We recently got a hands-on look at the new Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses, Epson’s next generation augmented reality wearable.
The Moverio BT-200s offer a way to deliver augmented reality by literally layering it over reality. The glasses contain two 0.42 inch transparent LCD screens giving binocular augmented overlay windows to the world.
In addition to the visual technology the glasses have a plethora of sensors scanning data from the real world to use in the augmentation. Epson really threw in everything and the kitchen sink including a camera, GPS, compass, gyroscope, accelometer, and microphone (as well as audio out for headphones).
In order to fit all that computing power into a wearable the Moverio glasses attach to smarthphone shaped control unit which also hosts a capacitive multi-touch touch-pad and multiple function keys (power, home, menu, back, function, volume and reset). Packed into the 120 mm x 55 mm x 19 mm package Epson also bundled approximately 6 hours of battery life, a TI OMAP 4460 1.2 GHZ Dual Core processor, 1GB of Ram, and 8GB memory running on Android 4.0.4 (upgradable via network updates).
It can take a few moments to become oriented in the glasses. Similar to Google Glass the eyes need to adjust to an artificial visual layer, except in the case of the Moverio glasses the overlay is binocular which allows for simulating overlay placement in three dimensions. Another caveat is that if the glasses are not placed correctly on the face then the augmented screens can be partially obscured.
The glasses run in at only around 88 grams leaving a noticeable weight on the face, but not heavy enough to be obstructive in usage. The glasses and connected control unit become almost invisible when immersed in one of the Moverio’s pre-installed augmented experiences.
Augmented Reality….huh yeah….what is it good for?
Epson is hoping we can find out the answer to that question with the Moverio BT-200. Obviously augmented reality has plenty of application in the gaming world, but some of the developer partners for the Moverio glasses have come up with some interesting applications for the device.
Now that we have your augmented creative juices flowing, you might be wondering how to create your own apps for the device. Since the device is running Android 4.0.4 you can utilize your normal Android development techniques to create applications for the Moverio glasses.
Regular applications may not be enough for you so you can also include augmented reality easily with libraries like Wikitudes SDK optimized for the BT-200. Although the moverio BT-200 is not Google certified and Google Play cannot be used, the Moverio Apps Market will allow developers to launch their own custom build applications.