SANTA CLARA, Calif. — At least a half dozen headset makers hope to leapfrog Google's Project Glass. They are adopting the latest mobile processors and stereo 3D displays to deliver images covering a full field of vision that users can control with hand gestures and head motions.
They demonstrated their latest prototypes running everything from games to factory-floor maintenance apps at the Augmented World Expo here. While the cool factor was high, the quality of the display images and navigation techniques varied widely with many vendors on the brink of shipping their first commercial products.
The sector "is growing out of its kludgy, games-oriented, novelty stage -- people are starting to notice this is a way to solve industrial problems," said Theo Goguely, a product manager for Atheer Labs in Mountain View, Calif., a two-year-old headset maker starting its first pilot projects with potential customers.
"Glasses will be a big form factor, but the question is how do you interact with it -- what's the user interface?" Goguely asked.
The show included demos of the latest components and software platforms delivering so-called augmented reality experiences. They used tablets and smartphones to show everything from games linked cereal boxes to options for new cars on a dealer's lot.
Ivo Yves Vieira, chief executive of LusoSpace (Lisbon) a satellite electronics maker, shows Lisplay, a proof of concept for an 800x600 pixel headset. The company is seeking $2 million to make a full color active-matrix version of its monochrome, passive OLED.
The following pages provide a tour of some of the new headsets, components, and the show.