What Will the Future Look Like?
Smart glasses are wearable computers that are worn on the eyes or head and provide useful functions for the user. Many have screens that add information to the side or a smaller screen on top of the glasses. This term might also refer to glasses that can change their optical properties, such as smart sunglasses that are electronically programmed to change their tint.
Unlike virtual reality headsets, these glasses allow users to feel both the physical and digital worlds at the same time, providing a more natural experience. The experience is enabled either by optical head-mounted display (OHMD), augmented reality (AR) technology, or head-up display (HUD) glasses. Despite continued growth and value potential in the corporate and industrial sector, these gadgets continue to face challenges that prevent them from reaching mass markets. Facing a pivotal moment, manufacturing companies are now looking to expand their reach. Even when companies are experiencing a superior workflow through the use of these devices, the public will have to wait a little longer before it becomes accessible and available to the masses. Despite these challenges, there are many options on the market today, offering great value to a wide variety of users.
What are Smart Glasses ?
Smart glasses bring the wireless connectivity and images we enjoy on our computers and cell phones at home, into the frames and lenses of our glasses. Just as we can no longer imagine life without laptops and phones, we will soon be able to enjoy the same versatility and connectivity as glasses and even contact lenses. Basically, they are designed to bring the wireless capabilities of smartphones and similar devices directly to your face or head. They can be controlled by touch or completely hands-free. They let you make calls or receive messages, take photos and videos from your perspective, listen to music, interact with apps, navigate using GPS, or display augmented reality overlays.
How Are They Made?
To provide functionality similar to smartphones and other devices, smart glasses must be easy to control, have multiple sensors, and produce visual and audio output. These are the functional parts of these devices and how they work:
- Sound power
To be able to answer calls, reproduce videos or similar features, it is necessary to have audio output. Some don’t use speakers and instead send sound to the cochlea (ear bone) through bone conduction instead of the air. This means that vibrations are sent from the spectacle frame through the skull to the cochlea without affecting the eardrum.
Most smart glasses have a small microphone that records your voice and the sounds around you. This is required for voice control, call function, or video recording with sound.
- Computer processor
Like any computer, these devices need a central processing unit (CPU). It is usually attached to one of the frame arms, so it must be small. The CPU is usually the same or similar to the processor in a smartphone.
- Human Machine Interface (HCI)
The glasses must apply a human-machine interface, which means that typical control devices such as a touch screen or a computer mouse are not suitable, these glasses can be controlled with one or a combination of: buttons, voice recognition, gesture recognition, video recording, or remote control (using another device).
Data Entry Via Smart Vision
Imagine being able to update the knowledge you need directly into the glasses database. This situation allows immediate access to specific knowledge directly in the field of vision in hands-free mode.
Just like regular glasses, they can be equipped with different types of lenses. These can be prescription glasses (for vision problems), blue light filter glasses for computers, or «smart» glasses that dim based on ambient light conditions.
Many smart glasses require a camera. The glasses are captured and analyzed by a camera, so augmented reality overlays are possible. However, some of the newer ones don’t include cameras. They typically only provide audio functionality.
- Screen: curved mirror and waveguide
Screens have been the hardest part of their development so far. They have two main types of screens. These are curved mirror screens and waveguide screens. The problem with the curved mirror approach is that the device has to be larger and the image less sharp. Waveguides, on the other hand, are a newer group of technologies. These include: diffractive , holographic, reflective waveguides , and virtual retinal displays.
Some Disadvantages of Wearing Smart Glasses
Although smart glasses have many advantages, especially for visually impaired people, since they can, for example, scan text and play it in audio mode, they also have some disadvantages.
- Do not use while driving: They cannot be used while driving, as images, videos or data are displayed on the user’s face, which may distract the user.
- Fragile: After all, it’s just glass, not bulletproof, so it can easily break.
- Misuse of facial recognition: This can result in the use of facial recognition technology for malicious purposes.
- Violation of privacy: The main disadvantage is that they can violate the privacy of users. Cameras can be hacked violating not only the user’s privacy but others.
- Cannot be used for activities: Can’t be used for running, dancing or similar activities.
- They are expensive.
Some Disadvantages that Become Advantages
Just as there are some disadvantages to their use, we will see that applied in another use, they provide benefits for those who manage them consistently.
- Video collaboration
The most prominent use of smart glasses today is undoubtedly video collaboration. The ability to work remotely with experts in a «see what I see» system is improving many industries in all areas. Remote assistance capabilities for everything from on-site services to complex technical support are encouraging more companies to incorporate this technology into their workflows.
- Check functionality
When it comes to maintenance, augmented reality solutions are invaluable. Smart glasses allow technicians to receive step-by-step visual guidance to help with tasks such as assembly, repair or maintenance procedures. The head-mounted display also helps technicians verify operation and ensures that every step is done correctly.
- Improved Vision
Some models incorporate liquid crystal technology, allowing users to filter the brightness from smart lenses. Luminance filtering is a better technology than photochromic or transitional lenses and can potentially eliminate the need for sunglasses.
In the future, it will be possible to customize your glasses to your wishes and needs. If you need to wear prescription glasses, or, if you don’t want to leave the house without your sunglasses in the warmer months, technological advancements will allow you to change the tint of the glasses.
- Hands-free concept
With smart glasses, all information is always available. In addition, just looking in the top corner of your glasses when you’re busy or doing something else makes getting through your day much easier.
The Future of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality
Smart glasses have come a long way since their first attempt. Now, with dozens of manufacturers, technology is advancing at an astonishing rate.
The future of AR is exciting as new waveguide displays are developed to offer better resolution, field of view, and clarity. AR glasses on the market are still expensive and leave a lot to be desired, but who knows what the next year will bring.
Current demand is forcing more and more forward-thinking companies to join the development bandwagon. While still awaiting widespread public use, AR glasses have found valuable areas for operation, development, and growth. So useful that it’s no surprise to hear that tech giants are starting to develop their own AR glasses.
Such an implementation will ultimately improve quality control, improve maintenance, provide faster and more reliable solutions, save on administration and training costs, facilitate remote support, and more. Until this technology becomes popular on the market, it will continue to work behind curtains in facilities, warehouses, and construction sites around the world.
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