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Video Epson Tries to One-up Google Glass with Moverio-Goggles (Video) 65

In the world of head-worn displays, Google Glass seems to lately get most of the praise as well as most of the dirty looks, though it's far from alone. At this year's DroidCon in London, I talked with Epson Europe product manager Marc-Antoine Godfroid about a very different kind of head-worn display: the Moverio BT-100. Epson's display is running a Google operating system, but it isn't competing with Glass, at least not directly. The hardware in this case is a relatively high-definition stereo display meant for immersion (whether that means information overlays or watching recorded video) hooked to an external control unit running Android, rather than the sparer, information-dashboard, all-in-one approach of Glass. One other big difference: Epson's stereo, full-color headset is cheaper than Glass, and available now. Hit the link below to see what it looks like.

Marc-Antoine: So this is the Epson Moverio BT-100, which is a binocular see-through display. So here we have a dark shade, but actually the display, as you can see, is totally transparent. So the principle is that we have two projectors in this side of the unit that projects an image _____00:19 that you can find in the transparent parts and this image is reflected to the user eyes via these two semi-reflective mirrors that we have just in front of the eyes.

So basically this mirror is going to reflect the image creatively on this side of the device. But you can still see through the mirror, so ambient light can go through the display and this is why you can still see through the see-through display of the product. So when you wear Moverio, you will see a huge 80-inch display floating right in front of your eyes. So the display resolution is quarter of HD, so 960 x 540.

Tim: One in each eye?

Marc-Antoine: Sorry?

Tim: In each eye, it’s the same as this one?

Marc-Antoine: Any?

Tim: In each eye?

Interviewer: Oh yes, exactly, yeah, yeah, totally, because basically we are going to project three images that is in front of you is going to be only one screen, so one huge screen. And so on this display, it is powered by the pocket-held controller here that is running Android. So basically inside you have the battery and the CPU. This is where you have the Wi-Fi module. So this is how you operate the unit as well. So you have a check pad here for tactile control. So basically it is a really familiar user interface. Basically if you know to use a smartphone or a tablet, you will know how to use this product.

Tim: It is very different from using a typical tablet?

Marc-Antoine: Yeah, but this form factor is really different and this is where the innovation is. So the good thing is that basically this product is totally hands-free because when you wear it, so you have this display fitting here and you don’t have to hold your device to see what is going on. So this is really, really interesting for many applications.

So first this product, it’s a really a good entertainment device. So the good thing versus smartphone and tablet is that the display is really bigger. It’s like a smartphone is between 5 inch now; a tablet is around 7 inch to 10 inch; here you see an 80-inch screen from 5 meters, and the farther you look, the bigger the image looks. So basically if you look at 20 meters away, the display will look like 320-inch screen. So like a cinema screen. It is really amazing. And the good thing as well is that since you have your hands free, like I was saying, you can really enjoy your content in any position, like for instance, watching a movie, playing video game and watching on the roof.

Tim: What sort of input devices are there actually integrated with the device? Is there camera?

Marc-Antoine: No, no, no. The product doesn’t have a camera.

Tim: But it does have motion sensors?

Marc-Antoine: Neither. No, no, no. The _____03:20 version of the Moverio BT-100 doesn’t fit your camera or motion sensors. But we are offering a NavBot for developers if they are interested to start evaluating this kind of features, so they can easily connect that development platform and add a camera to this product to see where the technology is going because this device is very interesting for entertainment, but the magic comes from the application which can be for the device. So basically this is a standout Android device, developers can use the classic Android SDK to build application, so it is really easy for them to develop the application but they can take advantage of the amazing see-through display we have created with the product.

Tim: Can you talk about why it is running in Android 2.2?

Marc-Antoine: Yeah, because the product was launched in late 2011, so Epson has been really innovative with the technology because it is quite a long time ago now already while variable displays and variable technology _____04:20 all around but we have been really one of the first mover on the market and this is a very complex technology, so we are working out to make it smaller, lighter and to improve its features. But it takes time. So at the moment, it is still running Android 2.2, but like I said, developers can still really start developing application easily and also they can use this video input ball to see what they could do with the device.

Tim: There are a lot of applications that run on 2.2.

Marc-Antoine: Yeah, exactly.

Tim: Pretty big library.

Marc-Antoine: Exactly. Exactly. Really we have some people that have been doing already some great things. So for instance _____05:02 we are showcasing a museum application running directly on Android 2.2 and showing a little bit how this kind of product and especially ours can really disrupt all the industries that we know today talking about that might have already been disrupted by smartphones and tablets, because of the form factor and the fact that it is hands-free and you have this display. You can really imagine many, many applications, so whatever it’s for, entertainment, gaming, museums, education, architecture, whatever you think of, you can really find an application. But it’s really more suited for this kind of display which is much more natural way to consume information and content.

Tim: By putting the battery and the CPU, I guess, in a box like this, that means you have more space to put energy storage, how long can you actually be able to use the device?

Marc-Antoine: So we have a really good battery life of six hours. So we can really support in terms of usage and it is really important for this kind of product whose aim is really to remain wireless and to allow you to enjoy your content anytime anywhere and also really important to have this big battery life, especially also because people come up with really great idea about augmented reality thanks to the see-through display that we are offering, which is really a natural platform for this technology because we have this big display just in front of your eyes. And you can make it transparent. So basically you can just see the wall through the transparent lenses of the product and just overlay this additional information, this additional _____06:43 really a good platform for augmented reality and as it is really the next wave in apps development, so we are waiting for developers to really start thinking of how they can port the application on this kind of product and especially on ours.

Tim: How much does it cost to get started?

Marc-Antoine: So, the product goes for £429 or €499 depending on where you live. So it is a really competitive price because we are the only company in the world that are offering this bigger clarity display at this price. You can try other products but they cost €1000. So it is really amazing what our engineers did with the product.

Tim: And for being binocularly colored and adaptable to lot of circumstances, it seems like it is a pretty good price for the device.

Marc-Antoine: Yeah, yeah, it is. We really think it’s really interesting, so many people can afford it and many people can benefit from these features, so we are really excited by this product. As we said, we are working on the future, so we expect really to see some really cool things from Epson and this is really an amazing product.

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Epson Tries to One-up Google Glass with Moverio-Goggles (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • we don't say oculus rift is competing with glass, why would we say this is?

  • Epson? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 )

    The maker of mediocre printers and scanners? Suddenly has a competitive product and infrastructure to Google Glass?

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      The maker of mediocre printers and scanners? Suddenly has a competitive product and infrastructure to Google Glass?

      They're repurposing their old dot matrix printer technology - it brings new meaning to stabbing your eyes with hot pins.

    • The down shot is when the battery expires it'll likely be cheaper to purchase a completely new one, similar to their printer line.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The maker of mediocre printers and scanners? Suddenly has a competitive product and infrastructure to Google Glass?

      They also make displays...like projectors.

  • But no HTML5 video tag.

  • I own these.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @05:51PM (#45589061)

    They are not that great.
    1. They are heavy. They feel light when holding them in your hand. One your face they are quite heavy.
    2. They don't work well with glasses. They can balance on glasses. Which works OK for a bit, but the weight distribution causes them to be uncomfortable.
    3. They run Android 2.3.
    4. Did I mention they were heavy?

  • != google glasses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krelvin ( 771644 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:04PM (#45589229)

    Lets see, no camera, no motion sensors, HUGE and heavy... don't see where anyone would be comparing this to Google Glass.

    • How many media people compare random tech equipment to something remotely the same shape from apple?
      Standard click-bait.

      For once, Google is the one getting the free name-drop.

    • This is nothing like Google Glass, or the Oculus Rift. But it is a direct competitor for Sony's HMZ head-mounted personal displays, only a little cheaper & crappier.

  • "news"?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by nazsco ( 695026 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:08PM (#45589277) Journal

    i know the level here is low recently... but an old product is news? with an hour long commercial introduction before the no-infomation video?!?!

    here is the fucking product page link http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Moverio/Home.do [epson.com] (with no information such as file type, etc)

    and here is the $500 amazon page selling it with fucking reviews http://www.amazon.com/Epson-V11H423020-Moverio-See-Through-Wearable/dp/B007ORN0LS [amazon.com]

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      Yeah... This product existed before Glass was even announced I'm fairly certain.

      It's also stuck running Froyo...

      I've seen this device in person (someone had one at the Big Android BBQ last year) and also now own Glass - it doesn't even remotely compare to Glass.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My favorite review was Bijoy, the Doctor of SCIENCE, yelling at me.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:09PM (#45589305) Journal
    The Epson version of glass would come in with a teasingly low price, but it will include only a nominal "cartridge" and replacement cartridges would be priced somewhere north of 7999$. But you would get a c 10$ off coupon if you have Office Depot card.
  • The pheromones are a smell to behold, I hear.

  • Unlike Google, at least this product was made available to the general public on its release, not to a select few.

    Then again, has Google ever not applied the Stanford snobbery of the invite system on a product?

  • Please provide a link for downloading your video content, so that we don't have to suffer under this Flash player.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All they need is sort of position sensor, and it'll be better than Oculus or Google glasses for argumentation of the reality (assuming there is already 3D model of surrounding). Because it's transparent and has 3D in front of your eyes. I can definitely see the real life application for such a device. They can even mount it on helmet and add stereo cameras for real time 3d scanning in dynamic environment, and double the price. Imagine you repairing a car and "see" the internals, for example. You look at th

  • will be Tekwar?

  • This is really a VR headset for watching movies, playing games, etc. It's not designed for the same applications Google Glass is designed for. If anything, this is a competitor to devices such as Oculus Rift, not Google Glass.
  • The video (Score:2, Troll)

    by P-niiice ( 1703362 )
    I want to personally slip cyanide into all of their fancy coffee cups and THEN watch the video.
  • 00:19 via the light guides
    03:20 standard version ... s/doesn’t fit your/doesn't feature/
    04:20 s/while variable displays and variable technology/while wearable displays and wearable technology now took up
    05:02 at DroidCon (guessing)
    06:43 view that you just want, so, a
    s/we are the only company in the world/we are the only currently in the world/

  • Yet another HMD with a really crappy resolution (960x540).

    Why is 1920x1080 (per eye) still apparently too much to expect these days?

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Yet another HMD with a really crappy resolution (960x540).

      This. As soon as I heard the resolution, my interest dropped to zero, then through the floor, left a hole somewhere in the basement and is probably on its way to the center of the earth right now.

      Smartphone screens have more resolution than that these days. Wake me when they've doubled it.

  • yes, for sale on amazon for $466,
    http://www.amazon.com/Epson-V11H423020-Moverio-See-Through-Wearable/dp/B007ORN0LS [amazon.com]

    2 stars from 5 reviews.

    these are nothing like google glass. this is like saying "i know you wanted a new bicycle, but this fruit cup is for sale NOW and at a lower cost!"

  • I tried the product on the NAB show 2012. It felt rather gimicky at the time and gave the sensation of staring down a blurry corridor. Even without having moving imagery on the device, it was very much a distraction and something that should be used only in safe surroundings (don't walk in traffic with them). It is a very different beast from Google Glass, but I can see some industrial applications where it would work and where Glass would not. It might also be good for watching movies while safely strapped

  • The good news is that these will only cost $70.

    The bad news is that the lenses are used up after 2 months, and cost $65 to replace.

  • They're huge for one. They need to figure out how to scale them down a bit. Second, those flimsy cords are going to be an issue over time. With limited regular use I can see them breaking requiring a service interval.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito