Epson smart glasses are really expensive, and really limited


The primary difference between the two models is that the 35E is vaguely fancier, featuring nose clips and more greatly adjustable arms, as well as a wired controller to help drive the visuals.

The Epson Moverio BT-35E has a controller attached.

The Epson Moverio BT-35E has a controller attached.

One app I tried scanned pictures in an expensive car to provide information about the features. In another, scanning images with the glasses gave a 3D exploded view of the engine, or let you see a miniature model of the car in different colours, as long as you kept starring at the one spot. Overall it made me feel like a very low-tech Iron Man.

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Using the wired controller detracted a little from the experience, but not as much as incredibly low refresh rate of the applications, which gave an overall vibe akin to a 2014 AR experience. (An assistant put this down to the glasses being hot and having been used for a couple of hours).

The apps were designed to be a more immersive way of buying and customising a Mercedes, but having to keep your head looking down at one small spot made it more of a literal pain in the neck.

That said, I don’t think the lacklustre experience was the fault of the glasses. The tiny screen and wired controller didn’t help, but I’m pretty sure this tech is capable of more than what was on offer at the event.

The plan is eventually to make things like customising cars and virtually trying on clothes even more immersive, and it’s going to be interesting to watch how developers tackle that.

While they’re mostly currently used by app developers who are making “immersive” shopping experiences, their other popular use is for flying drones. Currently drone flying regulations in Australia state that you need to have your drone in line of sight at all times, so being able to sync these glasses with your phone to watch what the drone sees while also physically seeing the machine is huge for enthusiasts.

There's a huge range of potential applications developers could build for smart glasses.

There’s a huge range of potential applications developers could build for smart glasses.

What I saw wasn’t impressive, but the potential for this technology is. Frankly, I can’t wait to be able to exchange my dumb glasses for ones that can help me live translate signs, record important moments without taking myself out of them, and play games more immersive than what the vomitron of VR can handle.

These glasses have the potential to do that in a few iterations, with the right support, and the right developers coming up with revolutionary ideas.

Until those developers have those ideas, though, these seem like they’d be pretty good for a game of drones.

Alice is a freelance journalist, producer and presenter.

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