Despite a lot of recent interest, I’m still not convinced that Virtual Reality (VR) or its less-glamorous cousin Augmented Reality (AR) are going to become mainstream tech ‘things’ any time soon. I’m basing this purely on the fact that neither of them caught on in the 90s.

Thankfully Sony has reinforced my thoughts by unveiling its own pair of (rather ugly) AR glasses, ready for the “mass market” (read: 10 countries) next month.

The SmartEyeGlass SED-E1 Developer Edition uses “holographic waveguide technology” in 3mm AR lenses. Oh, and the rather awkwardly-named gadget will cost around $840, which is just less than R10 000 at today’s exchange rate. So not a good start, then.

With SmartEyeGlass, Sony is going directly up against Microsoft’s HoloLens (which looks incredible), as well as Google’s yet-to-be revamped Glass which has had its own share of ups and downs. The search giant decided to stop selling Glass to the general public in January 2015, but continues to work on the concept.

Of the two technologies, AR does seem to be a popular focus for headset developers, so perhaps this headset has a chance. Sony definitely seems to think it’s on to something, even if their initial design isn’t exactly beautiful.

“SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 is equipped with a wide range of sensor technologies, including a CMOS image sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor, and microphone. SmartEyeglass utilises these features, together with GPS location information obtained from the connected smartphone, to provide the user with information that is tailored for the user’s current task or scenario,” Sony explained.

Sony also mentioned that when SmartEyeGlass releases, a number of apps will be made available from the Google Play store, like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, RSS, and voice control.

[Source – Sony]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.