Transparency

The view from Inside Epson's Moverio smart glasses program

What the Oculus VR Acquisition Means for Smart Glasses

The tech world was buzzing over Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR a few weeks ago, especially among those interested in the smart glasses industry.

First, my congratulations go out to my friends at Oculus. They’ve built a tremendous platform and have managed the company very well to get where they are today.

For Epson and its development partners and customers, news of the acquisition has created a lot of excitement. Countless developers and companies have asked me about the Oculus acquisition and how our technology compares to theirs and Google Glass. I think the buzz is giving people a framework for how to think about the industry, and is bringing additional insight and clarity to the space. For Epson, that means people are gaining a better understanding of the Moverio BT-200 platform’s strength in augmented reality.

What many people haven’t realized yet is that specific use cases are determined by how each platform is built. For instance, Google Glass has a singular/monocular, transparent “look up” display, which is great for social media notifications, transcribing data, and taking photos and videos, but is not necessarily the best platform for AR overlays or VR gaming.

The Oculus Rift platform, on the other hand, is binocular and opaque, meaning that the user is completely immersed in the digitally created VR content, and cannot see or interact with the real-world.

Epson’s Moverio BT-200 smart glasses are binocular and transparent, allowing users to see and interact with digital content and their real-world surroundings. With the Moverio BT-200, content is at the center of the user’s field of view. Because the content is transparent, users can project 3D overlays on top of real objects, enabling an endless number of augmented reality app development opportunities. Some of the best early use cases are being found in logistics, training, wellness, education and consumer gaming.

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The acquisition is a validation ($2 billion dollars’ worth!) that VR and AR platforms will play a major role in the future of computing. While Oculus is strictly a VR play, the potential for additional innovative technologies is evident, with Zuckerberg himself mentioning AR during his conference call with Facebook investors. I believe the acquisition will inspire even more developers outside of gaming to explore the exciting possibilities of VR and AR smart glasses.

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