Epson announces second generation smart glasses, taking the “Explorers” approach

Epson, the company that gained their fame in the printer space, has announced the second generation of their prototype smart glasses. They’re being called the Moverio BT-200, and they’re not cheap. A whopping $700 is the starting point, though it’s worth noting that’s still less than half the cost of Google Glass’s current price tag.

Like Google Glass, the Moverio BT-200 is currently being targeted at enthusiasts, early adopters and developers, as well as those in professional fields where the glasses could improve workflow.

It features your standard augmented reality-centric features such as a front-facing camera, a gyroscope and other motion sensors, and GPS. For projecting the image it uses two micro projectors — one on each side of the unit — to give users an overlay in front of whatever transparent lenses they’re using.

Moverio mentions that the controller unit — that is, the phone-shaped device that attaches to the glasses — runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Not the latest piece of kit out there, but we imagine it will get the job down for most folks’ needs.

The latest controller unit also features Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, so you can hook it up with your smartphone or tablet and pass data back and forth. The controller unit is what you use for your trackpad and navigation around the UI of the BT-200. It might be a tad cumbersome compared to the built-in solution like what’s featured on Google Glass, but anyone thinking of using these likely aren’t too concerned with how stylish they look.

The device ships with two shades to pop on top of the clear shade installed by default. Also worthy to note is that the BT-200 comes with a prescription lens insert. The previous model was built to fit on top of any pair of glasses, but in order to shave the size of the current model down they had to ditch that particular perk. We’re sure many folks won’t be fans of the thought of having to buy another pair of expensive lenses for these, but the option is there if you need it.

moverio bt-200 features

It’s unlikely that the BT-200 will unseat Google Glass when it comes to providing a more attractive and consumer-friendly product, but it should be able to find a nice, cozy spot in niche circles and enterprise.

Luckily there’s no wait for this thing if you want it, and no annoying invite system to worry about: it’s ready and waiting for you at Epson’s site or PreLaunch. The video walkthrough of this interesting piece of tech is sitting up above so carve out a quick few minutes and take a look.

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  • AbbyZFresh

    These things look disgusting. Even worse than Google Glass.

    This is one of those situations where I wish Eric Schmidt didn’t betray Jobs years back. Together, Google and Apple could’ve created the perfect smart glasses in terms of style in perfect sync with the power of Google’s software.

    • spicymeatball

      Google is more than fine without Apple. Google didn’t create these. Epson did, however if they are targeting professionals and surgeons then aesthetics don’t really matter as much as 2 video screens that may work together to create a larger more detailed display. Consumer wise these have a long ways to go.

    • EarlyMon

      Jobs claiming betrayal didn’t make it so.

  • Phaz0n

    DOA…these things are ridiculous.

  • hemipw54

    Goolroids rally with glee, for another Glass device to see.
    If Google gives Glass away free with cellphones, it will sell then.

    • AbbyZFresh

      There’s only so many people in the world that needs another phone to buy considering that Google already commands 80% of the market.

      How about improving the style and price of Glass

  • FreakFly

    Oh great… just want I wanted, dual displays “centered in [my] field of view”

  • JointhePredacons

    If its as crappy as their printers, pass.

  • Fodografes

    Why would you want the display in your field of view? Why not just use your phone/tablet/computer? I like Glass because it’s there when I want it.

  • scoter man1

    I don’t understand this. If they were trying to one up Google Glass, they failed. If they were trying to offer an alternative to the Oculus rift, they also failed.

    tl;dr – they failed

  • ɹǝɯɐb ɔd

    Still way too bulky.