VR/AR

Smart eyewear is within sight

15th October 2019
Alex Lynn

There is a great deal happening in the smart eyewear space and it is time to sit up and take notice. Recent announcements hint at an exciting future for the technology, with some of the largest companies in the world moving resources into the space. 

By Dmitry Ogievich, CEO at Banuba 

Microsoft and Apple have moved team members into senior AR development roles, Samsung has been granted its patent for Augmented Reality (AR) contact lenses by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Snapchat has announced its AR-enabled Spectacles 3 and Amazon has patented AR technology for directing delivery drivers. 

We are beginning to see the emergence of hardware that will eventually enable large-scale adoption of this technology. 

Adoption of smart eyewear

For years, experts have heralded wearables and smart eyewear as the key innovation that will replace the handheld devices we use today. They will become a technology we use every day, eventually plugging into almost every aspect of our lives. 

To lay the groundwork ahead of the mass-launch of AR-enabled devices, developers are hard at work constructing an ecosystem of apps, many of which are already present in our everyday lives. At Banuba we have developed a whole host of Face AR features within our Banuba Filters and EasySnap apps, as well as our SDK, that promise to take on a new lease of life when integrated into smart eyewear. At present we’re just waiting for hardware to catch up. As devices become more intuitive and capable, we will see an explosion in the practical and fun ways in which AR can be implemented

The vision for smart eyewear

The next and most difficult step is transporting the technology from handheld devices to forming part of our vision. What’s exciting is we’re starting to see how Samsung’s engineers visualise the devices taking shape.

AR eyewear has many benefits which will begin to affect our everyday routines. For example, rather than navigating the streets using maps on devices, apps equipped with computer vision will display directions right before our eyes, as if laid out on the street in front of us. This will remove the need for screens, so we can consume images and video directly with AR-enabled wearables.

Once smart contact lenses and glasses are available, we’ll see a huge shift from the use of mobile devices to eyewear. Not only will smart eyewear replace our existing technology, it will also open up potential new applications of AR in our lives, from navigation to communication, from driving to shopping.

Looking to the future 

With some of the biggest names in technology investing in this space we can expect to see more patents and further developments rapidly coming to market. 

We’re some way off being able to fit truly transformative features into smart eyewear but, with IDC expecting the AR/VR market to grow more than 75% in the next five years, reaching over $120bn by 2022, we will undoubtedly see an influx of investment in AR wearables – and with investment comes faster development.

It’s an extremely exciting time to be working in the field. While it could be a number of years before smart eyewear becomes the norm, we’re on the cusp of its more widespread adoption.

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