While Google has put on sale its famous connected glasses (a flash sale of 24 hours), on April 15th in the USA, a small concentrate of technology has been thought and created for nearly ten years near Les Ulis, in the Essonne department in France. The company Laster Technologies presented at the beginning of this year its model "SeeThru"Augmented reality glasses on clear lenses.
Laster Technologies made the bet to manufacture glasses in France, with a concept similar to Google Glass: glasses equipped with an integrated camera, a microphone, a touchpad on one of the temples, mini-screens, and Internet access via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
So the idea is to have information about what you see, instantly, while keeping your hands free.
Incorporating advanced object recognition, tracking and 3D registration algorithms, the glasses allow you to superimpose virtual objects on the real world, offering an unparalleled vision and augmented reality experience.
Resulting from several years of research in collaboration with the Institut d'Optique and the Université Paris Sud, EnhancedViewTM technology makes it possible to display all types of information (texts, images, videos, 3D, etc.) on a simple transparent glass.
The principle of the technology is based on the specific curvature of a semi-reflecting diopter that reflects the image of a collimated polychromatic light source back into the wearer's field of vision. Thanks to the special properties of these lenses, it is thus possible to obtain an extremely wide increased field of vision (40° x 30° as standard) with a resolution of more than 800 x 600 pixels. This corresponds to viewing a floating screen with a 90 cm (34 ") diagonal at a distance of 1 meter and almost 270 cm (88 ") diagonal at a distance of 3 meters!
The possibilities for using these glasses with thick white frames and a single lens are therefore infinite. This EnhancedViewTM technology enables the implementation of augmented reality applications in the medical, aeronautics, military and soon the general public sectors.
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For example, a surgeon performing an operation would be able to read the patient's medical record without having to interrupt his or her work. Already in high demand in sectors such as aeronautics, the military or the medical field, augmented reality glasses could become an object used by individuals.
Interviewed by Essonne Info, the CEO of Laster Technologies, Zile Liu, explains : "We believe that the general public is not ready to wear these glasses every day, but only when necessary in certain situations. »
The examples of applications are numerous. The SeeThru can for example be used in the car, like a GPS, where then it would no longer be necessary to look away from the road to look at a screen. This is because the direction would be indicated directly in the driver's field of vision. In this way, it would be easier to enter a legal framework, in complete peace of mind.
In the tourism sector, when visiting a city, you could have all the information about the monuments that surround you by looking at them. In the field of sports as well, " we are currently working with a sports equipment manufacturer, to make sure that if you were to go down a ski slope, you could have information about your speed, the slope, the altitude, the open or closed slopes, the dangerous areas with a risk of avalanche... "
What are the differences with Google Glasses?
The glasses SeeThru differs from Google's model on two key points, however.
First of all, the information appears transparently, without obstructing the field of vision. It is therefore not necessary to look away to read the information. Glasses SeeThru are also connected to a smartphone and have been designed to become an extension of it. "The Google Glass project has practically integrated the equivalent of a mobile phone into its glasses, and that has some drawbacks. Glasses are heavy, consume a lot of energy and are also more expensive. Most people today already have a mobile phone in their pocket, so why sell them an equivalent? » explains Zile Liu.
The price difference is indeed notable: the augmented reality glasses from Laster Technologies are sold at 350 euros against 1500 dollars (plus taxes) for Google Glass. For the moment, their autonomy is six to eight hours.
The particularity of this model is also its manufacture. The design and assembly stages, once all the components have been created, are carried out in France. Currently the production of connected glasses corresponds to a few hundred units but it is increasing year after year. The SeeThru are already in pre-sales at the Laster Technologies site and will be commercialised at the beginning of 2015.
(Source : Essonne info - April 28, 2014)