Epson America this morning announced that it's now shipping the Android-powered Moverio BT-100 wearable display. Yes. Android-powered grandma glasses. On your melon.
I got to take these guys for a spin
last fall in January. They pretty much feel how you'd think they feel -- a bit bulky. Get over that, and having the equivalent of an 80-inch display projected in front of your peepers is a pretty cool, if not entirely practical, idea.
With the glasses and earbuds over and in their respective orifices, you hold in your hand a controller (about the size of an old-school, original iPod) that connects to the glasses via a wire. The top half of the controller is a trackpad, for moving a cursor around the heads-up display. There are the usual Android buttons as well, and a directional-pad if that's how you prefer to navigate the menus. There's also a button to toggle between 2D and 3D modes.
So how'd it work? Look, it's a novelty, to be sure. But it's also one that was a bit surprising. It takes a minute to get used to the idea of video that close to your eyes. But even the 3D video we watched caused less strain than when we've tried it on smartphones. Another cool effect of the glasses is that you can remove the opaque lenses and actually see through the UI. Not that you're going to want to be walking and playing anytime soon, but the idea is that you lose some of the claustrophobia. The world is still the world.
The user interface we saw back in January
October was very much in prototype mode, so it was a bit janky, a mix of stock Android and something custom. But it also was very familiar and easy to find our way around.
Do you want one of these? It's certainly a fun idea, but you're going to need to have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, as it's going for a suggested retail price of $699. But think of the possibilities. Temple Run. At 80 inches. Angry Birds IN YOUR FACE. Or, you know, (warning: Shameless plug ahead) the all new Android Central Forums app.
We've got more pics and video after the break.
Edit: Oh, how time blends together. Saw this guy in January, not October. Carry on.
Epson America Ships World’s First Android-Based See-Through Wearable Display
EPSON Moverio BT-100 See-Through Display Offers New Way to Interact with 2D and 3D Digital Content and Innovative Platform for Android-based App Development
LONG BEACH, Calif. — March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Epson America, Inc. today announced its newest and most innovative display technology, EPSON® Moverio™ BT-100, the world’s first Android-based see-through wearable display. Using micro-projection technology and an Android-powered track-pad controller, Moverio allows users to view streaming video, experience side-by-side 3D content and enjoy downloaded digital content on a virtual 80-inch perceived screen¹ projected into the user’s real environment. Featuring built-in Wi-Fi® connectivity² and nearly six hours of rechargeable battery life³, Moverio offers an innovative, portable way to interact with content from virtually any location. Users can also easily access downloaded content via the microSDHC card slot (4GB card included) and built-in 1GB internal user storage, even without wireless network access.
“As the world leader in visual imaging technology, Epson continually strives to set industry benchmarks for quality and innovation,” said Anna Jen, director of New Business Development, Epson America. “The Moverio BT-100 see-through display is poised to significantly impact not only the way people interact with content for personal enjoyment, but the development of content for future applications – from virtual training platforms to a new way to interact with 3D CAD environments to visualizing 3D design renderings.”
Enhanced Mobility and New Content Interaction
Moverio BT-100 leverages Epson’s leadership in LCD technology and visual imaging to project an 80-inch perceived “floating” display into the user’s environment for browsing the web, playing games, watching videos and interacting with content privately, while still allowing the user to experience and see the real world. Using Moverio’s Android-powered controller with Wi-Fi connectivity, users can watch streaming video from sites such as YouTube or Vimeo or manage, download and interact with apps and content from nearly anywhere. Additional features of the Android-powered controller include:
- Enhanced Mobility: Rechargeable battery offers nearly six hours of battery life
- Removable Memory: Built-in card slot supports up to 32GB microSDHC card
- Download and Go: Transfer content, games and apps to the included 4GB microSDHC card or internal 1GB of user storage on the controller
- Adobe® Flash® 11 Support: Stream videos from popular television websites featuring Flash 11 content and content rich Flash-enabled websites
- Big Sound: Dolby® Mobile surround sound delivered to personal earphones or Moverio’s detachable earphones (included in-box)
- Innovative Navigation: Touch-enabled track pad and navigational buttons enable easy interaction of content
- Immersive 3D: Enjoy side-by-side 3D content like never before
- Android Development Support
- Moverio BT-100 offers a unique platform for technology enthusiasts and developers to create new Android-based applications and side-by-side 3D content for this innovative see-through display technology. To help support application and content development for Moverio BT-100, Epson is offering a range of programs for developers residing in the United States. For additional information on the Moverio BT-100 Android developer program, please visit www.epson.com/moverio.
Pricing and Availability
The EPSON Moverio BT-100 ($699.99 MSRP) is now available through Epson’s own retail site www.epsonstore.com, select resellers and by pre-order on Amazon.com.
Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader dedicated to exceeding the vision of customers worldwide through its compact, energy-saving, high-precision technologies, with a product line-up ranging from printers and 3LCD projectors for enterprise and the home, to sensors and other microdevices. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 78,000 employees in 99 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates. To learn more about Epson, please visit: http://global.epson.com.
You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (http://facebook.com/EpsonAmerica), Twitter (http://twitter.com/EpsonAmerica and http://twitter.com/EpsonEducation) and YouTube (http://youtube.com/EpsonTV).
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Note: Specifications are subject to change without notice. EPSON is a registered trademark and Moverio is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. Android is a trademark of Google Inc., Dolby and Dolby Mobile are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories, Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of Wi-Fi Alliance, and Adobe and Flash are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.
¹ Perceived image is equivalent to viewing an 80” image from 16.4 feet (5 meters) away
² Supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n; level of performance subject to the range of the router being used
³ Battery life may vary considerably depending on such factors as applications used, device settings (for example, Wi-Fi on or off, brightness setting), and temperature