The promise of an AR future has stalled a bit. Google Glass appeared with much fanfare, then slowly disappeared from the limelight. But not before so-called glassholes grabbed headlines for being mugged and banned from bars because no one likes the idea of being secretly recorded.
Epson's Moverio specs continue to be outstanding for industrial uses but not much else, and most everything else feels a bit like a gimmick targeting early adopters. But the Everysight Raptor is ready for folks beyond the super nerds. In my short time with it, I realized that if I rode a bike more than eight times a month, I'd want these.
Essentially, the Raptor AR glasses are a smartphone (minus the calling) shoved into a pair of specs with a quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 16 to 32 GB of storage, GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, Bluetooth, WiFi, speaker and a mic for voice commands.
The glasses project information directly onto the lens of your right eye. You're not looking at a tiny screen. It's right there in front of you, floating off in the distance. The Raptor I was using was set to show current speed, mapping, and -- via a wearable -- my heart rate. The information was crisp and easy to read and was set to appear as if about 20 feet in front of me. After a few blocks, I got used to switching focus from the display to the road. Fortunately, the display can be switched off via a button on the left-hand side of the specs in case you really need to pay attention to the road ahead.
The rest of the controls are available on the right-hand side of the frames. A series of swipes and taps brings up other settings, like access to media, camera and brightness controls. A handlebar-mounted controller is also available, and the whole system can be managed by a companion Android and iOS app.
During my short ride around Fisherman's Wharf, it never felt like the OLED projection on the display was too dim. It was overcast, though, so the light was diffused. I was assured that the Raptor worked just as well on sunny days.
The Raptor also ships with a camera, so I was able to capture photos and video via the HD sensor placed between the rider's eyes. It won't replace your DSLR or even your new smartphone camera, but it's good enough for a few snapshots of what you're looking at while riding without having to pull over and dig your phone out of your pocket.