More than what meets the eye

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 25, 2012 19:22 hrs

It’s a product that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. And of all the manufacturers in the world, it is Epson that has stepped up to launch the world’s first wearable Android powered glasses, Epson Moverio BT-100. To be honest, these specs will definitely put you on the weirdo list if worn in public but the experience will also “wow” many. These glasses beam video right into your eyes in 2D and 3D, giving the impression of a big screen without anyone else seeing what you are watching.

Let’s start with the good points. We loved that the projected video appears over the real world, giving user the ability to watch the content and still see what is going on around. In simple words, Moverio doesn’t completely obscure the vision (the dark outer visor is semi-transparent) and thus allows users to see their surroundings. This way the head-mounted display device is perfect for bringing the concept of augmented reality to life.

The unit consists of the glasses that have attached ear buds that render Dolby Digital audio. Also attached to the glasses is a pocket-sized control unit. The control unit has a touch sensitive trackpad for navigating the OS controls while wearing the glasses. Epson’s BT-100 runs on the Google Android 2.2, features 1GB of storage and comes with a 4GB microSDHC card (expandable all the way to 32GB). It can be run on WiFi and lasts up to 4 hours on a single battery charge.

There’s a preinstalled app for viewing pictures and videos, along with a music player and a web browser. We had no difficulty using the browser on these glasses coupled with the built in keyboard and touchpad controls. As far as image quality is concerned, you don’t get the sharpest image on the screen but users will be able to handle a good half and hour of viewing before the device starts to weigh down on your face. The output display is a 320-inch image that’s produced using Epson's micro-projection technology. For best results, Moverio should be used in dim light (like while travelling on an aircraft etc), and when used in bright surroundings you will see a much faded image quality. Epson has also packed in 3-D video capabilities on the glasses although the experience is not as immersive as one would expect.

What we didn’t like was the chunky design of these glasses with a series of mismatching plastic pieces that simply make it an unattractive contraption. Not to mention that the glasses are heavy and wearing them for prolonged periods of time is an uncomfortable exercise.

There's no arguing that you will project the image of being a futurist geek with these wearable interactive displays, but Epson's Moverio glasses are not a practical answer for everyday use.

The product is available in major retail outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore and Hyderabad.

Cost: Rs 42,900

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