Everyone is talking about VR and rightly so. The first Oculus Rifts will be landing on doorsteps in a few weeks time, the HTC Vive sold an impressive 15,000 units in less than 10 minutes when pre-orders opened up this week, and PlayStation VR, well, we still don’t know when that’s coming. But we’re pretty sure it’ll be at some point this year.
But don’t forget about AR. There’s been some pretty big news on the augmented reality front this week with Microsoft’s HoloLens developer edition finally up for a grabs if you happen to have $3,000 lying about.
Explained: The difference between VR and AR
AR rival Meta also decided it was time to show off its pretty formidable looking Meta 2 headset that promises to include a ass-kicking HoloLens features. There continues to be plenty of buzz around what Magic Leap is going to bring to the AR table too.
Both of the headsets are however tough to get hold off right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the real and virtual worlds mixed into one. Here’s a piece of AR hardware to try now, one that’s not quite there yet and another that definitely needs some work.
WEAR – Epson Moverio BT-300
After the clunky affair that was the BT-200 (and the 100), Epson has clearly listened to user feedback returning with a sleeker, more polished pair of AR smart glasses you can actually buy. The BT-300 is lighter than its predecessor and is not quite as geeky-looking either.
It now users a significantly sharper 720p HD resolution OLED display, and now packs a 5-megapixel front facing camera. It’s also powered by a more impressive Intel Atom quad core processor with Android Lollipop covering the software.
While Epson’s smart glasses have always been quite business-focused, it has teased the prospect of using them in the gym to race in virtual environments and is working with drone makers DJi so you can control flights straight from your specs.
NEARLY THERE – HoloLens
Microsoft’s holographic augmented reality headset might not be entering homes just yet, but everything we’ve seen so far is enough to get us excited about the prospect of living with it.
Unlike those high profile VR headsets landing this year, HoloLens is a standalone device, so there’s no need to hook it up to a smartphone or a computer to run it.
Aside from working to make sure it’s compatible with Windows 10 apps like Skype and Xbox Live, Microsoft is already making a big software push to ensure there’s plenty to play with.
You’ll be able to do things like build physical 3D objects from holograms, play games, interact with holograms and one day, it even wants to change the way you watch live sporting events. Just don’t keep us waiting too long for the consumer version Microsoft.
SQUARE – Google Glass
It could be only one. The product that Google regrets letting the public get their hands on and has been trying to erase its existence ever since.
We know first gen devices are never perfect, but it’s fair to say that Google Glass just wasn’t ready for the masses yet. Putting it on the faces of celebrities and catwalk models wasn’t enough to hide away the fact that this was a tech product that looked like a tech product.
It was ugly, expensive, didn’t really have a lot of great uses and Glassholes were getting beaten up because people didn’t really like being secretly filmed when they were out having a quiet drink.
Glass is not dead though. An Enterprise edition is seemingly on its way this year along with more consumer versions. With designer and godfather of the iPod Tony Fadell in charge of bringing Glass back to life, there’s every chance it will be better second time around.