Kopin, one of the biggest AR players out there, has revealed a new smartglass display. But unlike similar head-up displays that do all the heavy lifting on the head, Kopin's Golden-i Infinity glasses outsource most of the work to a paired smartphone.
The result is a smaller device that can be attached to a pair of glasses or other type of headwear. But think of this more as an assisted reality gadget in the vein of Google Glass rather than "full" augmented reality. On the back of the arm is a USB-C port for connecting it to an Android or Windows device, the display of which will be mirrored on Kopin's WVGA (854x480 resolution) microdisplay.
What's interesting here is Kopin's approach to a tricky technology. The arm itself weighs just 1.5 ounces as it hasn't got to house an SoC, battery or most of the other components that would otherwise weigh down an all-in-one AR headset.
The Golden-i Infinity has gesture controls - I was able to move my head around to highlight different apps on the paired Android phone - but it also incorporates Kopin's Whisper Voice technology which (you guessed it) lets you control it with your voice. I was able to open the camera app and order it to take a picture with the integrated 13 MP camera. I could even open Netflix if I wanted to.
"I really believe in the transformation from the handheld computer, which is the phone, to a handsfree wearable computer is going to take some time," Kopin CEO John Fan told us. "People try to jump right away to put all the features on this wearable computer. I think it's too fast."
The Golden-i is aimed at industry professionals, so it's not really a "consumer" device, but it's interesting to see Kopin take the route of offloading most of the work to the smartphone. At the same show (Augmented World Expo) Qualcomm announced its new XR chip designed specifically for all-in-one AR and VR headsets - marking out a different approach to what Kopin is doing here.
The Golden-i will cost $899 and be available in the third quarter of this year.
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