Vuzix says their lightweight and fashionable 'smart sunglasses' will succeed in the consumer market where products like Google Glass have failed. Matthew Stock reports.
Smart glasses you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear in public. That's the premise of the Blade 3000 augmented reality (AR) smart 'sunglasses'. Wearers can view and interact with video and digital content, which appears as 3D floating holograms. Developers Vuzix believe they're a game-changer. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL TRAVERS, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF VUZIX CORPORATION, SAYING: "This guy [THE SMART GLASSES] has a quad-core processor in it, it runs Android 5.0, it has an 8 megapixel camera that looks out into the real world. This is basically a smartphone but in the form of a pair of glasses. Nobody has been able to do this yet. There's competitors out there with these big bulky things, heavy etcetera. These things [the Blade 3000s] are 2.8 ounces - they're as light as a conventional pair of sunglasses, everything in; including the batteries." Vuzix has been making wearable display tech since the 90s. But with the Blade 3000s they're looking to crack a market others have struggled in. SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL TRAVERS, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF VUZIX CORPORATION, HOLDING BLADE 3000 SMART GLASSES, SAYING: "These optics in these systems literally change the complete paradigm; people will wear these walking down the street.... One of the most famous versions of these, probably you think of Google Glass. And when you wore Google Glass it was this thing that stuck out in front of you, it was right there with a camera in your face. Folks even got a really poor name when they would wear them because you kind of look like a tech head." It also features a head-motion tracker, built-in noise cancelling mics with speech recognition, and gesture control using an integrated touch pad at the temple. Vuzix recently penned a deal with Toshiba to build a customised pair of smart glasses, though details of this new device are being kept under wraps. Meanwhile, the Blade 3000s will ship in the second half of 2017. Vuzix says the cost will ultimately be around 500 dollars.