BARCELONA - Sony first unveiled its SmartEyeglass wearable back at last year's IFA in Berlin, but we haven't gotten a good taste of how the device will function in the real world until now. At its Developer World booth at MWC 2015, Sony showcased a range of augmented reality apps that work with SmartEyeglass to enhance both work and play. After sampling the apps myself, I'm excited by their potential.
Many of the apps on display were workplace-oriented, such as a program from Virgin Atlantic that allows aircraft workers to quickly report mechanical problems by snapping pictures with the SmartEyeglass' camera. I also tested a seperate app for the SmartEyeglass Attach wearable (which adds a tiny heads-up display to your existing glasses), which showed how those working in server maintenance can see their supervisor or get a glance at vital server info by glancing at the device's display.
Among the more lifestyle-oriented apps I tried was Spotpedia, which uses Bluetooth to provide heads-up information on landmarks as you pass them. To simulate this, Sony's booth featured separate Bluetooth chips for Barcelona landmarks such as Guell Park or Sagrada Familia. Once I activated each chip, I was able to read a small blurb about each destination in small, green text boxes that appeared just below my direct field of view. The Localive app for SmartEyeglass works similarly, but it pulls up tweets about what is happening in your area.
Sekaiphone is an automatic translation app, and makes for one of the most exciting use cases for SmartEyeglass I've seen so far. When a booth representative spoke into the connected smartphone in Japanese, his words were automatically translated to English and appeared right in front of my eyes. This allowed me to easily have a full conversation with someone I otherwise wouldn't have been able to, and could make SmartEyeglass especially handy to have in foreign countries.
After testing the range of apps on display at Sony's MWC booth, I'm more confident in SmartEyeglass' ability to deliver satisfying augmented reality experiences. The $840 developer version of the device launches on March 10, which means we'll hopefully see even more ways Sony's new wearable can enrich the real world.
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