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I’ve seen the way forward for AR with my very own eyes, and it’s not far off

4 min read

OPINION: The AR market is heating up with Apple’s rumoured AR/VR headset simply days away from reveal, however what about true AR glasses?

Whereas the idea would possibly seem to be it’s nonetheless far off, I lately went eyes-on with prototype AR glasses with Lumus lightwave show tech that paints a really completely different image – and an organization exec additionally teased that we may be donning AR glasses ahead of anticipated. 

Lumus is already an enormous participant within the AR show sport working with the US Army on AR tech to be used in fighter jets, however the firm is gearing up for a shopper AR revolution over the subsequent few years. The corporate has been round since 2000 and has been engaged on shows for good glasses for years, with every iteration of the prototype tech getting slimmer whereas delivering higher-quality photos. 

That onerous work has culminated within the Z-Lens, the corporate’s utterly clear AR show that, if issues go as deliberate, must be utilized in upcoming AR glasses. The Z-Lens is especially spectacular because it manages to retain all the benefits of the earlier Maximus show tech whereas shrinking the projector module by greater than 50% – a requirement for light-weight consumer-focused AR glasses. 

After I pried David Goldman, Lumus’ VP of Advertising, for extra info as to who Lumus is partnering with, he wouldn’t say – however he did tease that it’s one of many huge gamers within the tech market. Apple? Most likely not contemplating its AR glasses plans are nonetheless rumoured to be early in improvement. However Meta? Hmmm… That one sounds believable, particularly given Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to begin testing AR glasses with inner workers in 2024 earlier than a public launch in 2027. 

Lumus Z Lens render
Lumus Z Lens render

Sadly the latest Z-Lens glasses prototype suffered technical points whereas in transit from the US to the UK and wasn’t accessible for an eyes-on demo, however I did check out its Maximus predecessor with very related tech, albeit in a barely chunkier type. Reader, I used to be very impressed. 

It’s a very completely different expertise to the show utilized in primary first-gen AR glasses like Oppo’s idea AR glasses that I used at MWC 2023. Whereas the glasses labored utterly untethered, the micro-LED show was simply seen to not solely me however everybody else in my neighborhood, and it might solely show graphics in a Fallout-like neon inexperienced.

The Maximus prototype, however, delivered photos you’d count on from a normal show, with an abundance of color and element inside these tiny utterly clear 2K shows – and Goldman claims that the decision can simply as simply be upped to 4K relying on the producers wants, so it might look even higher by the point it involves market. 

I noticed a handful of photos, movies and demos on the headset together with an impressively detailed ship floating in entrance of my very eyes. There was additionally a text-based picture that, whereas static throughout my demo, can be very helpful for anybody doing a presentation or studying off an autocue. 

“However Lewis, you’ll have the ability to inform that there are shows inside within the lenses!” I hear you cry. I might normally agree with you – the show of the Oppo Air Glass 2 was very apparent to see – however Lumus has carried out what I can solely describe as manufacturing wizardry to utterly conceal the shows and the sunshine being shone on them from the side-mounted projectors, making for a very inconspicuous show expertise. 

Mild is normally an enormous subject for AR glasses – it’s why the likes of the Nreal Air include particular gentle blockers to be used outdoor – however that’s not the case for Lumus’ tech that may attain an unbelievable 3,000nits, brighter than even probably the most premium smartphones round in 2023. 

The comfortable lodge assembly room I used to be sitting in was flooded with brilliant daylight by the big home windows close by, however I had no subject in any way with legibility, although brightness needed to be adjusted manually at this level within the prototyping course of. 

Regardless, that’s an enormous step ahead, bringing us nearer to glasses that’ll work even in brilliant direct daylight. 

Lumus Z Lens render
Lumus Z Lens render

At this level I ought to most likely reiterate that Lumus is solely targeted on its wavelength show tech. It’s as much as different producers to give you the general design and different options to be included, be that wi-fi connectivity, contact controls or built-in cameras, so the reference design of the glasses I used had been precisely that – reference. 

I’d count on the ultimate consequence to look a lot slimmer than the marginally cumbersome, hardware-connected prototype glasses I used throughout my eyes-on expertise. 

The million-dollar query is, when will we begin seeing these sorts of AR glasses hit the market? In line with David Goldman, we’re not too far off. 

Whereas he couldn’t give any concrete launch date particulars about upcoming headsets throughout my hands-on session, he appeared very assured that the primary shopper AR glasses would hit the market someday in late 2024, or early 2025 on the newest. Does he know one thing I don’t? Greater than doubtless… 

Are you enthusiastic about the way forward for true AR glasses, or do you assume it’s only a fad? Let me know on Twitter.

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