AR-VR Markets – Preparing For Emergent Consumer Behaviours. Intel has designed a new pair of AR glasses. Named Vaunt, these smart glasses use retinal projection to ‘put’ the display on your eyes. There is no camera to scare people out, no glowing LCD screen, no button to push, no gesture zone to swipe, no speaker, and no microphone, at least for now. Apart from a tiny red glimmer that’s occasionally visible on the right lens, people around you might not even know you’re wearing smart glasses.
AR-VR Markets – Intel Vaunt AR Smartglasses
Vaunt prototypes come in several styles and work with sun protective lenses or prescriptions. From the outside, Vaunt looks just like a normal pair of prescription glasses that can be worn comfortably all day. But, when wearing them, you see streams of holographic information not on the screen but right onto your retina.
Following on Google Glass’s ‘expansion‘ plan, Vaunt will start with an ‘Early Access Program’ for developers, later in 2018. However, Intel’s goals are different as instead of trying to convince consumers could change their lives with head-worn AR display – as Google was trying – Intel is seeking to improve the AR glasses to fit consumers’ day to day lives.
Vaunt’s codename is “Superlite” showing Intel’s imperative of keeping the device weigh under 50 grams. The electronics and batteries are placed in places where no weight is put on either your nose or your ears. Vaunt does not just look like normal glasses, but feels like them.
AR-VR Markets – Zero Social Impact
“Head-worn products are troublesome because when people put something on their head it means something to them, or about their personality,” says Itai Vonshak, head of products for NDG. With Vaunt we want to deliver something that has zero ‘social impact’”.
All chipsets and sensors inside Vaunt sit into the stems of the eyeglasses. Vaunt communicates over Bluetooth with both Android and iPhone and can AR project messages, directions, notifications, via an app that runs in the background.
Hardware wise, the right stem houses a low-powered red laser that beams a monochrome image of 400 x 150 pixels onto a holographic reflector onto the right lens. The image is then reflected onto the retina.
AR-VR Markets – Virtual Assistant-Ready AR Glasses
The glasses use holographic grading embedded into the lens to reflect the correct wavelengths back to the eye as retinal projection.
“The image is ‘painted’ into the back of your retina,” said Jerry Bautista, the lead for the team building wearable devices at Intel’s NDG.
The glasses have VCSEL and Bluetooth chipsets to communicate with your smartphone, an app processor, an accelerometer and a compass so it knows what direction you’re looking. Future models will have a microphone instaled to be used with intelligent assistants such as Siri or Alexa.
The display works outdoors and indoors and the battery lasts a full day. Moreover, when the battery runs out, the glasses can be used as regular glasses.
According to NDG’s team, Vaunt will offload most of the work to your phone by supporting many apps, via the direct integration with AI voice assistants as the final goal is to do more than just blast notifications into your eyeball.
For example, “You’re in the kitchen, cooking. With the glasses on you can ask ‘Siri, I need a fast recipe for pancakes,’ and a second later, you have it on your retina”, says Vonshak.
Vaunt glasses are not meant to replace other devices with screens, but to become a new sort of touchless voice assisted device, used in ways that other screens are not.
AR-VR Markets – The Ecosystem Is Critical
Similar to the Google Glass ‘Explorer Program’, Intel’s ‘Early Access Program’ will allow developers to design apps for the emergent consumer behaviours such VR and AR consumption, ready for the upcoming wave of AR-VR markets.
However, Intel has a reputation for revealing cool concepts that never reach the market. This time, the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich feels the consumers are ready for ‘AR-VR markets’ revolution.
”There are 2.5 billion people that need corrective lenses,” he says. “By design, Vaunt is a pair of prescription glasses with added AR functionality. We can replace the eye care providers and people will buy them like they buy their glasses today.”
While unlike HoloLens and Magic Leap, Intel’s AR glasses look and feel normal. If Brian Krzanich is right or not it remains to be seen. More than that, while tech heads and early adopters love the idea of AR-VR markets for fashion and retail tech, in particular, the main problem remains convincing people to wear AR glasses.