Lumus turns its military-grade eyewear into a Google Glass competitor (video)

Lumus has long developed heads-up displays for the US military, but now it's using a developer kit called the DK-40 to bring its HUD tech to wearables outside the battlefield. The contraption's first stop was the CES show floor, so we couldn't resist putting our fingerprints all over it. The key feature of the DK-40 is the "optical engine", which eliminates the need for a thick piece of glass to house a substantially sized prism. For the most part, the lens is transparent, but refracting light can occasionally catch the prisms and remind you (again) that it's not run-of-the-mill eyewear. And as if one display wasn't enough, the firm says it's possible to add a second one for the left eye. Folks with eyesight issues can attach a pair of prescription lenses that rest on the nose grips, but the firm is also developing a version where the medically prescribed glass will be bonded to the lenses.

While the general form is reminiscent of Google Glass, Lumus' design does look more like a traditional set of spectacles. When it comes to tech specs, the device fits a 640 x 480 color display (as opposed to 640 x 360 on Glass), 5MP camera, gyroscope, accelerometer and a compass into a package that's not much heavier than Google's wearable. Though the plastic bulge that houses the camera and components is fairly large, the hardware keeps a pretty slick look overall, with a magnesium alloy and plastic build. Just like Glass, the gadget's battery hangs over a user's right ear.

As for software, Lumus' wearable is barebones: it runs Android 4.1.2 with very little -- if any -- optimizations. There's no touchpad on the gadget itself, but a companion Android app with a virtual mousepad and menu keys handles navigation. It's certainly not the ideal way to cruise around a face-worn gadget, but it's serviceable for a dev kit.

Lumus envisages its hardware will be used in everything from medical to industrial fields, and it also hopes to license the technology behind the lens display to gadget makers who could potentially target consumer applications. Ultimately, the DK-40 is a developer playground. The outfit behind the HUD isn't disclosing its price, but interested programmers can ask the company directly and grab ahold of it this April.