LAS VEGAS - If you want a high-tech heads-up display but also love your current specs, Sony's "SmartEyeGlass Attach" accessory might be for you. Launching sometime this year for a currently unannounced price, SmartEyeGlass Attach is a module that connects to your existing glasses to bring things like fitness and sports statistics right to your eyeballs.
I tried a prototype of SmartEyeGlass Attach at CES 2015; and despite some gripes, I came away intrigued by its potential to make any glasses smart.
Initially teased last month, SmartEyeGlass Attach is a thick, white rectangular module that snaps onto your own glasses. The module itself houses the device's processor, sensor and camera, with a slim plastic arm that holds a 640 x 400 OLED display over your right eye. SmartEyeGlass Attach adds a slick, futuristic look to your specs, though it's noticeably bulkier than Google Glass.
I wore a pair of sample glasses with a 1.4-ounce Attach tacked on, and found the accessory to be unobtrusively lightweight. After a bit of adjusting, I was able to bring into view the device's display, which relayed various sports and fitness statistics in conjunction with what was happening in a demo video on a TV.
For example, when the first-person video displayed me as someone running down a track, the Attach's screen displayed my current speed and total time elapsed. When the video brought me to a golf course, the display let me know the distance to the hole, and even suggested what club I should use. The demonstration I experienced was heavy on sports and fitness features, but it's easy to imagine Attach providing everyday info such as walking directions or information on nearby attractions.
My one gripe with Attach is that the display never quite felt easy to glance at. It makes sense for the wearable's screen to not distract you from the real world, but the fact that I had to move my eyeballs to see information that is relevant to my current running or biking seems counterintuitive. Still, this was an early prototype of Attach, and hopefully Sony will find a nice balance between visibility and unobtrusiveness for the final model.
Sony doesn't currently know how much SmartEyeGlass Attach will cost consumers, but the company is planning to have the device out sometime this year. Considering that Google Glass costs a hefty $1,500, Attach has an opportunity to prove a more-affordable alternative for anyone who wants to augment reality. Sony also plans to release a developer version of its standalone, Android-based SmartEyeGlasses this March, so we look forward to seeing how both wearables stack up to Google's specs.
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