Glimpse of the future: eye-tech takes off | The New Daily

reprinted from The New Daily – Jackson Stiles Advisor Editor

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Take a look at the future of smart eyewear.

In the race for tech supremacy, smart eyewear is one of the next battlegrounds, although the industry is off to a rocky start.

Japanese company Sony has begun taking orders for the Smart Eyeglass, an internet-linked wearable frame that superimposes text and images onto the real world.

But will consumers warm to the devices? In January, Google halted the testing phase of its smart eyewear product ‘Glass’, following complaints of limited battery life, privacy issues and eye strain, but the tech giant has sworn the technology will live on.

Tech futurist Morris Miselowski is convinced this ill-fated first attempt was simply a marketing failure, and that we are “absolutely” seeing a trend towards visual gadgets.

“Google Glass was lauded for about two years and it kind of fell on its own sword. By the time it came out, we were over it.”

“But there has always been this fascination with seeing more than we have before,” he says. “It’s not new, we’re just adding more technology onto it.”

Humans are very comfortable wearing glasses, so it makes sense to some that wearable tech will head in this direction and eventually catch on, but some are still dubious.

Tech expert Paul Lin says the technology may never take off for the general consumer market because it is socially unacceptable, at least in its current form, with privacy a major concern.

“It’s not quite a trend yet because nobody has had success,” he says. “It’s still a niche market.”

But there is vast potential for the devices to assist in the workplace, Mr Lin says, where social acceptance is less of an issue.

Glasses

sony-smart-eyeglassSony’s eyewear will debut in March, but only for developers. Photo: Getty

Experts predict that high-tech glasses could help factory workers quickly find boxes in giant warehouses or surgeons to views x-rays and medical records right in front of their eyes before making an incision.

Military pilots already use helmet-mounted displays when flying jet fighters and bombers to help them navigate and fire weaponry.

A version of Sony’s eyewear tailored for software developers will be sold to software developers for $1,075 in March, with a full commercial release slated for next year.

Toshiba and Samsung have also unveiled prototypes, although both of these are yet to be released.

Virtual Goggles

Whereas smart glasses would allow us to look up from our phones and engage with the world, another variant of eye tech aims to immerse us fully in virtuality.

And unlike glasses, virtual reality goggles, like the Samsung Gear VR, can already be bought, with Facebook’s much anticipated Oculus Rift expected to be released sometime this year.

Microsoft has also announced the HoloLens, a mix between glasses and virtual goggles that it boasts will immerse users in “a mesmerising world of augmented reality”.

Smart contact lenses

Contact lenses containing tiny telescopes that will allow wearers to zoom at the wink of an eye are also in the works.

The lenses magnify objects 2.8 times, allowing the visually impaired to see and read clearer without normal glasses.

Funded by the Pentagon, the prototypes were intended for use by soldiers, but have since been adjusted for civilian use by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

A Swiss drug company has also been contracted by Google to build smart contact lenses to help diabetics to track their blood glucose levels. These lenses would measure glucose in tear fluid, removing the need for constant finger pricks.

OrCam

The visually impaired seem to be some of the biggest winners from eye tech.

For example, an Israeli company has developed the OrCam, which straps onto reading glasses and can tell the user what they are pointing at and read out text.

Eye on the Future - Feb 24, 2015 | All, Augmented Reality, Gadgets, Horizon Trends, Internet of Things, Technology, Wearable Technology
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