AR is an exciting idea, but it’s not clear if there’s enough computational power in the world to make such a fantastic concept real. Undeterred, Xiaomi has unveiled its Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition, a compact AR headset using the same Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 found in the Quest Pro. The company says these oversized sunglasses offer an elegant way to blend the digital and real worlds while, most crucially, not requiring a physical tether to a smartphone.
Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition features a lightweight yet sturdy design with a magnesium-lithium alloy structure and carbon fiber materials. Its electrochromic lenses allow for seamless access to reality and the virtual world at a single click. pic.twitter.com/FWANebc4Gp— Lei Jun (@leijun) February 27, 2023
Weighing 126g (4.4 ounces), Xiaomi crafted the hardware from magnesium-titanium alloy and carbon fiber parts to lighten the load. It’s also rocking a custom-made silicon-oxygen anode battery which, all in, Xiaomi says will reduce the physical burden on the user. (This user would like to disagree, speaking from experience that anything over 100g pressing on your nose is still too much to take for extended periods of time.)
As for the displays, the headset is packing a pair of microOLED displays hooked up to a pair of “free-form, light-guiding” prisms so pixel-dense, your eyes won’t spot the squares. The company says, too, that you’ll experience less brightness loss than with other close-up displays, and can crank out a peak brightness of 1,200nits. And, for immersion’s sake, the front of the lenses are electrochromic, automatically dimming when you need to focus on the virtual world.
Boasting a retina-level near-eye display for AR glasses, Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition delivers a truly immersive visual experience. Moreover, our self-developed Xiaomi AR Gesture Control empowers effortless control between virtual and real space. pic.twitter.com/EipqBWxkpW— Lei Jun (@leijun) February 27, 2023
The advanced hand-tracking is said to enable a new form of user interaction, whereby our hands can be used to manipulate the digital world. In a concept video, a wearer looks at a smart light and deactivates it by flicking a virtual switch hovering over the device itself. Users will also be able to, Minority Report-style, flick and tap around the internet (or video), and potentially use these for productivity purposes as well.
The advent of these glasses is also part of Qualcomm’s own plans to leverage its Snapdragon Spaces platform to boost XR devices. Xiaomi’s hardware, when paired with a compatible device like the new Xiaomi 13, and promises latency low enough that you won’t notice the lack of a wire. And the company says that it will “work closely with developers to expedite the arrival of AR,” so vital in the still-nascent space.
Unfortunately there’s no word on price or availability since this is very much a concept device as yet. Consequently we wouldn’t recommend setting up a separate savings account to put aside cash to buy one of these unless you’re really, really, really patient.