10 Best Augmented and Virtual Reality Glasses in 2014
1. Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display developed by Oculus VR. Founded by Palmer lucky in Irvine California, the man harvested the idea of creating a new head-mounted display that is affordable and more effective than what was available at the time. Oculus VR successfully raised $2.4 million USD for the development of the Rift on Kickstarter in 2012.
Before Oculus Rift, typical VR headsets would cost thousands of dollars which makes it difficult for an average person to buy and develop the VR content. Now anyone can buy a virtual headset for just a few hundred bucks.
At the moment, DK II is currently available for purchase on Oculus’s website. This would allow developers a chance to develop VR content in time for Rift’s release to the consumer release. Earlier this year, Facebook acquired Oculus for 2 billion USD.
In September 2014, during the Oculus Connect conference in Los Angeles, Oculus once again presented the newer version, Crescent Bay. This version has a greater resolution than the DK2, a lower weight, built-in audio, and 360-degree tracking thanks to the presence of tracking LEDs in the back of the headset.
A consumer version is in development, which will be aimed at a general market and feature improved components. The consumer version of the Rift should be released sometime in 2015, said in an interview Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe.
Founded in March 2013 by ex-Valve engineers, Technical Illusion developed their first product, CastAR, which features a reality mode glasses that allows fully immersive virtual reality that can be shared with your friends and family.
As you enjoy your VR experience in a social environment, this social projected mixed reality experiences blends a virtual world into the real world, projecting a 3D holographic contents that brings board and table top gaming to the next level.
The company successfully raised 1 million USD on Kickstarter, and is currently working on releasing their product. Early backers will get a copy of the glasses, a set of retroreflective material, a demo game (mARbles), and an SDK that developers can create their own apps and games with.
Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to back the campaign, you can still pre-order a CastAR here for $345 USD.
CastAR can be used beyond the gaming domain. The Technical Illusion team sees potential in the holodeck applications in simulating realities, such as using the device for CAD drawings, thus proving three-dimensional experience for projects and presentations.
See how CastAR technology help doctors revolutionize reading MRI scans. In the video, you can see 20 MRI scans being overlapped in a 3D environment. With CastAR technology, the scans can be displayed as if the doctor was looking directly into the patient’s brain.
CastAR is also fully compatible with Leap Motion. See a video demonstration of CastAR working in union with Leap Motion.
3. Daqri Smart Helmet
The Daqri Smart Helmet is the world’s first wearable human machine interface, unlocking the true potential of augmented reality and 4D in business applications.
DAQRI is a global technology leader in vision-based augmented reality platform, proving customized software solutions and democratizing the ability to for anyone create 4D content,. DAQRI offers AR solutions that empowers enterprises to visualize technical images interactively in 4D, all this supported by cloud-based data system.
An innovator in computer vision, DAQRI incorporates augmented reality and other technologies to add a new dimension to any environment via mobile and wearable devices. DAQRI’s industry-leading software and hardware set the standard for the next generation in industrial, storytelling, and educational technologies.
Their creative tool allows audiences to create augmented realty experiences without the need of technical knowledge in coding. DAQRI’s software complemented by DAQRI Smart Helmet, pairing 4D content with the display it was designed for.
They raised $15 million USD from Tarsadia Investments .
4. Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses
Despite the bulky size and lacking front facing camera, an early developer’s prototype by Epson, the Moverio BT-200, is just half the price of a pair of Google Glass. Priced at $699 USD, the Epson Moverio BT-200 runs on Android based controller, and supports bluetooth and wifi.
Unlike the Google Glass, those who wear glasses can utilize the prescription lens insert which designed to fit most prescription glasses. 2 Optional click-on shades and ear buds are included.
GameFace is a company behind what some says might be the Oculus’s biggest competition. This company is currently developing a wireless VR HMD that runs on Android in the mobile space.
Most VR glasses available now have to run on either PC or console, GameFace does not. Mobile developers now have the same set of developing tools that PC developers utilize, which suggest more and more companies would be emerging to the VR mobile platform.
The platform will be similar to a Window’s operating system, where it will be licensed HMD manufacturers for their own development. The open source platform will be free to developers, with a store similar to iTunes available to sell app or games. For example, instead of point and click on file folders on your computer screen, a person would simply look or point at contents projected in the VR world.
GameFace will be developing a virtual world browser that will support Second Life, High Fidelity, and OpenSim. They now have a demo where you can interact with your friends in the VR world by your own avatars. You can invite your friends to hangout and play with you in the VR world.
6. Google Cardboard
Designed by Google, the Google Cardboard is a fold-out cardboard mount that fits on your smartphone, when combined with lenses, a magnet, a piece of hook-and-loop fastener and a rubber band. Arguably the most affordable virtual reality experience possible at the moment.
This DIY virtual reality mount does not have a official manufacturer or vendor list. Instead, Google has the list of parts, schematics, and assembly instructions freely available on their website. To assemble you will also need a ruler, glue, and scissors, an X-acto knife, or access to a laser cutter.
7. Avegant Glyphe
The Avegant Glyphe Beta can be a great VR device. The device adopts virtual retina display that uses micro mirror array and a combination of optics to reflect images onto the retina, using the back of your eyeball as a screen.
The resulting picture quality is extremely sharp and vivid, unlike anything a conventional display can produce. The current resolution is 1280 x 720 per eye, and roughly a 40-45 degree field of view. The current version will be 720 pixels wide, and later version will be 1080 and 4K.
The micromirror array and optics together create the unique image with a very comfortable and natural feeling that eliminates the eyestrain many people feel when using mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.
The device has high resolution and low latency and can display content from any smartphone, TV, console, tablets. It also supports stereoscopic 3D.
Avegant promise that the device will have a very comfortable fit. The audio mode will provide similar feeling of wearing a noise-canceling headphone. In the video mode, the device will feel like the weight of a pair of glasses, without putting too much pressure on your nose. The prototype is currently being refined. The estimate delivery timeframe for the consumer version is Q1, 2015. You can preorder one here for $499/unit.
8. Icis by LAFORGE Optical
LAFORGE Optical originally launched their crowd funding campaign via Indiegogo, but had withdrew from the campaign after receiving an undisclosed amount from private investors. LAFORGE Optical will be releasing Icis, a prescription eyewear with a heads-up display (HUD) that provides a user’s smartphone notifications around their field of vision.
Icis is a fashion friendly display and camera that is embedded in a pair of eyewear. Syncs to your mobile device over Bluetooth and lets you know who’s calling, who just tweeted, and turn by turn directions.
The screen is located in the temples (side of the frames) of the glasses. A series of optical elements in the lens make it appear as if the image is focused in front of you. The technology does not use project images. Instead, it uses what is known as a virtual image.
Icis use a proprietary combination of lenses and coatings that allow you to see the image in front of you, in focus, no matter where you’re looking.
Icis keeps users connected to the cloud while preserving a crystal-clear view of what is going on in front of them. Icis also features a camera, microphone, and speaker to complement the hardware in a user’s phone.
With a 680×480 display that presents data from the user’s phone right in front of their eyes, Icis pairs with a smartphone app, which converts existing apps into widgets before displaying them.
Widgets are created with an API, and are used to relay app notifications. Icis will be available in different styles, and can accommodate those who do not need prescription lenses.
When the device launches, it will work on Windows Mobile, iOS, and Android. Icis is an app-driven Bluetooth accessory, meaning that it communicates directly with your phone, and not your network. As long as you own a modern smartphone, this device will work with it.
The device will accommodate people who are near-sighted or far-sighted, or have astigmatism. Special instructions will be available to customize your prescription prior to shipment.
You can get a pair for $549. The estimate delivery timeframe is early 2015.
9. Pinć VR
Canadian based Cordon Media Inc is developing their latest VR product, Pinć (pronounced “pinch”). It will be the first virtual reality platform based on the concept of spatial computing that fits into your pocket, similar to Samsung’s Gear VR for the Galaxy Note 4.
This iPone 6 and 6 Plus case has an optical control system in the form of a digital ring that enables interactive gestures within the spatial operation, taking you beyond your smartphone into the VR space experience. This iOS platform turns web browsing and multitasking into an immersive virtual experience.
Cordon Media Inc specializes in mobile and touchscreen applications, with years of experience in developing immersive interfaces for commercial applications in various sectors. Strive to take VR beyond the gaming space, the company see potential in VR applications in improving productivity and e-commerce.
The Company launched their Indiegogo campaign with a goal to raise funding to release their SDK for the iOS developers.
10. Vuzix m100
Recipient of the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Award BEST OF INNOVATIONS, and selected as Best Technology in the Wireless Handset Accessory category.
The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses is an Android-based wearable computer, enhanced with a wearable monocular display and computer, recording features and wireless connectivity capabilities designed for commercial and professional users.
The smart glasses offers access to information, data collection and more. It aims to enhance existing workflows and open new opportunities in industrial, medical, retail, and many other sectors.
The pre-installed apps can be used to record and playback still pictures and video, track timed events, manage calendar, linkage to smart phones and more. The M100 is compatible with thousands of existing Android apps and many developer’s tools.
The Vuzix M100 provides the features and capabilities of a modern smartphone, without a cellular radio. It includes a HD camera to capture photos and videos, and enables the user to store their content in expandable onboard memory or live streaming.
Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity allow easy pairing with another Android device or connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi. An integrated head tracking and GPS system can not only provide apps with your location but even the direction and angle of your current view for unprecedented situational awareness.
If you already wear glasses, the M100 can embed the glasses with your specified prescription prior to shipment!