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Sony's $840 augmented reality glasses are real, just not pretty

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
February 17, 2015
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Sony has toyed around with ideas like a clip-on headset to compete with Google Glass, but its initial entry into augmented reality wearables is this pair of glasses. It's not a consumer product yet, but the SmartEyeGlass SED-E1 Developer Edition previewed a few months ago is coming to 10 countries in March, for $840 (US), 670 (EUR), or 100,000 (yen). While we wait for Microsoft's HoloLens and a revamped version of Glass, Sony is using "holographic waveguide technology" in 3mm AR lenses to put information directly in the wearer's eyeline. A demo video (after the break) will give you an idea of the capabilities, but it looks a lot more like Glass than Hololens, with simple green monochrome text and diagrams displayed at up to 15fps. There's also a 3MP camera tucked inside that can take still pictures or video, which developers can use its images in their apps.

As you'd hope, the glasses can connect to compatible Android smartphones over Bluetooth, and is controlled via that little puck you see in the picture above -- that's also where the battery, speaker, microphone, NFC and touch controls are. Now that it's almost ready to roll we've got a full list of specs, including a battery life of 80 minutes with the display active while using the camera, and 150 minutes without. Sony says apps will let wearers access services like Facebook and Twitter, and it's rolled out the first version of an SDK to get things moving for other apps. While early-adopting developers take a shot (you can pre-order now in the US, Japan, Germany and the UK) at the software next, we'll wait for Sony to whip up something slightly more stylish for v2.

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