Intel has taken the game of augmented reality to next level with its Vaunt Smart Glasses. If you are planning to buy the glasses, you would want to know everything about it. Here is a review of the Smart Glasses from Intel.
What you will see?
Vaunt Smart Glasses
Vaunt is Augmented Reality (AR) smart glasses from Intel. These are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. The last semi-mainstream smart glasses were Google Glass. These started a new era for smart glasses and people were waiting for more. Unlike other smart glasses that rely on outward-facing cameras and motion or touch controls, Vaunt does not have any of these functions. Intel’s New Design Group (NDG) is using a combination of voice commands, AI, head gestures, and lasers, thus making Vaunt hands-free. Just like Google, Vaunt launched an “early access program” for developers. However, Intel is attempting to change our lives to accommodate the head-worn display. Nowadays watches can connect to the internet and phones can turn us into cartoon characters in real-time. A successful set of smart glasses should deliver similar benefits.
You will have to get Vaunt customized to your face for it to function effectively. This requires measuring your pupillary distance. It’s a common procedure that everybody who wears eyeglasses is acquainted with. Moreover, this is critical for the display to show in the correct location in your range of vision. Following that, a software programmer programs your measurements into a set of prototype spectacles. Using a Vaunt display is unlike any other experience. In the lower right corner of your visual field, it presents a rectangle of red text and icons. When you don’t look down in that way, though, the display is gone. The first thing that comes to notice is that the frames are out of alignment. That, it turns out, is a feature, not a bug.
The Vaunt display is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. When you want it, it’s there, and when you don’t, it’s gone. When the display switches or a notification comes in, there are no beeps or vibrations. However, you will notice because the movement is visible in your peripheral vision. It’s easy to dismiss things while they’re static, but your eye is drawn to movement. Moreover, it disappears if you don’t look at it. Also, the notification does not display right in your line of sight. It’s too intrusive to have an LED display that’s always in your peripheral vision. According to the company, they’re aiming for a battery life of at least 18 hours. Although, they’ll still work as conventional glasses when the power goes out. You do not need to charge them throughout the day.
Within less than an hour, it will become second nature to look over at it to make it appear or to ignore it and concentrate on the person you are conversing with. Nobody can tell if there is a display there at all, except a small red shimmer on the lens itself at very particular angles.
How it works?
People around you can see if you’re reading notifications or viewing YouTube during a meeting if you’re wearing most AR glasses. Except for the wearer, the interface is nearly undetectable with Vaunt. Vaunt employs a low-intensity laser to reflect your alerts directly into the retina of your right eye. However, it is just in your peripheral vision, so it doesn’t affect your eyesight. Similar to a smartwatch, the Vaunt can connect with both iOS and Android devices. You can rapidly glance into the bottom right corner of your vision to check for news and texts without having to glance at your phone. The laser is a VCSEL, which is the same laser that the iPhone X. iPhone X uses to scan your face for Animoji and Face ID. Intel’s NDG claims this is too weak to cause any retinal damage.
The laser reflects off the right lens, illuminating the retina with 400 x 150-pixel pictures. Because the image sits directly on your eye, near or far-sighted people can see the text as clearly as someone with 20/20 vision. However, you will still need prescription lenses in Vaunt to see clearly outside. The laser is located on the right, while the Bluetooth, CPU, and other technology are located on the left. Thus, distributing the weight evenly. The frames weigh around 50 grams, which is slightly more than conventional frames.
According to NDG’s head of products, with the glasses, you can ask Alexa to look up for anything. A calendar pop-up will remind you of important dates approaching. Alternatively, you may stare at a restaurant and receive a Yelp pop-up with reviews based on your GPS position and direction of travel. A built-in accelerometer will allow Vaunt’s AI to track small head movements and respond to particular commands. Intel may also include built-in microphones for use with voice assistants. Moreover, according to NDG, their AI would send you all kinds of “ambient, contextual information” based on your location and directed gaze without having to ask for it. Intel was also developing a first-party companion app. Although most apps will most likely operate on linked smart devices rather than on your glasses directly.
Vaunt is essentially a method for projecting a small heads-up display into your peripheral vision. It can display simple messages such as directions or alerts. It can connect to both Android and iPhone through Bluetooth and functions similarly to a smartwatch. A system of electronics rests on the right stem of the glasses. This is designed to power an extremely low-powered laser, technically a VCSEL. A red monochrome image of 400 x 150 pixels is projected onto a holographic reflector on the right lens of the glasses by that laser. The image is then reflected directly onto the retina in the rear of your eyeball. But you don’t need to worry about the laser, as it’s so low-power that it’s at the very bottom end of a spectrum.
The gear is fully unique, right down to the silicon that powers Vaunt, designed by Intel. It uses power-efficient light sources, MEMS devices for painting an image. Also, to reflect the right wavelengths back to your eye, it uses a holographic grading built in the lens. The image is referred to as retinal projection because it is ‘painted’ into the back of your retina. The image it makes is always in focus because it shines right on the back of your retina. It has an accelerometer and a compass, allowing it to detect simple head gestures and determine which way you’re looking. Future variants may include a microphone so that it may be utilized with an intelligent assistant like Alexa.
How you can use it?
Vaunt Smart Glasses will offload the majority of the work to your phone, just like a smartwatch or even a Fitbit does. It will support a limited number of apps, function with both iPhones and Android phones, and will eventually integrate with voice assistants. With the smart glasses, you will not need to do a lot of pressing, swiping and tapping. Vaunt, he claims, would be better at displaying your travel information when your hands are full or showing you your grocery list while pushing the cart. This is not meant to be a replacement for other devices. Rather, it’s supposed to be a new type of display that can be used in ways that other screens can’t. With Intel’s “early access program”, developers can begin experimenting with emerging technologies.
What happened to Vaunt?
When Google Glass was released a few years ago, it caused quite a stir. However, it received quite a lot of mixed reactions from the public. Some people even thought it to be too scary. As a result, Google terminated Glass in 2015. When Intel unveiled the Vaunt smart glasses, it aimed to avoid making the same error as Google. However, even Intel could not continue in the game. The Vaunt project was closed soon after that. The Vaunt didn’t resemble Google Glass or any of the subsequently augmented reality glasses. They were merely a pair of rather big spectacles.
To display visuals, Google Glass employed a tiny prism above the wearer’s eye. The Vaunt projected images into the user’s retina using a small laser projector. It projected a 400×150 pixel image into the eye. Although, it was just red and monochrome rather than full color. Thus, Vaunt’s ability to send information was limited. However, it worked great for text-based data such as phone messages and weather notifications. Vaunt’s image was created with the intention of being unobtrusive. When you looked toward the corner of your vision where the display showed, the laser would only impact your retina. Thus, you may go about your day without being distracted by distracting pictures.
NDG was reportedly shuttered due to a lack of investment. Intel did not disclose detailed specifics and blamed it on “market conditions”. That indicates a market dynamic in which “no one wants to acquire pricey face computers.” Although Google Glass died too soon, its successor, “Glass Enterprise,” is still available. They’re also used by some firms. Intel’s retina imaging technology may have made more sense as a business solution, and it may be used in other products in the future. The Vaunt, however, is no longer functional.
After the cancellation of Google Glass, Vaunt Smart Glasses became new hope in the market. It promised a different setup from Google Glass, however, it never got to see the light of the day. According to the company, Vaunt was a combination of voice commands, AI, head gestures, and lasers. With the help of a small laser projector, it projected the images directly into the retina. Moreover, there are no beeps or vibrations for any notification. You will simply notice a movement visible in your peripheral vision. Although, if you ignore it, the notification will be dismissed. It was designed to give you ambient, contextual information. You could simply look at a poster and get all the information about the movie. Or even get pop-ups about important dates or ask the Voice Assistant to look up something on the internet.
However, it is heartbreaking that the project could not continue and maybe the technology could be used in future adventures. What is your opinion about smart glasses? Tell us in the comments section below.