Mar 12, 2018 | By Benedict

High-end audio equipment company Bose is developing augmented reality (AR) sunglasses. The company has demonstrated a 3D printed prototype that can provide audio information about local points of interest, and expects to launch the Bose AR product this summer.

The concept of wearable everyday AR glasses or “smart glasses” is a fun one: imagine looking around you and getting up-to-date digital information about everything you see. Unfortunately, the reality of walking downtown with the impossibly nerdy Google Glass on your face can seem about as appealing as walking into work naked. They're not the most stylish accessories.

A new AR sunglasses prototype from audio specialist Bose might not be as high-tech as Google Glass, but it’s certainly a lot more discreet. That’s because the high-tech specs provide audio information rather than visual information about the surrounding environment, whispering things in your ear rather than projecting them in front of your eyes.

In a way, that makes them a bit less exciting than mega-futuristic products like Google Glass, but probably much more appealing for non-specialist tasks such as looking at landmarks on holiday.

A 3D printed prototoype demonstrated at SXSW in Austin contained two narrow directional speakers built into each arm, which provide sound to the wearer but are virtually silent to passers-by. Of course, Bose is an expert when it comes to audio technology, so these tiny speakers are of the highest quality.

In terms of AR functionality, the 3D printed sunglasses simply require the wearer to look at a given landmark and then double tap either arm with a finger. This prompts the smart glasses to gather audio information about the specified location, providing information such as restaurant reviews.

The augmented reality glasses are able to accurately know what they are looking at using a combination of motion sensors and GPS tracking. These sensors can also be used to give motion commands, such as nodding or shaking your head to accept or decline a phone call. All in all, the glasses look like a pretty smart piece of kit.

Bose is reportedly investing $50 million in a new AR infrastructure, getting companies like ASICS Studio, Strava, TripAdvisor, TuneIn, and Yelp on board to provide the actual information about locations around the world.

The Bose AR glasses—which presumably won’t be 3D printed when it comes to production—are expected to arrive this summer, while an SDK will also be released for developers interested in working with the technology.

The smart glasses will be Bluetooth-compatible for calls, Siri, or Google Assistant, and will use a Bose AR-enabled app that aggregates information, sending relevant, real-time content to a user’s ears.

“Bose AR represents a new kind of augmented reality— one that’s made for anyone and every day,” said John Gordon, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Division at Bose. “It places audio in your surroundings, not digital images, so you can focus on the amazing world around you— rather than a tiny display.

“It knows which way you’re facing, and can instantly connect that place and time with endless possibilities for travel, learning, music, and more. And it can be added to products and apps we already use and love, removing some of the big obstacles that have kept AR on the sidelines.”

Not interested in forking out for high-end AR glasses? Try 3D printing your own smart glasses with a Raspberry Pi instead.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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