News: Olympus Muscles in on Google Glass Territory with Enterprise AR Smartglasses

Olympus Muscles in on Google Glass Territory with Enterprise AR Smartglasses

When it comes to augmented reality smartglasses, for now, it's still a mostly enterprise world, since the form and function of most are more acceptable on a job site versus your local cafe, and the still high price tags are far more palatable to major companies rather than individuals.

Now, with the launch of the EyeTrek INSIGHT EI-10 Smart Glasses, Olympus adds a recognizable name from the digital imaging industry to the enterprise segment of AR hardware arena.

Similar in appearance and form factor to Google Glass Enterprise Edition and Vuzix M300, the EI-10 consists of a monocular OLED display with a diagonal 13-degree field of view positioned in front of the user's right eye with a touch-sensitive bar to navigate the user interface.

Instead of being mounted on its own frames, the lightweight EI-10 is designed to be clipped onto a pair safety glasses or prescription frames, with Rochester Optical offering frames with an integrated mounting system.

Image by Olympus/YouTube

Given its reputation as an imaging company, it's a bit of a surprise that Olympus packed the EI-10 with a camera sensor capable of a meager 1,992 x 1,216 pixel resolution, or approximately 2.4 megapixels. The Vuzix M300, meanwhile, is capable of 10 megapixel still photos and 1080p video.

The EI-10 runs on a TI OMAP 4470 processor fueled by a 300 mAh battery (about the size used in the Moto 360 smartwatch) with 8 GB storage. It packs Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as an accelerometer, gyro, and magnetic field sensors.

Image by Olympus/YouTube

Olympus tapped Japanese software company WESTUNITIS to provide the software for the EI-10. The company's Remote Maintenance System (RMS) delivers video communications, file sharing, and on-screen annotations that are expected to be used for guidance in logistics work and general field service functions.

There's also a software development kit offered by Olympus, for companies looking to build their own applications for the device. As expected, Android serves as the operating system, which will make it a bit easier for current Android developers to embrace the device. However, Olympus has also saddled the device with the ancient Android version 4.2.2; by comparison, the Vuzix M300 ships with Android 6.0.

The enterprise market for smartglasses is reminiscent of the nascent smartphone landscape of the early-to-mid-2000s before Apple upended the market with the iPhone. At that time, smartphones were mostly the province of businesspeople, though BlackBerry and Palm devices did occasionally sneak into the pockets of consumers.

As such, the Olympus EyeTrek INSIGHT EI-10 is likely not for you, the average consumer, particularly at its $1,499.99 price tag. But, if history is any indicator, consider it another step towards a commercial option that will eventually be sitting on your face — for the right price.

Cover image via Olympus America

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