Intel working on bringing new smart glasses to the market
Smart glasses have long been a staple of science-fiction genre, with Google first trying to bring a product to the general public. Called Google Glass, they turned out to be a major failure, and the adoption rate of the tech was fairly low. They looked quite odd when worn, and were exorbitantly expensive to the point that few people would spend several thousand dollars for them. However, Intel has been quietly working on a new smart glasses device that they think is the future of wearable tech.
Named Vaunt, these smart glasses do something that no others have been able to do: look like normal glasses. There is no camera, no gesture area to swipe or touch, no microphone, no speaker, and no glowing screen. On the outside they look completely normal, but when wearing them, you’ll see a stream of information on what looks like a screen, but it is actually being projected onto your retina.
Right now, there is a new wave of head wearable technology that will be making its way into the market in the coming years. Augmented reality headsets aim to mix the digital world with the physical world. Virtual reality headsets will be able to transport you into new worlds beyond our imaginations.
Within Intel’s New Devices Group, they aim to bring forth a simple and attractive product that will change the game when it comes to smart glasses. Itai Vonshak, the head of products for the New Devices Group, said, “Head-worn products are hard because people assign a lot of attributes to putting something on their head. It means something about their personality.”
As they began to design the Vaunt, they envisioned an experience where the line between the technology and the user experience is blurred, making it as natural as possible. Vonshak said “We wanted to make sure somebody puts this on and gets value without any of the negative impact of technology on their head. Everything from the ground up is designed to make the technology disappear.”
So what can Vaunt do? Well, when explained in the simplest terms, it is a heads-up style display that will show a wide range of data. This could be a message you receive on your phone, GPS directions, or many other notifications. Vaunt works over Bluetooth, which would have you connect to your iPhone or Android smartphone, and would act very similarly to how a smartwatch does.
In order to generate the display that is directed onto your retina, the glasses have a very low-powered laser that shines a monochrome image onto a holographic reflector on the glasses. The image is then reflected into the back of your eyeball. If you’re thinking that the idea of a laser being reflected onto your retina is a bad idea, there’s no need to worry. The laser is a class one, meaning it has such low power it will not negatively impact your eyesight. Since the laser is shone directly on your retina, it means that Vaunt will work equally well with prescription or non-prescription lenses.
One of the best parts about the display is that you will not see anything in your direct line of sight. Mark Eastwood, the industrial design director of he NDG, said “We have it about 15 degrees below your relaxed line of sight. An LED display that’s always in your peripheral vision is too invasive.”
As of now, Vaunt is still in the prototype stage, but Intel is looking to sell a majority stake in its augmented reality division, in hopes of attracting new investors.