CES 2015 is in full-swing here in Las Vegas, and there’s absolutely no shortage of technology in the giant convention center. Of course, the big tech giants like Intel, Toshiba, and Sony took large portions of the show floor to show off their latest and greatest gadgets in line for this year.
Among their latest TVs and cameras, Sony had their latest version of their SmartEyeGlass wearable tech, the company’s competitor device to Google’s Glass. With a little help from a demonstrator, I put on a pair and did a walk-through to try out their AR and GPS features.
Right off the bat, I was surprised how comfortable they fit on my face. I know from previous doctor appointments that I don’t have a symmetric profile, but Sony’s glasses fit without any problem and never felt too heavy. When the GPS mode is engaged, the user is able to vocally input an address for the glasses to find, and then easily plots a route for you to follow. For the most part, the directions worked without lag (of course it was a pre-designed route around Sony’s floor space), but I did notice that the arrows and pop-up reminders are a bit too large and can sometimes feel more intrusive than helpful. They appear with a translucent hue so it’s easy to see through them, but I can sense this still being problematic in higher-traffic areas, or when using a vehicle.
The glasses also came with a simple AR game akin to the ¨look-and-shoot¨ variety that Google’s Glasses also have. Equipped with a wireless hand remote, the game overlays small ghosts and grim reapers around the surrounding environment. A targeting reticule appears in the center of your vision, and with a few head movements you walk around and vanquish the little baddies before time runs out. I honestly couldn’t see any further use out of the game besides showing off what Sony can do with AR, so I walked away feeling like it was much more of a show gimmick than being of any real help for smart glass users.
There was also a single lens concept called the SmartEyeglass Attach which worked by simply snapping on to almost any pair of eyewear you already own, it was an all-white design that’s supposed to sport many of the same abilities except in a even more compact monocle form.
Sony doesn’t have a price point or date ready to drop for their latest set of SmartEyeGlass, but the spokesperson did confirm they are looking for a 2nd quarter release window. Considering the genre, that’s about as good a committal as we’re likely to get right now.