Intel Vaunt Smart Glasses Show How Far AR Has Come
On Monday, The Verge posted an exclusive, in-depth look at a new piece of hardware from Intel that is sure to impress, but definitely creates far more questions than it does answers.
Intel, as The Verge reports, is working on a pair of smart glasses—called Vaunt—that is far an away the best looking pair of tech glasses that we’ve seen, albeit from a couple of cool angles on a well-shot video (below). The glasses, which use retinal projection to put a display directly on the wearer’s eyeball, looks like a normal pair of glasses by removing the obvious cameras, LED lights, and other obnoxiously techie looking components that manufacturers have put on these on-face products to date. In facf, you won’t even find some awkward touch panel on the side of the glasses that you have to interact with, no screens to distract you when you don’t need the additional digital details there for you to see.
Vaunt’s projection technology, allows the information to remain smartly out of view unless the user looks exactly where the display is lined up with their retina.
The product comes from Intel’s New Devices Group, which is working to bring the company’s technology directly to consumers through new devices like Vaunt. In their conversation with The Verge, Intel pointed out that, of course the products themselves have a strategy around bringing in revenue and the like. But, as with other data-driven tech companies, Intel is interested in playing a bigger role in helping consumers achieve their day-to-day goals in life, while collecting information from them—not health-monitoring-related stuff, though, since these glasses won’t have those kinds of sensors. Rather, they’ll take things like search data, location information, and more, and live on Intel’s servers where the data immediately becomes valuable from a partnership/advertising perspective. And, as The Verge notes, Intel is known more for its creative partnerships when it comes to things like product development, so it’s not that farfetched to imagine another much more retail focused eyewear company stepping in to help bring this product to consumers.
The Vaunt Tech
Back to the tech behind this, though.
Like most smart eyewear, the Vaunt will rely heavily on the smartphone for its information. According to The Verge’s teardown, the product will be supported by both iPhone and Android devices and will be able to integrate with voice assistants at some point. But how the consumer will actually interact with the glasses remains a little unclear. The video showed head gestures to dismiss notifications (like a nod to the left or right). A lot of the interaction, and information for that matter, will likely be up to the developers who work with the platform.
Credit: The Verge
Intel, in a similar fashion to Google with its Glass project, plans to open Vaunt to the developer community to see what they can come up with. Some examples that were mentioned in the report include things like presenting relevant information about the person you’re on the phone with (birthday, etc.) while you’re actually talking with them, or helping you navigate a grocery store and presenting your shopping list while walking the aisles, or turn by turn navigation directions while walking or driving.
Whatever the result with Vaunt, the one obstacle the product faces—much like every other iteration that we’ve seen in the smart glasses space—is convincing consumers that they need to adopt a piece of technology that sits on their face. To date, we’ve seen tech companies successfully get onto consumers’ wrists with smartwatches and fitness trackers. It might take some time, but I do believe we’ll see these smart glasses take off. One of the simplest paths there is by developing a product that doesn’t make the user look like a cyborg, and Intel, with the Vaunt, may be the closest company to achieving that goal