Augmented Reality AR glasses have had a chequered past, not least with Google Glass development system back in 2013. Google Glass is still going as an enterprise system, as are several from companies such as Vuzix.
These are often tethered to a PC to provide training and greater interaction in remote situations, which has been increasingly important during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as provide the ability to see up to five large screens in a single field of view.
By 2030, IDTechEx predicts the augmented, virtual, and mixed reality market to be over $30bn. With Covid-19 limiting physical interaction, virtual communication and interaction will be the norm for many years to come, says the market researcher. This potential has not been lost on component suppliers such as TDK and STMicroelectronics as well as Qualcomm with the Snapdragon XR chip platform for smart AR glasses.
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But CES 2021 perhaps shows a move to consumer systems as 5G wireless has sufficiently low latency and high data bandwidth to potentially replace the cable tether.
The Vuzix Next Generation Smart Glasses (NGSG) has received three CES 2021 Innovation Awards, in Computer Peripherals & Accessories, Portable Media Players & Accessories and Wearable Technologies.
The Next Generation Smart Glasses, coming later in 2021, will combine most smartphone and smartwatch capabilities in a pair of glasses.
"Vuzix has been working on wearable display technology for the last 20 years and we are excited to announce this culmination of breakthroughs in the development of our technology that opens the door for a new wave of consumer and enterprise smart glasses devices from Vuzix. A balance of technology, style and substance is embodied in the industrial design and specifications of our Next Generation Smart Glasses," said Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix.
The company patent portfolio has grown from 90 patents and patents pending to 179 over the last 36 months, driving the next generation smart glasses currently under development. The portfolio covers a range of IP including waveguides with holographic optics, laser and micro-LED display integration, industrial designs and optics engines that support low-cost single-layer waveguides to multilayer large field of view solutions.