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The billion-dollar race for smart glasses

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The excitement surrounding AR (augmented reality) smart glasses is palpable, thanks in particular to the introduction of the Apple Vision Pro. This device and the Quest 3 demonstrate the potential to turn the idea of mixed reality into a mass-market product. However, the question persists: will smart glasses ever become a mainstream product? Ongoing research and experiments suggest an affirmative answer, but with several technical challenges to overcome. Both Apple and Meta, two industry giants, have invested significantly in developing VR (virtual reality) and AR technologies despite recognizing the latter’s greater complexity.

future ar technology

Creating AR glasses involves the challenge of incorporating a supercomputer into a device that retains the aesthetics and functionality of a traditional pair of glasses. In addition, leaks and patents show that Apple is working on its own AR glasses solutions, although the Vision Pro team has temporarily prevailed in internal competition, putting the development of transparent AR devices on hold.

The big players: Apple and Meta

apple vision pro
meta quest 3

Apple and Meta are spotlighted for their investments in virtual and augmented reality technologies. Both companies are actively exploring AR devices with transparent optics, although they recognize the many technical challenges involved in this technology.

The challenges of AR devices

In addition to the technical challenges related to displays and optics, there are issues related to brightness and display of dark colors. AR glasses must be able to function effectively in various light environments, including direct sunlight, requiring brightness levels that far exceed those of phone screens. In addition, a transparent display’s ability to add light but not subtract limits the range of colors it can reproduce, making it difficult to achieve high-contrast full-color images without the use of shading or filters.

ar technology augmented reality

New forms of interaction, such as neural interface bands and eye tracking, promise to revolutionize the way we interact with AR devices, overcoming the limitations of current input methods.

Best AR devices

vision pro comparison

Vision pro

quest 3 comparison

Quest 3

Xreal-Air-2-Ultra

XReal Air 2 Ultra

hololens 2

HoloLens

Ar cinema at home

Rokid Max

vuzix smart glass

Vuzix Blade XR3

Conclusions

Despite these challenges, innovations in materials, chipsets, and input technologies, such as neural interface bands and eye tracking, offer an optimistic vision for the future of smart glasses. The combination of hardware and software advances is paving the way for new possibilities for lightweight, efficient, and feature-rich AR devices. As interest and investment in this area increase, solutions likely to emerge that overcome current limitations will move us closer to the realization of smart glasses that successfully combine reality and virtuality in an elegant and practical device.

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