Vuzix has announced plans to develop a stylish head-mounted display solution in the form of Smart Glasses, through a licensing partnership with Nokia. The yet-unnamed product would integrate a bright, high-contrast display with a pair of seemingly ordinary-looking sunglasses -- sounds like a perfect companion to the ZionEyez in-glasses camera prototype we saw last month. In Vuzix's words:

This amazing new technology starts with a compact display engine capable of hi contrast and brightness for outdoor use. The output is then relayed into a 1.4 mm thick plastic waveguide lens with input and output hologram structures on the surface which squeezes the light down the waveguide and then two dimensionally expands the image back into the user's eye, creating an image that is then mixed into the real world.

Naturally, the company envisions its Smart Glasses solution as a web-connected device, letting you watch videos or browse the internet while still being able to see-and-avoid pedestrians as you walk on the sidewalk or obstacles while behind the wheel -- try doing that with a Kindle or smartphone (better yet, please don't). Vuzix expects its Smart Glasses solution to start appearing as early as this summer, but we'll be getting an early look next week at CES.
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Vuzix SMART Glasses Technology

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Vuzix Announces Plans for SMART Glasses Technology - Holy Grail of Wearable Display Industry, See-Through HD Glasses in a Designer Sunglasses Form Factor - at CES 2012

See New Vuzix SMART Glasses Technology in action at CES – Central Hall Booth #13646

LAS Vegas – January 10, 2012 – Vuzix Corporation (TSX-V: VZX, OTC:BB: VUZI, FMB: V7X), award-winning manufacturer of video eyewear, is excited to unveil SMART Glasses Technology - Integrated HD display engines and waveguide optics that literally break the boundaries of conventional optics and display solutions. For decades wearable displays have been referred to as Head Mounted Displays because of their bulky size and odd appearance; primarily attributable to the displays and conventional refractive and or reflective optics that they employ. This older technology is limited by the laws of optical physics that result in form factors that are large, heavy, and practically impossible to make into fashion eyewear.

Now after years of internal developments and our recent licensing relationship with Nokia Corporation SMART Glasses Technology is finally here. This amazing new technology starts with a compact display engine capable of hi contrast and brightness for outdoor use. The output is then relayed into a 1.4 mm thick plastic waveguide lens with input and output hologram structures on the surface which squeezes the light down the waveguide and then two dimensionally expands the image back into the user's eye, creating an image that is then mixed into the real world. And, all this technology neatly fits into the temples & lenses of a conventional pair of eyewear!

As the name implies, SMART Glasses are much more than just a wearable TV. Designed to work with SMART Devices that are typically connected to the internet, SMART Glasses are interactive and merge virtual information with the real world. They can be used at night or outdoors in full daylight.

Vuzix is planning a line of both monocular and binocular SMART Glasses for the Commercial, Industrial and Consumer markets. With integrated head tracking and options for multiple camera technologies Vuzix SMART Glasses can broaden the users' sensory perception across a greatly expanded light spectrum; additionally they can be used to recognize their environment along with their position in the real world, all-the-while recording and transmitting what the user sees.
From standalone solutions for night vision and first responder use to fully internet connected and geospatially aware devices for amazing Augmented Reality applications.

Look for Vuzix SMART Glasses technology initial release into the commercial and industrial markets by summer 2012.