Rokid’s AR glasses are janky as hell, but they have to start somewhere

These aren't exactly nondescript (yet).

Rokid's AR glasses aren't ready for public consumption, but the company is releasing them this year anyway. Rokid is an AI company based in China and it's made a name for itself building smart home products, but its latest gadget is a pair of frames that aim to be the AR glasses of our sci-fi dreams. Right now, however, their functionality is limited.

The Rokid glasses respond to basic hand gestures like sliding tiles of a menu left and right simply by swiping the air, or selecting one by making a fist. The images appear in the upper-right corner of the lenses, superimposed over the real world. The images are clear enough to read the bold, basic text on them, but they're far from high-def. The coolest thing Rokid's lenses can do at the moment is facial recognition, with contact information appearing for any face you've programmed in. For now, that's about it.

The Rokid glasses are more streamlined than a complete headset like HoloLens or even the Magic Leap One, but they're still decidedly bulky. They run on batteries and have an internal processor, and support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The demo version Rokid is showing off at CES is larger than the model that'll be available to the public later this year, though the frames overall still scream "there's high-tech in here." However, they're a good starting point -- and that's exactly what Rokid wants.

In releasing the glasses when they're still in prototype form, Rokid hopes to open-source development of apps and collect data on how people actually use the AR functionality. From there, the company plans to improve the design of future models.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

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