It’s 2019. Where are our smart glasses?!


(techno music) – [Narrator] For years the
tech world has been fantasizing about replacing your phone with a pair of electronic glasses. You might remember the hype around Google Glass back in 2013. But you might also remember that people weren’t exactly thrilled by the idea. In fact, they were pretty creeped out. And a lot of people today, think of Glass as a failed experiment. But Google didn’t
actually give up on Glass. In fact, earlier this year,
it’s parent company Alphabet announced a revamp Glass headset and said it was no longer
in experiment at all. It’s now a full fledged product. Meanwhile, Facebook and Apple
are interested in building augmented reality glasses. And AR start-ups like Magic Leap are getting huge investments. So why don’t you see people
wearing them on the street? Well, the reality of AR is a lot more nuance than the fantasy. To see where these smart
glasses live in the real world, we need to look at the big picture. (techno music) The term AR glasses or
AR headsets usually means something that overlays
images onto the real world. As opposed to virtual reality, which completely changes
what you’re seeing. On one end of the spectrum,
you’re got products like Microsoft Hololens which
produce detailed 3D objects that look like they’re
actually sitting in real space. These incorporate tracking cameras, an advanced optics tech, but they’re often bulky and expensive. On the other, you’ve got simpler devices like Google Glass. Which can look much more
like normal glasses, but often just provide
a flat visual overlay. And some products split the difference ending up looking like bulky sunglasses. Tech companies and pop
culture spend a lot of time speculating about how AR glasses will change everyday life. You could replace your
TV with a virtual screen, for instance. Or hang out with a holographic
friend in your living room. Or see your entire world covered by invasive estopim advertising. But whether you thing these
ideas are cool or creepy, they’ve all got one thing in common. They still haven’t happened. So why did Google announce a new Glass? And while we’re at it,
why is the US Army giving Microsoft 480 million dollars
for Hololens headsets? It’s 2019 and we keep hearing about AR, but we don’t see these
glasses on the street. There are some pretty obvious reasons to not wear AR glasses everywhere. A lot of the options are
uncomfortable or expensive. And most of them have a
limited field of view, so they’re more like
looking through a window. Then, totally changing
your view of the world. AR glasses with cameras could enable a kind of nearly invisible surveillance. Especially when you add a technology like facial recognition. And things that block
your eyes are often just fundamentally alienating to other people. So most AR companies
don’t think of glasses as the new smart phone, at least not yet. They’re content with
smaller and they’re focusing on specific context
where there’re very clear benefits that outweigh the costs. Microsoft, for example,
only sold around 50 thousand Hololens headsets in it’s first two years. And it’s said, it’s
happy with these levels. These days Alphabet isn’t
trying to sell glass headsets like pixel phones or smart speakers. It calls headsets enterprise editions. Instead of the explorer
edition, it used to pitch as a prototype for consumers. Industrial work is probably
commercial AR’s biggest market. In fact the term “augmented
reality” usually gets credited to a scientist at Boeing
named Thomas Caudell. In the early 90’s Caudell
prototyped a heads-up, see-through, head-mounted
display that would let factory employees get information
about aircraft overlaid on the actual planes. They could see important
points marked on the body, or read documentation about the planes incredibly complex wire harnesses. The idea didn’t pan out
bad, but Boeing started experimenting with
Google Glass to help with harness wiring a couple of decades later. Boeing announced an official
AR glasses test on it’s factory floor last year. Companies like Ussex
have also been selling AR glasses to these markets. The military is another big AR market. It’s been involved in AR for decades. The 80’s Air Force super cockpit program built fighter pilot heads-up displays into some really bulky helmets. In 2018 Microsoft got
that 480 million dollar contract with the US Army. Which could get up to a hundred
thousand hololens headsets. Both for training and for
giving soldiers a heads-up display in live combat. Marines have already used the headsets for training simulations. Unlike with consumer AR
glasses these are situations where people are already
used to surveillance and bulky specialized equipment. You don’t have to convence
a bunch of individual users to each spring for a headset. And the hardware’s used
for specific task where companies can measure their effectiveness. The same goes for other
places where AR is used. Including surgeon’s operating rooms and research institutions. But some companies have
been trying to bridge gap. The National Theatre in London
uses absen overiane glasses for closed captioning. If you’re hard of
hearing you can still see what the actors are saying. Now we’re talking about
using AR headsets for fun. But it’s still limited
to a specific place and a specific use that doesn’t
make other people uncomfortable. Also, it’s the theater so no body should be
looking at you anyway. When companies try to build
all purpose mass headsets things get dicier. Intel and North both designed
sleek, relatively cheap glasses for smart watch
style notifications. But Intel decided that there
wasn’t a big enough market for it’s product right now. And North also faced
lay-offs earlier this year, although it’s still been
rolling out new features. Microsoft used to show-off
consumer hole lens Aps, but these days it’s almost
totally focused on professionals. There’s one big outlier. AR start-up Magic Leap,
which has gotten more than two billion dollars in funding and focuses on mass market entertainment. We’ve seen Magic Leap
goggles in art installations. And it’s hiring developers
to make cool Aps and games. But we’re still waiting
to see if Magic Leap has a sustainable business model. Do people want to wear
AR glasses all the time? Right now the answer is still a clear, no. But are people wearing them? Absolutely, if you know where to look. Hey, thanks for watching. And if you want to see
how a company is designing a new AR headset in 2019
check out our video on Microsoft’s hole lens two. And remember, like and subscribe.

100 thoughts on “It’s 2019. Where are our smart glasses?!

  1. Totally missed the Vuzix Blade, great hardware, great Android integration, very usable for real world applications. I wear mine frequently.

  2. As a legally blind person, I really wish that some of these companies would focus on affordable accessibility tools instead of entertainment…

  3. Talks about the Army using the headset, shows a video of a Sailor using the headset.
    Talks about Marines using the headset for training, shows the Army using the headset.

  4. Am I the only one thinking that Microsoft offering its services through Hololenses to the US Army is really dangerous and messed up.

  5. If it will eventually replace smart phones, how would you casually interact with the content? Would you need a hand remote in your pocket? Is it all eye controlled? Little nods and twists with your neck? Eyebrow movements? Telepathy? Today most people use their smartphone on the bus, while waiting in line, at the library etc, everywhere, without drawing attention. Hand gestures are totally not an option, if you ask me, for everyday casual, in-world use.

  6. Am i the only one that had trouble listening because of the super highpitched pieping all over the place

  7. I feel like they should talk about the most important technological limitations mainly being the small fov , the processing power required for it , perfect seamless tracking and most importantly price. it's not mainstream enough to get enough money to overcome all of these limitations and not mainstream enough for there to be enough developers to make very good robust software. it's kinda like the vr situation but much worse cuz the hardware is sub-par but for extremely high prices that barely anyone can afford, unlike even the early vr headsets that cost 400-1000$

  8. These small and powerless devices have crappy 5 frames per second 144p graphics, and cost like a salary…. no wonder why they are so popular!

  9. As far as showing what Consumer AR could be like in the future, there is one show I've found that actually makes it a center point of the plot(though with some added supernatural elements). It's a little known anime called "Den-noh Coil", and you can stream it on HiDive. Worth checking out if you like near-future sci-fi.

  10. A cool idea might be to use AR in helmets (like iron man now that I think about it) this would provide more room for technology and I reckon there could be a market for it.

  11. You say that. Then all I have to say is "It's 2019, where are the commercial flights to space at?!?". Which was the prediction of when it would happen in the 90s. An orbital flight.

  12. For real though.. where are they? I WANT HOLOGRAMS IN MY FIELD OF VISION ALREADY. 🔥🔥🔥🙏🙏🙏

  13. I would be fine with the Oasis and of course the Technology (yes i know it's there but to expansive and still experimental and not "perfect")

  14. Gosh it's not that complicated. The only reason is that the Mobil computing power we have rn is no where near what AR requires.

  15. This is like hearing about the first motion pictures on the radio. We’re watching this on our phones, unaware of the coming fundamental paradigm shifts coming in the next 20 years.

  16. One day, it’ll be a contact lens style instead of using glass frames compounded with nano tech. One day guys one day.

  17. This video made me start shopping again. Vuzix has some interesting options that don't look too ridiculous. North, I'm surprised at how "normal" their gear looks, in the pictures at least. I'm in the market again…

  18. A great, comprehensive review of a broad spectrum of devices. Very informative about both past and current device innovations.

  19. They should base them off the ARI from Heavy Rain, those things were sooooooo cool even though they looked like bland sunglasses.

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