmented Reality. Today, we are going to take a look at Epson's Moverio BT-200 smart glasses and see if it has got what it takes to be the choice of AR application.
The HardwareEpson's image projection technology has allowed them to have a head start in the game. The Moverio BT-200 smart glasses works by having an extremely small high resolution full colour LCD that is projected on two screens, one for each eye. This allows 3D display and other AR applications to be possible.
Understanding that building smart capabilities within the smart glass itself would make its design of the glasses much bulkier and heavier, Epson has decided to move the control unit to an external device. This means that the control unit and glasses are separated. Epson has built in an Android 4.0 operating system within the control unit and also integrated buttons and a trackpad on the control unit for navigation of the operating system that is displayed on the glasses.
It has to be noted that these glasses are fully transparent and would not block any visual sights when no projection of display occurs. When wearing the glasses and switching on the system, one will be awed by such amazing technology, where a huge display is shown right in front of your eyes, layered on top of reality. This kind of solution makes it perfect for AR applications, opening up various possibilities in the AR landscape.
The SoftwareIt is quite disappointing that Epson has decided to do away with every Google App. This also measn that apps installed are limited to their own Moverio App Store. Luckily, the store has quite a number of fun and useful applications that should be able to maximise the full potential of the Moverio BT-200 smart glass.
Great Entertainment Solution
The Development Experience
In terms of development, due to the fact that the system runs directly on Android operating system, getting started will be a breeze if one has any previous experience on Android development. In fact, it is possible that the current apps developed on Android will run just fine on the Moverio BT-200 without any tweaks and changes. The only thing to take note is the orientation of the screen. As the glasses only operate in landscape mode, applications that require portrait orientation may not work as well as it should be.
Here is one of the simple applications that we developed on the Moverio BT-200. CoVis stands for Colour Vision. It is an application that aims to help the people who are colour deficient, allowing them to have the capabilities to identify colours of objects. This is done by using the camera that is found on the Moverio BT-200. Although the application is far from complete, it is a good start for us to test further ideas and implementations of such useful applications.
Needs for better Interface
Also, the headset is still quite heavy and may slip. This is due to the connected cable to the control unit. It would be better if the glasses can be connected to the control unit wirelessly, while holding a small in built battery to power it. This could be direction for future versions of the Moverio devices.
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