Head-mounted displays ranging from goggles to helmets have been on the market for years. They chiefly have been used by gamers as well as for industrial and military purposes.
Google Glass, now being tested by selected users for $1,500 apiece, has begun to take the smart glass concept to the masses and is expected to reach the general public toward the end of 2014, according to a Google FAQ.
Recently, Google announced that Google Glass is compatible with prescription lenses.
A number of Google Glass testers wore the product at the International CES trade in Las Vegas in early January. One woman wearing a Google Glass pair told a small crowd of curious CES bystanders that she had been wearing her pair as often as she could, but found it lost battery power quickly.
Calling attention to the fashion quotient needed when using wearable devices, the woman said it was hard to pull her long hair behind both ears while donning Google Glass because of the longer earpiece on one side where Google has located the battery.
Also at CES, Sony showed off a Smart Eyeglass prototype for augmented reality in gaming applications. Wearing the Sony Smart Eyeglass will provide information overlaid on your field of vision on a TV screen. Some have theorized Sony will use Smart Eyeglass, with added functionality, as a competitor to Google Glass.
Apple and Microsoft are also expected to enter the smart glass market, although not in 2014. IDC analysts recently predicted in a report that Apple won't introduce either smart glasses or a smartwatch in 2014, contrary to some rumors, preferring instead to offer a larger-display iPhone in 2014.
Still, more than a dozen smart glass products are expected to ship by mid-year, mostly from smaller vendors or vendors who have previously offered head-mounted displays for military and industrial uses. Prices will range from $79 to $3,000. The products include Epiphany Eyewear, GlassUp, Meta 1, Oakley Airwave 1.5, Optinvent ORA-S, ION Glasses, Recon Jet, Vuzix M100, Atheer Glasses, Technical Illusion CastAR, Icis Smartspecks and Lumis DK-40.
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