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An overview of all smart glasses in 2021/22

VR Expert smartglasses overview thumbnail

In this article you can find a complete overview of all smart glasses that are currently available on the market in 2021 and 2022. It’s important to know the difference between the smart glasses and to tailor your use case to which smart glass you pick. In this report you’ll find the advantages and disadvantages of the smart glasses and a conclusion at the end. 

What are smart glasses?

Smart glasses are monocular wearable devices that are able to present information to the user. This could be a text message, the name of an incoming phone call or turn-by-turn directions. Smart glasses primarily have a head-mounted ‘heads-up-display’ (HUD) on which the 2D information is displayed.

What are the differences between smart glasses and AR headsets?

Smart glasses usually only present static 2D information as an addition to your field of vision.

VR Expert - Smartglass vs AR headset - Realwear HMT-1 vs Microsoft Hololens 2

The binocular AR headsets go much further and present 3D information in a way that it feels like it actually exists in your reality. The monocular smart glasses are relatively light in weight and therefore more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time.

Also read: Overview AR Headsets 2021

VR Expert - Realwear HMT-1 use case in industry

The use cases of smart glasses

  • Remote expert assistance
  • Warehousing
  • Repair & Maintenance
  • Assembling
  • Training

The main benefits of smart glasses

  • Improves Access to Information
  • Enables Collaboration Across Geographies
  • Enhances Worker Safety
  • Hands-free operations
  • Increases Expert Accessibility
  • Boosts Productivity and Efficiency
  • Reduces Costs

Controlling smart glasses

There are different ways to control AR glasses, each with advantages and disadvantages. A few of the headsets can also be controlled in more than one way. 

Touchpad or buttons

Buttons or touchpads are already widely used in devices other than smart glasses. The advantage therefore is that this method is fast and intuitive for the user. The downside is that this method is not hands free.

Voice

Voice control is a popular method because the user always has his hands free. It is possible to give commands to start an app, to navigate or, for example, to take photos.  

Controller

Controllers offer more control options than buttons or touchpads. The advantage of controllers is that they are specifically made for glasses and the software is optimized for them. The disadvantage is that the user does not have his hands free to perform certain tasks.

Smartphone

Smartphones can also be used to control glasses. The advantage is that you can send many different instructions via your phone. The downside is that the user needs to have their phone with them at all times.

All smart glasses 2021

Apple

Apple is an American multinational company that develops its own products and software. According to Bloomberg, Apple’s first AR glasses will be released in 2023 at the earliest. Apple’s target audience is mainly high-end consumers. The glasses may come with its own app store called ‘rOS’ where the “r” may stand for reality. 

Apple Glass

VR Expert - Apple Glass concept image

The Apple Glass is likely to be released in 2023 and would cost around €500 without subscription fees, according to Bloomberg. These glasses should be connected to the user’s Iphone. The glasses could be synchronized with the iPhone to show notifications and short instructions. 

Bosch

Bosch is a German multinational company that was founded in 1886. They mainly focus on 4 things: mobility, consumer goods, industrial technology and energy/construction technology. During the annual technology fair CES in 2020, Bosch announced that they are working on smartglasses. 

Bosch Smartglass

VR Expert - Bosch smartglasses

Little is known about the Bosch Smartglass, the target group would probably be high-end consumers. Most smart glasses use a screen or reflect an image onto the lens of the glasses to show the user information. The prototype of the Bosch Smartglass uses ‘Light Drive’. This technology uses a small micro-electromechanical mirror array to focus a trio of lasers on a transparent mirror, which then reflects the light into the user’s eye and paints an image directly on the user’s retina. 

This technology is not yet used by any other smartglass manufacturer. The Light Drive technology means optical transparency with little light sensitivity, ensuring that the vision is always crystal clear and annoying internal reflections are no longer a problem. This way it’s easier on the user’s eyes to see properly and to reduce strain.

Epson

Epson is a Japanese electronics company that started in 1942. In 2011 they unveiled their first smart glass, the Moverio BT-100. Epson currently has 7 different smartglasses on the market, catering to the business market. 

MOVERIO BT-40S

VR Expert - Epison Moverio BT-40 S Smartglass sideview

The Epson MOVERIO BT-40S came on the market in February 2021 for €1,100 and is intended for commercial applications. The binocular all-in-one smartglass has a Moverio Intelligent controller. According to Epson, these glasses are a versatile display solution that gives visitors an immersive experience.

Moverio BT-40

The Epson MOVERIO BT-40 is available for €779 and is intended to serve as a second monitor. The binocular smartglass is intended for business users on the go, to create a second display for privacy. The glasses can be connected to compatible smartphones, tablets and computers via USB-C. 

Technical specifications:

Screen: 1920p x 1080p
FOV: 34°
Control: Computer
Number of screens: 2
Weight: 170 g

MOVERIO BT-35E

VR Expert - Moverio BT 35E Smartglasses

The Epson MOVERIO BT-35E launched in 2018 for €669 and is mainly used by healthcare, engineering and piloting commercial drones. The binocular smartglass can be controlled with a controller. The glasses are mainly used to show images from an external camera to the user. 

Pros Cons
  • The MOVERIO BT-35E can be used in combination with glasses
  • Has sun visors for areas with bright light
  • Only to be used with a controller and an external device

MOVERIO BT-300

VR Expert - MOVERIO BT-300

The Epson MOVERIO BT-300 came out in 2017 for €680. The glasses are specially designed for DJI drone drivers, but can also be connected to other devices through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Miracast. Because the separate controller contains a large battery, the AR glasses can be used for 6 hours.

Pros Cons
  • Large battery
  • Runs on open source software
  • Outdated specs

Technical specifications:

Cpu: Intel Atom x5 1.44GHz Quad Core
Ram: 2 GB
Battery: 6 hours
Display: 1280p x 720p
FOV: 23°
Controls: Computer, controller
Number of screens: 2
Weight: 119 g

MOVERIO BT-350

VR Expert - MOVERIO BT-350 Smartglasses with controller

The MOVERIO BT-350 was released in 2017 for €1.260. The glasses are designed for commercial use and for cultural and entertainment venues. The glasses are controlled with the Quint Controller, which makes it easy for museums, for example, to have the glasses used by many visitors. 

Pros Cons
  • Quint Controller
  • Accessories range
  • Outdated specs

Technical specs:

Cpu: Intel Atom x5 1.44GHz Quad Core
Ram: 2GB
Battery: 6 hours
Display: 1280p x 720p
FOV: 23°
Controls: Controller
Number of screens: 2
Weight: 119 g

MOVERIO PRO BT-2000

VR Expert - MOVERIO PRO BT-2000 smartglass with controller

The MOVERIO PRO BT-2000 came out in 2016 for €2.500. The AR glass is intended for remote expertise, and due to its sturdy design and IP54 certification, it can be used under difficult conditions. The glasses can be controlled with the included controller or voice control.

Pros Cons
  • IP54 certification
  • Outdated specs

Technical specs:

CPU: TI OMAP 4460 1.2 GHz Dual Core
Ram: 1 GB
Battery: 4 hours
Display: 960 x 540p
FOV: 23°
Controls: Controller
Number of screens: 2
Weight: 290 g

MOVERIO PRO BT-2200

VR Expert - MOVERIO PRO BT-2200 Smartglass with helmet and controller

The MOVERIO PRO BT-2200 came in 2019 and is for sale for €2.000. The difference to its predecessor the BT-2000 is that it has hot swappable batteries for a longer run time. The AR glasses also have Epson IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) with which the glasses can accurately detect the movement of employees. 

Pros Cons
  • IP54 certification
  • No valuable upgrades compared to the BT-2000

Technical specs:

CPU: TI OMAP 4460 1.2 GHz Dual Core
Ram: 1 GB
Battery: 4 hours
Display: 960p x 540p
FOV: 23°
Control: Controller
Number of screens: 2
Weight: 265 g

Facebook

The American platform Facebook was founded in 2004 and since 2018 they are working on their first portable AR glasses with their own software. Facebook will probably focus on consumers, so that the Facebook platform can be integrated into the software of the glasses.

Project Aria

VR Expert - Facebook Project Aria

Project Aria is an AR glass prototype that Facebook uses for two things:

  • Collect data for AI training.
  • Assessing public perception and concern about the technology.

The prototype therefore has several sensors that record information and send it to a server. The collected data will be used to train AR sensing systems, which will allow AR glasses to understand the world around them to provide the user with useful information.

Google

Google released their very first smartglass in 2013 in a closed pilot run, from 2014 the smart glasses also became available to consumers. The glasses were taken off the market in 2015 amid criticism and concerns that it violated privacy laws. In 2017, Google made its comeback on the market with the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2.

Google Glass

VR Expert - Google Glass

The Google Glass came on the market in 2014 for €1.250 and was mainly used by business customers. The monocular glasses have a small screen for notifications and simple information. Applications such as Google Maps and Gmail could be used directly with the Google Glass. 

At the time, the headset was used in various industries:

  • In healthcare to visualize medical data of patients by scanning barcodes. In addition, surgeons also used the glasses for remote expertise.
  • At airports, the glasses are used by ground staff to better assist passengers with check-in and communicate with foreign languages ​​via real-time translation.
Pros Cons
  • Advanced speech recognition technology.
  • Pre-installed Google apps
  • Battery life
  • Glass wearers cannot use the Google Glass

Technical specifications:

CPU: Texas Instruments OMAP 440 SoC
Ram: 1 GB
Battery: 2-3 hours
Display: 640 x 360p
Controls : Touchpad, voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 36 g without frame

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

VR Expert - Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

The Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 came on the market in 2017 for €1.439. The difference with the first version is that it has better specifications. This version can also be placed on different shaped frames. The headset is used in these industries:

  • In logistics, the glasses are already being used successfully to increase the efficiency of deliverers and sorting centers. 
  • The glasses are used to help assemble complex items in industrial settings.
  • In aviation, the glasses are being used atBoeing and have succesfully reduced production, repair time and errors by 25%. 
Pros Cons
  • Advanced speech recognition technology
  • Built-in apps
  • Glass wearers can not use the Google Glass Enterprise
  • Photos and videos can only be shared with Google+ users

Technical specifications:

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1
Ram: 3 GB
Battery: 2-3 hours indication
Screen: 640 x 360p
Camera: 8 MP, 1080p 30fps
Controls: Touchpad, voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 46 grams without frame

IRISTICK

The belgian company IRISTICK develops and manufactures smart glasses for industry.

IRISTICK.H1

VR Expert - IRISTICK H.1 front view

The IRISTICK.H1 was released in 2021 for €2.459.

With the zoom lens on one side, the display on the other and the 16MrealwearP dual camera in the middle, the Iristick H1 is one of the most balanced smart glasses on the market. The display can be interchanged between the right and left eye providing comfort for all. 

Further, the Iristick H1 has been clearly made for the industry setting as it is PPE compatible, IP 67 certified and is drop proof. The Iristick can be used both with voice commands and with a touch pad and voice controls; however, when working in a loud environment it is advisable to use the touchpad. 

Technical specifications:

Battery: 5h
Display: 428 x 240
Camera: 16 MP, 1080p 30fps
FOV: 77°
Controls: Voice control, touch pad
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 168 g

RealWear

RealWear, Inc. is an American company that was founded in 2015. They produced two smart glasses. They themselves call their products a head-mounted wearable Android-class tablet computer. RealWear mainly focuses on industrial and construction companies, where the smartglasses are used in various harsh conditions.

RealWear HMT-1

VR Expert - RealWear HMT-1 without headband

 

The RealWear HMT-1 came on the market in 2020 for €1.877 and is mainly used by the industrial sector. The glasses have a monocular display and can only be controlled via voice control, which also works in loud workplaces. Due to its rugged design and hands-free control capabilities, the headset is ideal for remote expertise for employees working in harsh environments. 

Pros Cons
  • Excellent voice control
  • Robust design
  • Android operating system
  • Relatively small viewing angle
  • Voice control only

Technical specifications:

Cpu: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Ram: 2 GB
Battery: 5-6 hours
Screen: 854 x 480p
FOV: 20°
Control: Voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 380 g

RealWear HMT-1Z1

VR Expert - RealWear HMT-1Z1 without workband

The RealWear HMT-1Z1 is a monocular smartglass available for €4.500 and is mainly used by the industrial sector. In addition to an IP66 certificate, the HMT-1Z1 also has an ATEX Zone 1 and CSA C1/D1 certificate, making the headset also suitable in potentially explosive areas. In addition, the 1Z1 has a larger battery than the HMT-1, making it significantly heavier. 

This model is used, for example, for: 

  • Oil and gas work in chemical plants, 
  • Refueling aircrafts, 
  • Delivery of industrial gas 
  • Maintenance of electric car batteries
Pros Cons
  • Excellent voice control
  • Very robust design
  • Battery life
  • Relatively small field of view
  • Weight
  • Only voice control

Technical specifications:

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Ram: 2 GB
Battery: 5-6 hours indication
Screen: 854 x 480p
FOV: 20°
Control: Voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 430 g

Toshiba

Toshiba is a Japanese multinational that was founded in 1875. Since 2018, Toshiba has a smartglass on the market that is intended for the business customer.

DynaEdge AR100

VR Expert - Toshiba DynaEdge AR100

The DynaEdge AR100 was released in 2018 for the business market for €1.230. The glasses are intended for:

  • Remote expertise
  • Workflow instructions
  • Real-time data registration

The glasses come with the DynaEdge DE-100 which is the brain and controller of the headset. In addition, the glasses can also be controlled with buttons or voice control. The Windows 10 operating system is intuitive to use by employees.

Pros Cons
  • Windows 10 operating system
  • Can be used with glasses
  • Must be connected to the computer

Technical specifications:

CPU: Intel Pentium 4406y, Intel Core m5-6757, Intel Core m7-6y75
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 515
Ram: up to 16 GB
Screen: 1280p x 720p
Controls: Buttons, touchpad
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 47 g

Vuzix

Vuzix is ​​an American company that was founded in 1997. In 2000 they released the VFX1 headset, which could play stereoscopic 3D 360° videos. Like RealWear, Vuzix focuses on companies where employees work in harsh conditions.

Vuzix teamed up with the US military for its tactical gear. They currently have 3 products on the market.  

Vuzix M4000

VR Expert - Vuzix M4000

The Vuzix M4000 came on the market in 2020 for €2.325 and is mainly used in manufacturing, field service and warehouse logistics. The headset has a transparent head-up display. It can be controlled with buttons, touchpad and speech. In addition, the glasses have an IP67 certification, making them drop, water and dust resistant. 

Pros Cons
  • 4K camera
  • Drop, water, and dust resistant
  • Multiple control options
  • Transparent head-up display
  • Price
  • Not suitable for glass wearers

Technical specifications:

CPU: Qualcomm XR1
Ram: 6 GB
Battery: 2-3 hours indication
Screen: 854 x 480p
FOV: 28°
Controls: Touchpad, voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 222 g

Vuzix M400

VR Expert Vuzix M400

The Vuzix M400 came on the market in 2019 for €1.705 and is mainly used by the business market. The difference with the M4000 is that the M400 does not have a transparent head-up display, but does have the same functionality as its more expensive brother. 

Pros Cons
  • 4K camera
  • Drop, water, and dust resistant
  • Multiple controls
  • Price
  • Not suitable for glass wearers
  • No transparent head-up display 

Technical specifications:

CPU: Qualcomm XR1
Ram: 6 GB
Battery: 2-3 hours indication
Screen: 640 x 360p
FOV: 16.8°
Controls: Touchpad, voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 180 g

Vuzix Blade Upgraded

 

VR Expert Vuzix Blade Upgraded

The Vuzix Blade Upgraded came on the market in 2020 for $800 and is mainly used in the business market. The glasses have a monocular transparent display, on which concise information and notifications can be shown. 

The camera can record full HD and the glasses can be controlled via a touchpad and voice control. The headset also has an ANSI Z87.1 certification, making it ideal for remote expertise where safety glasses are mandatory. The Vuzix Blade Upgraded must be connected to a smartphone in order to use the smart features of the glasses.

Pros Cons
  • Price
  • Comfortable
  • UV eye protection
  • No IP certification
  • Smartphone required

Technical specs:

Cpu: Quad Core ARM
Ram: 1 GB
Memory: 8 GB
Battery: 4-8 hours indication
Display: 640 x 360p
FOV: 19°
Controls: Touchpad, voice control
Number of screens: 1
Weight: 90 g

Conclusion

The augmented reality market took another big step in 2021. Many new products were released and brand new companies came to light alongside existing companies. This provides invigorating competition and gives another boost to the AR headset market. Even though consumer versions are increasingly coming to market, the majority of AR headsets are still enterprise-focused.

Depending on what use cases are important in your business, different devices will come into question. With such a large selection, it is therefore understandably often not easy to keep track and find the right AR headset.

We at VR Expert can advise you on this matter and support you in your hardware decision. Please contact us at info@vr-expert.com and arrange a consultation appointment with one of our experts.

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