Future of AR Devices: Lenovo Thinkreality A3, Meta Ray-Ban, Rokid AR and Vuzix Next Gen Smart Glasses
Table of Contents
- Vuzix Shield ™ Smart Glasses
- Lenovo Thinkreality a3
- Snap Inc. Next Generation of Spectacles
- Meta Ray-Ban Stories
- Rokid AR Glasses
- In Conclusion
The excitement around Augmented Reality (AR) continues to be fueled by tech industry leaders, from new product teasers to roadmaps and official launch dates. We have heard many exciting announcements revolving around AR, making even more headlines. Today, we would like to look at some AR devices that have sparked great interest when entering the hardware market.
Before we dive into the devices let's have a quick look at AR, as a technology in general. Out of the immersive technologies, AR is the one that is most entwined into the real world. It allows to enhance everyday life with digital capabilities and visual overlays, making it a powerful tool for both businesses and consumers.
We continue to see global industry players implementing and making their moves in the AR domain. With Kia and Audi promising AR windshields, growing popularity of AR Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), recent Snap Inc. acquisition of WaveOptics Ltd, the makers of mass market AR displays, and much more. Like with any prominent technology, the market growth figures show the actual scale of potential future outreach. With the AR market estimated to hit USD 72.7 billion by 2024.
The topic of AR has been picked up in many global tech and industry events. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the most influential annual tech events worldwide, has served as a platform for several exciting AR announcements from from Vizux, Lenovo, Blickfeld, and many more. The VR/AR Association (VRARA) Global Summit had an extensive pool of AR topics, covering the latest industry trends and connecting professionals in the immersive technology field worldwide to share visions and ideas.
Having said all that, let's now look at some AR devices and their potential impact on the industry's future.
Vuzix Shield ™ Smart Glasses
Vuzix is amongst the noteworthy AR hardware producers. The company made a big splash during CES 2021, taking 3 Innovation Awards with their Next Gen Smart Glasses (NGSG). The glasses were later named Shield ™ Smart Glasses and took multiple Innovation Awards Honoree at CES 2022.
The Next Gen Smart Glasses came as a true breakthrough during CES 2021, as this pair of microLED smart glasses had quite a contrast to the traditional Vuzix models. Their ordinary eyewear design makes the pair suitable and easily wearable in public. The glasses were promised to be compatible with Wifi and optional LTE and to feature immersive stereo speakers, noise-canceling microphones, and a selection of mono and multi-color uLED displays. The gesture-based touch controls should be supported for both Android and iOS.
Vuzix Shield™ is communicated to be the revolutionary leap for enterprise AR smart glasses. Powered by the Snapdragon®XR1 platform, the Vuzix Shield ™ Smart Glasses would have a powerful 8-core CPU, waveguide optics, and miniature microLED (uLED) stereo displays. This lightweight, stylish pair of AR glasses are promised to be an excellent fit for the Metaverse. Vuzix Shield ™ Smart Glasses are subject to country availability and priced at $2,499.99.
Lenovo ThinkReality A3
Lenovo also announced its new Smart Glasses during CES 2021, reporting the device was released on December 1, 2021. In the official Press Release, Lenovo's new ThinkReality A3, was communicated as 'the most versatile enterprise smart glasses ever.' The glasses were promised to break the boundaries of a traditional workspace, designed to be used as a convenient augmented display at home and on the factory floor. The glasses promise to enable users to select their workplace and customize it to suit their physical work location and personal preferences. That way, the user will feel like they've never left the office, which may aid employees in overcoming some of the psychological challenges of the lockdowns and remote work. Lenovo ThinkReality A3 are Qualcomm XR-1 SmartViewer powered lightweight (<130g) AR smart glasses with binocular 1080p resolution displays, 200 nits brightness, and dual fisheye cameras for 6DOF tracking. Equipped with Voice, object & image recognition, and head/gaze tracking, the pair comes at $1499.
Snap Inc. Next Generation of Spectacles
On May 20, 2021, Snap Inc. officially introduced their Next Generation of Spectacles aimed at AR creators, which was shared during the Snap Partner Summit 2021. The lightweight spectacles are built using the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 Platform leveraging 6 DOF (degree of freedom), including hand, surface, and marker tracking, providing a 26.3-degree FOV (field of vision). The spectacles feature a dual 3D waveguide display, 2 RGB cameras, a touchpad, 4 inbuilt microphones, and 2 stereo speakers. The displays dynamically adjust to both indoor and outdoor use. Even though today, Snap Spectacles are not aimed at general consumers, it is clear that they can open the door to unique immersive content creation in the long run. While the AR glasses didn't turn into a product of mass consumption, Snap still has its hopes up for the AR hardware and has recently communicated the desire to integrate AI capabilities in the future.
Meta Ray-Ban Stories
Meta, former Facebook, announced its pair of AR smart glasses in Autumn 2020, a sneak peek of their collaboration with Ray Ban. Communicated initially as a potential new set of AR glasses, the pair was launched on September 9th, 2021. Originally referred to as Facebook Ray-Ban Smart Glasses, now called Meta Ray-Ban Stories, the First-Generation Smart Glasses. Supporting the capture of 30 fps video with 1184 x 1184-pixel and images with 2592 x 1984-pixel resolution and 4GB of storage, Meta Ray-Ban Stories are lightweight (only 49g) smart glasses. With all the excitement around the launch, some sources made us lower the expectations for the device's planned initial AR capabilities. The pair of smart glasses is still a stylish accessory that opens the curtain for future lightweight AR hardware. Meta Ray-Ban Stories prices start at $299.
Rokid AR Glasses
Rokid Air is, without a doubt, one noteworthy pair of AR glasses. Launched in September 2021, the global product shipment exceeded 30,000, with a successful Kickstarter public funding campaign. The lightweight device comes with 1920x1080 per eye resolution, 43° Field of vision (FOV), 120" virtual screen, 75Hz refresh rate, 4K Display, voice control AI, adjustable focus, HD directional speaker, as well as 2 noise-canceling microphones. Rokid has positioned its device in comparison with Hololens 2, Nreal Light, and Mad Gaze Glow Plus, making competition with their better price, device weight, refresh rate, and diopter adjustment. The Rokid Air was met with great excitement from the backer's community, raising 100% of the pledged goal in just an hour, while the funding campaign continued until August 12th. Priced at $319,99, Rokid Air has set an excellent stage for the Rokid's next next-generation pair, the Rokid Max AR glasses, available for pre-order since March 21, 2023. Rokid Max AR glasses will have 1920x1080p resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and around 50° Field of vision (FOV), with prices starting at $439.
With more devices coming to the market, we can expect a rapid increase in demand for both business and consumer-aimed AR experiences. Baby steps back in 2021 have accelerated progressively in 2023, enhancing our reality of tomorrow and into the future.
Article Last Edited 25 May 2023.