SmartReality App for Epson Moverio BT200 Glasses

Epson Moverio BT200: Actually Useful Smart Glasses

By: David Pogue

“Alot of people make fun of Google Glass. Some of them think wearing Glass makes you look like a hipster cyborg. Others object to the built-in spy camera, which is a screaming privacy violation and a good way to get yourself punched in the nose. But not many people criticize the actual technology of Glass (which is generally excellent). They talk instead about the social problems of wearing Glass. My guess, therefore, is that Google Glass will never become a popular consumer item. It will settle into niches where having a hands-free camera and screen make sense: extreme sports, aircraft maintenance, surgery, and so on.”

“That’s why Epson is so smart to target its new Moverio BT200 smart glasses ($700) at niche uses from the outset. “We don’t believe the world is ready for an always-on use case,” the product manager told me. Translation: Nobody is going to wear smart glasses around town. They’re for special cases, especially augmented reality (where you see text and graphics overlaid on the world around you) and virtual reality (where you can look around inside imaginary worlds). With that understanding, Epson’s designers were freed from many of the constraints that Google has faced in making its smart glasses. For example, Epson’s designers don’t have to care much about fashion. Which is lucky, because Epson’s glasses look ridiculous.”

The apps

“The Moverio glasses cannot, however, access the standard Android app store. Epson intends to build a custom app store just for Moverio apps. In the meantime, you can “sideload” Android apps — that is, get them onto the Moverio by (for example) emailing them to yourself, rather than downloading them using Google’s Play store.”

“Some apps make sense when viewed through glasses, and some don’t. The important thing to remember is that what you see through the Moverio glasses combines the virtual screen with what’s in the real world around you. And that’s where things get really exciting and the potential for smart glasses suddenly leaps out. For example, Epson loaded my control unit with several apps that show off how these glasses might be useful in real-world work situations:”

JBKnowledge’s SmartReality.

“You look at a blueprint lying on the table (Epson supplied a couple of examples printed on regular paper).”

“When you wear the glasses, open the SmartReality app, and download the corresponding file, you see a model of the finished building, extending upward from the lines of its footprint on the drawing. This is amazing augmented reality: As you walk around the drawing or lean over it, your perspective on the model changes as though it’s a physical object that’s really sitting there. (This image doesn’t do it justice; when you’re wearing the glasses, the walls sprout directly up out of the corresponding blueprint elements.)”

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