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Epson embraces wearables with new Pulsense wrist bands, updated smart glasses

Jon Phillips | Jan. 7, 2014
Epson is probably best known for rather prosaic office appliances, but now it's doubling down on its expertise in sensor technology and chip design to make a bigger statement in the wearables market.

Using an LCD projection system, the BT-200s offer a binocular, full-screen experience, so you don't have to peer into a postage-stamp size display at the top of your vision, as you do with Google Glass. During my demo, I found this approach to be relatively comfortable, and less jarring than my experiences with Google's infamous smartglasses. Reality blends with augmented reality relatively seamlessly, though you'll still have to suffer the indignity of wearing goofy-looking cyborgware on your face.

Epson's transparent display boasts a 960-by-540 resolution, and pairs with a gyroscope, compass and accelerometer for head-motion tracking. There's also a front-facing camera, and Wi-Fi connectivity so you can viewing streaming video. The glasses boast native MP4 support; Bluetooth 3.0 for connecting to headsets, speakers and keyboards; and a MicroSDHC slot for 32GB of external storage. 

The Moverio BT-200 are slated to go on sale in March for $700. Now, make no mistake: This will not be the gadget that takes smartglasses mainstream. The category still has significant work ahead to address problems with eye comfort, spatial awareness, software support, and overcoming the social stigma of face-worn teachnology.

That said, the BT-200s do tell us something about what works and what doesn't in smart glasses. The full-screen, transparent design isn't completely disorienting, and that's saying something. And it's almost something of a moral victor considering all the obstacles smartglasses have to surmount.

 

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