Many companies have tried using smart wearable devices in different ways, but getting people to wear enhanced glasses has become the gold standard, and it’s a formula that no one has yet figured out. However, like many others, Samsung is in the process of developing its own pair of smart glasses, and a couple of leaked concept videos demonstrate a number of ambitious goals that could be available when (or if) these glasses are released.
These videos come from WalkingCat (@ _h0x0d_) On twitter. The thing to keep in mind is that these are concepts for how the glasses might be worn, not necessarily what current prototypes or future products will be capable of.
The first video includes close-ups of the thick frame of the glasses, which look enough like Snapchat glasses that it’s hard not to imagine them. The demos highlight the goggles’ potential for gaming, watching videos, mirroring a Dex screen for writing an email, taking a video call, and getting an FPV view while flying a DJI drone. There are also sections that highlight some of the other non-video features, including control via a smartwatch and a special sunglass mode that tints the lenses for use in bright daylight.
The second video delves into much more optimistic territory with immersive holographic video calls, augmented reality simulations, and full-body gesture recognition. There is also an opening clip for browsing and interacting with fairly complex text in some Office documents. These things seem much more ambitious, as they are based on capabilities that should not be possible with glasses alone.
The physical design of the glasses is quite thick, and early concept videos show small glass reflectors suspended at eye level, somewhat similar to the prisms used in Google Glass. The model also squeezes part of the right arm to activate sunglass mode, but it’s unclear if it’s a button or something else. Outside of these details, there are no signals from cameras, sensors, or other types of controls.
Most of the features demonstrated in the first video are not that different from what you see in other products and prototypes. Duplicating video from a phone or other source is quite simple, although it can be difficult to get it to look good when the views have to be presented in stereoscopic form, that is, showing the same to both eyes. Likewise, the sunglasses mode is likely to be achieved with electrochromic glass, which OnePlus (via Oppo) and Vivo have been experimenting with.
The challenges presented with those features may be due to familiar issues like battery life, performance, and resolution. For example, videos can look good because our brains can adapt to an imperfect stereoscopic image when we are watching videos, and even writing an email will be fine if the text is reasonably large; but smaller text becomes much more difficult to read if the images are not perfectly aligned.
Several companies are working on smart glasses products, some intended for commercial and industrial use like Microsoft and Google, while Facebook and Apple are known to be working on consumer-oriented products. Samsung’s concept videos seem to suggest that these glasses are designed for all sorts of use cases, or at least that’s how they are marketed internally.