Intel has recently unveiled a prototype of a new kind of augmented reality smart glasses, one that is very different from what other companies have previously introduced to the market. Intel’s new smart glasses, called the Vaunt, looks like a regular pair of spectacles. Unlike the Google Glass, the Vaunt does not make its wearer look like a techno cyborg nor does it attract any unwanted attention. The stealthy wearable tech was apparently designed to look like regular prescription glasses, which means that it doesn’t have any protruding cameras or other attachments. The device also doesn’t have any visible screens mounted on its frame. Intel apparently achieved this feat by utilizing a new form of laser projection that reflects monochrome images and text directly into the user’s retina. The images and text are completely invisible to onlookers, which means that using the device will not be that intrusive during social situations.
According to an in-depth report regarding the new smart wearable published by the Verge, Intel has apparently developed a new projection laser based on VCSEL (Vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) technology. The ultra low powered laser reportedly does not have any hazardous effects on the user’s eye and Intel even mentioned that it doesn’t have to seek any form of certification for its application. The laser projects several beams of light into a proprietary holographic surface embedded into the glass, which is then bounced directly into the user’s retina. The projection distance is so precise that users will have to get their unique interpupillary distance measured to properly have the smart glasses fitted.
The design director for Intel’s New Devices Group, Mark Eastwood, explained that the images and text that are seen by the device’s users are totally non-obtrusive. LED displays on current AR devices that are located very close to a user’s eyeball and directly in their peripheral vision are too invasive, which meant that Intel engineers had to change the way they projected their content. Due to its position within a user’s field of view, which is approximately 15 degrees below the line of sight, Intel claims that the Vaunt Glasses’ projected display completely disappears when a user chooses not to look at it directly.
While the Vaunt smart glasses is still currently a prototype, it has been shown to work with both Android and iOS. The device also works with voice commands, which means that there doesn’t need to be any fiddling with awkwardly positioned controls to utilize its functions. Intel also plans to integrate head gestures in future versions. Prototypes of the smart wearables are scheduled to be sent to developers later this year and Intel is confident that there should be a myriad of possible applications and software that will be able to fully take advantage the device’s features.