Olympus announced today that they're developing a new AR glasses prototype, which they're calling "MEG4.0", that will incorporate all the know-how they've accumulated in making wearable computing devices thus far.
Google made big waves when it announced Project Glass, and chances are they will be the ones to popularise AR glasses when the product finally ships, in the same way Apple popularised voice control.
But Google certainly wasn't the first company to envision a future where everyone walks around looking like Vegeta from Dragonball.
In fact, Olympus's been trying to make them for over a decade now. First with IBM in 1999, and more recently with NTT DoCoMo.
At CEATEC 2010 in Japan, Olympus and NTT DoCoMo even showed off a working prototype, called AR Walker, that was connected to a HTC Touch Diamond Windows Mobile 6.5 handset. Representatives said that the prototype would have to be revised – to make it comfortable for prolonged usage and, well, support anything other than WinMo 6.5 – before it could be commercialised.
Two years on, the AR Walker is nowhere closer to commercialisation. At last year's CEATEC it wasn't even on the showfloor.
But who needs NTT DoCoMo when the world's your oyster, now that Google has effectively captured the whole world's imagination with Project Glass?
Olympus announced today that they're developing a new AR glasses prototype, which they call "MEG4.0", that will incorporate all the know-how they've accumulated in making wearable computing devices thus far.
The MEG4.0, in its current state, is 196mm-long, lightweight at under 30g (including battery), and equipped with a high-luminance QVGA display (320×240, 10cd/m2?2,000cd/m2). According to past reports of Olympus-made AR glasses (not the MEG4.0), the experience is likely to be similar to looking at a 7-inch display from a meter away.
A gyroscope sensor is also embedded into the MEG4.0, which will come in handy when connected to smartphone applications via Bluetooth 2.1. There's also mention of a positioning sensor, although there's no confirmation if this is GPS.
Olympus also described the MEG4.0 as energy-efficient, lasting approximately eight hours under "normal usage scenarios", which they've defined as "having the display on for 15 seconds every three minutes". If you were to leave the display on all the time, a full charge is good for approximately two hours.
Even without comparing it to Project Glass specs (er… specifications), I get the feeling that Olympus will need to further re-iterate the MEG4.0 (it doesn't even have a camera on it) before I could wear it as happily as this guy here:
Source: Olympus Japan