Smart Glasses Report Predicts 1 Billion Shipments By 2020

New York, NY – November 5, 2014: A new report by AugmentedReality.Org is predicting that the Smart Glasses market will soar towards 1 billion shipments near the end of the decade. The report, “Smart Glasses Market 2014”, defines the scope of the Smart Glasses (or Augmented Reality Glasses) market, predicts how fast it will ramp up, and which companies are positioned to gain from it. It forecasts the adoption phases between 2014-2023, the drivers and challenges for adoption, and how hardware and software companies, as well as investors should plan ahead to take part in the next big computing cycle.

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Progress and Mind Share Small

With over 10 new Smart Glasses launched in 2014 – this is a banner year for Smart Glasses. AugmentedReality.Org expects shipments to reach 1 million by fall 2015 – mostly for enterprises, followed by an increase to 10 million by 2016, 50-100 million shipments by 2018, and eventually capture the mainstream consumer space and cross 1 billion shipments at the turn of the decade. The report predicts that as the market matures and early winners emerge, by the end of 2016 the market will experience a “shakeup” with mergers, acquisitions, and significant investments. It argues that consumer electronics giants, and other players in the ecosystem have no more than a 12 months window to position their companies in the space (build, buy, partner) – or risk missing the opportunity.

Market Adoption Small

Enterprises Will Lead, Consumers Will Follow 

Driven by need of Fortune 500 companies to become more competitive, the largest investments in Smart Glasses and related software in the next few years will come mostly from the enterprise space. AR Glasses targeting niches (Bicycle helmets, competitive sports, entertainment) could also thrive. Once enterprise usage irons out the kinks of Smart Glasses and pushes their prices further down – the consumer market will take the lead – with the goal to ship a pair of Smart Glasses to every consumer.

Target Audience 

  • Hardware manufacturers and suppliers

  • Hardware startups

  • Software developers

  • Investors

  • The entire Augmented Reality ecosystem

Key Questions Answered in this Report

  • How will the market evolve?

  • Who are the key players? What are their strategies?

  • What is the competitive landscape?

  • What are the needs, challenges, and solutions?

  • What’s the value chain for AR Glasses?

  • What’s the forecast for market adoption in the next decade?

  • What are the drivers for adoption?

  • What’s the right price? The right timing?

  • Will this market happen at all? How big can it get?

Companies Mentioned in this Report

Google, Epson, Vuzix, Optinvent, Lumus, Meta, Sony, Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Kopin, ODG, Atheer, Glassup, Mirama, Penny, Laster, Recon, Innovega, Elbit, Brother, Oakley, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Canon, Lenovo, Baidu, Nokia, LG, Olympus, Foxcon, Konica Minolta, Daqri, Skully Helmets, Fusar, Magic Leap, Oculus.

AugmentedReality.Org is a global not-for-profit organization with a mission to advance Augmented Reality to advance humanity. It catalyzes the transformation of the AR industry by educating the market about the real power of AR, connecting the best talent around the world, and hatching AR Startups and helping bring them to market. This report is a service to the community funded by members and sponsors.

About the Author: Ori Inbar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Augmented Reality.ORG, and the founder and producer of Augmented World Expo – the world’s largest conference for AR. He dedicates his time is to explore and analyze every aspect of the industry, try every product, and speak with every expert. He lives and breathes Augmented Reality. In 2009, Ori was the co-founder and CEO of Ogmento, one of the first venture-backed companies focused on augmented reality games. Ori is recognized as a passionate speaker in the AR industry, a lecturer at NYU, as well as a sought after adviser and board member for augmented reality startups.

Watch Ori Inbar present key findings from the Smart Glasses Report at InsideAR 2014

For further details please contact info@AugmentedReality.Org or +1 (571) 293-2013

The 27 pages report is available for $799 on AugmentedReality.Org’s website.

AugmentedReality.Org members may purchase the report at a discount for just $99.

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Glass Explore and Explorer

Explore&Explorer

Google I/O kicked off today with not much fanfare around Glass. From a pure awareness stand point, Glass is the best thing that happened to Augmented Reality since the iPhone. And as a champion of the Augmented Reality industry from way back in 2007 – I am an avid supporter.

But Glass Explorers* make me angry (*users of the Google Glass prototype.)

I am not angry at Explorers because they love to walk on the street with Glass so that passerbys stop and ask them about it (although passerbys just want to take selfies with Glass)

Glass Selfie2

I am not angry at Explorers because they love getting into bars just to be denied service. Nor am I angry because they drive cars with Glass just to annoy highway patrol officers.

And you know what, I am not even angry at their eagerness to pay an exuberant amount of money to be testers in the most expensive beta program ever.

All that doesn’t bother me so much.

As Jon Stewart says : Intolerance shouldn’t be tolerated.

You know why I am angry at Glass Explorers?

Because they totally mistake the purpose of wearing.

In the Daily Show’s “Glass Half Empty” segment a Glass Explorer explains: “it’s basically a cell phone on your face.”

Ugh!

Daily show wearing Glass

“Make calls, get email, surf the internet…accessibility to everything on your cell phone” but now “right there on your eye”.

This is a bad case of skeuomorphism. Arrrgh!

iphone-dial-retro

Skeuomorphism: a dial phone on a touch screen!?

Can’t escape the comparison to Dumb and Dumber.

The “Glass Half Empty” Explorer argues: “With Glass you maintain in the here and now…”

So far – that’s brilliant. With Augmented Reality you Play in the Now.

But then he continues: “when I check messages I am looking in your general direction – I am not distracted.”

Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any more explorer. Or dumber.

Dumb and dumberer

My friend (and I mean it from the bottom of my heart), if you are reading a text message while talking to me – you ARE distracted. And looking in my GENERAL direction is like farting in my general direction.

Maybe these are just run-of-the-mill explorers regurgitating talking points.

So I asked a [very] senior [and very smart] member of the Google Glass team what’s the most compelling Glass app he’s seen so far. He didn’t flinch when answered: “Texting.”

Wah-What!?

This makes me mad!!!

The second Law of Augmented Reality design clearly states “Augmented Reality must not distract from reality”.

Second law of AR design

If it does distract you – it ventures into virtual reality which is an escape from the real world. The fundamental purpose of Augmented reality is to make you more aware of the real world and make things around you more interactive. Because in an interactive world everything you do is more engaging, productive, and fun.

The Simpsons’ Days of Future Future episode warns us about the consequences of not paying attention to the real world:

Epilogue

An incident that brought my anger to a head: A senior member of the Glass team which recently participated in a Glass Class at AWE 2014 didn’t agree to be video-taped or mentioned by name while at the same time was wearing Glass and [could have] recorded us all…

Aaarrrggggh!!

When I calm down, I’ll show what I consider good uses of Augmented Reality.

In the meantime check out over a hundred videos from AWE 2014 – the world’s largest event focused on Augmented Reality, Wearables, and the Internet of Things.

Vuzix Wrap920 Will See the Light of Day in 2009 but Will not See Thru

Noah just broke the news:

Today we have received confirmation from Vuzix CEO Paul Travers that the highly anticipated Vuzix Wrap 920, previously known as the AV920 Wrap, will not, in fact, be a see-through head-mounted display (HMD). It will instead be a “see-around” model. This means that the LCD viewing elements will be opaque, as in previous models, but will be suspended behind a sunglasses-style lens without obstructing the peripheral view around the display.

Paul Travers can only say:

There is a pile of reasons that the Wrap series will be using this rather than “see thru”.

See the entire post on Augmentation.com: see-through hmd for consumers further off than expected

The wait for see-thru augmented reality displays continues…

Lumus from the Humus Land: the Future of Augmented Reality Displays

2009 will be remembered as the year augmented reality apps made the news. That was finally possible thanks to a new bread of mobile devices (Google phone, iPhone) that enable the new experience. These new devices pack the gear you need for AR: from cameras to GPS and compasses; they offer both power AND affordability. And the best part is that you already have them in your pocket.

However the fact that these devices are held in your hand is a double edge sword: yes, it’s accessible and intuitive – but at least one hand will always be tied up. Moreover, it offers a very narrow view into the Augmented world. I have dubbed this generation of AR hardware as the “HAND BAG” generation. A necessary stepping stone on the path towards the broader AR vision.

But what we really want is “NO BAG”. Hands free.

We want augmented reality directly in our field of view. Goggles.

Or better yet, cool sun glasses that BEHAVE like goggles.

So, what’s new in AR Goggles?

Vuzix is still the media darling and probably sells more goggles (Video iWear) to consumers than anyone else.

We can’t wait for the leaves on the trees in New England to turn red; that will signal the launch of Vuzix WRAP 920AV – the first commercial see-thru goggles for AR that don’t break your neck OR your wallet – scheduled for fall 2009.

As a reminder, my poll on the GDC post (which showcases yours truly donning the gizmo) shows a ratio of 47%-33% (Dork vs. Cool). We’re not quit there yet…

What else is out there?

I recently talked with Zvi Lapidot, CEO of Lumus, based in Israel and a major contender in the race to deliver your dream AR glasses.

Here’s what I captured from our discussion while wiping tasty humus with a pita bread:

Ori : Hi Zvi, you have significant experience in building optical solutions for Augmented Reality for military use; what was your goal when you embarked on designing a product for the consumer market?

Zvi: The goal was to deliver light weight, cool looking, see-thru glasses that overlay computer graphics on the screen – minus the head ache. We also needed to ensure that the brightness would be high enough for full outdoor, daylight use. We built a working prototype (see image from last year) which got closer to these objectives  more than anyone before, plus it made a great impression on the market.

Ori: It does look better than the HMDs I tried in the 90’s. What are the specs of the prototype?

Zvi: From the website:

  • Display format is VGA 640 x 480 pixels;
  • Field of View 27.5°
  • Virtual screen size Equivalent of 60″ screen at 10 ft away; 600″ at 100 ft away
  • Eye motion box 10 x 10 mm
  • Displays full color
  • Transparency >70%
  • Brightness >400 FtL
  • Contrast ratio >100:1
  • Eye relief 22 mm
  • Input signal Composite video (NTSC or PAL)
  • Weight <100g
  • LOE thickness 2 mm

Ori: That’s impressive. And how did you enable AR tracking?

Zvi: By collaborating with AR specialists and Chinese partners we integrated a web camera and a compass (with 3DOF) into the prototype; and connected it to a phone with GPS. AR algorithms analyzed the video from the camera and overlaid graphics while tracking the real world. Several units of the prototype were even sold. Our eyewear has also been demonstrated for interactive gaming. Here is a game KDDI (a major Japanese telecommunications service provider) built with it employing a mobile phone (with built-in motion sensors) as a controller for AR bowling (watch at 0:47):

Ori: Cool. So when can we expect this to hit the market?

Zvi: bringing such a prototype to mass market production requires significant funding which we don’t have yet (so far we had a small funding round by angel investors including myself)

Ori: yes, I know what you mean. VCs still can’t see the huge potential of the augmented reality industry. There aren’t any commercial proof points. It’s the chicken and the egg problem once again: to invest in hardware you want to see demand for apps. Application developers can’t show demand because they rely on hardware…which is not there yet…

So what next?

Zvi: We actually weren’t satisfied with the above achievements. We thought we could do even better. So we have been designing a more ambitious version that further reduces the weight (well below 100g) and significantly increases the brightness (a must for outdoor operation). We’re using smaller-smarter electronics and focusing on aesthetics as well. This one will be really look cool.

Ori: will it include the gear required for tracking?

Zvi: Tracking will come as a plug-in component, like a “goody box” including camera, gyros, compasses etc.

Ori: And how long until we can lay our hands (and eyes) on the new beauty?

Zvi: We are currently in debug mode; planning to have the prototype ready by mid 2010. Mass market will come later.

Ori: So we might need to wait until 2011 until you offer a mass market product…well, at least it could change the ratio of Dork vs. Cool in favor of the latter…

What about cost?

Zvi: In mass market production it will be around a couple of hundred dollars.

Ori: That’s certainly reasonable. How do you plan to compete with Vuzix which reportedly plans to release see-thru goggles for the mass market as early as this fall?

Zvi: We welcome Vuzix to succeed and open the market.

What’s unique about our product is the optics. Our main advantage is the ultra-thin transparent optics that we offer and the high brightness of our display. As a result, we provide the optimal solution for outdoor AR scenarios, while maintaining a natural look and wearing comfort.

Games alfresco: Awesome. You got to demo your goggle at ISMAR this year – you know?

Zvi: We have been there a few years ago and were missing the commercial prospects. We run a business after all.

Games alfresco: oh, you are in for a great surprise this year – ISMAR will expand beyond the academia focus and will introduce new tracks dedicated to interactive media, humanities, arts and a stronger commercial focus.

Zvi: Sounds interesting – I’ll definitely consider.

Games alfresco: Hope to see you there! And keep us in mind if you want to build a kick ass demo…;)

Thanks for your insights, Zvi and all the best for Lumus. We are all counting on you.

Do we have any good alternatives?

Apple Files Patent for Mobile Augmented Reality

The buzz around our open letter to Apple hasn’t subsided yet, and lo and behold, Apple has filed today a patent related to augmented reality .

Although the term Augmented Reality (AR) is not explicitly mentioned in the patent – it describes very common mobile AR scenarios.

Apple patent-090709-1

Technically speaking, you typically need 3 capabilities to enable a mobile AR scenario: sense, overlay, track.

Sense – use sensors to find out what’s in your immediate surroundings (such as visual, GPS, RFID, wifi, IR, etc)

Overlay – Graphically add information that relates to real objects in your field of view

Track – register the graphics so that the virtual elements are aligned with the real objects

Apple’s patent deals with Sensing and Overlaying.

Apple Insider describes it as:

a new identification application apparently under development by Apple that would help identifying objects in a user’s surroundings so that their iPhone can present additional information about the identified objects.

The patent describes scenarios such as:

“the portable electronic device can allow the user to select a mode based on the types of objects that the user wants to identify. Based on the selected mode, the portable electronic device can adjust parameters used for searching an identification database. For example, if the user selects to identify an object in a “MUSEUM” mode, the portable electronic device can search the identification database for objects that are commonly found in a museum. In some embodiments, the portable electronic device can determine the location of the user to help identify an object. For example, if the user is determined to be in Las Vegas and the portable electronic device is set to a “RESTAURANT” mode, the device can limit the search of the identification database to restaurants in Las Vegas.”

As much as it’s encouraging to see Apple’s interest in this domain, it sounds awfully similar to augmented reality research published over the past 10 years.

Moreover, it actually describes the functionality behind existing AR browsing applications already in the market such as Layar, Mobilizy’s World Browser, Tonchidot’s Sekai Camera, Nru, and more!

And how about augmenting Museum experiences? Has anyone at Apple read our roundup of AR museum experiences?

Is there anything new in this patent? Can Apple defend it against previously published AR work? What do you think?

Open Letter to Apple: Let us Augment Reality with the iPhone!

A letter sent to Apple Developer Relations.

Dear Apple,

We are a collection of augmented reality (AR) enthusiasts and professionals (from business and academia), who have been working on a multitude of AR apps for the iPhone. These apps are poised to change the way people interact with the real world.

But here is the rub: we are currently unable to publish these apps on the app store because the iPhone SDK lacks public APIs for manipulating live video.

We are asking Apple to provide a public API to access live video in real time, on the iPhone.
We will be happy to offer additional technical details.

The impact of augmented reality (AR) on our lives could be as significant as the introduction of the PC.
In 10 years, we believe augmented reality will change the way everyone experiences travel, design, training, personal productivity, health care, entertainment, games, art, and advertising (videos).

Looking back just a few years, AR pioneers had to hack a slew of components into ridiculously large backpacks and HUDs, and be confined to rigged environments. Nowadays, it comes in friendly, affordable packages and the iPhone is one of the first devices to have it all – except for a public API.

The battle to determine the winning device has already begun; a public API to access live video will give the iPhone a lucrative ticket to compete.
We believe Apple has a window of opportunity of about 3 months before developers start looking elsewhere. If Apple decides to publish the API in that time frame – in the next 10 years, everyone might be using the iPhone as the preferred device to interact with the real world.

Here is how augmented reality could open up new opportunities for the iPhone this year:

Arf (Georgia Tech)

a virtual pet you take anywhere

ARghhhh (Georgia Tech)

first person table-top action game

Sekai Camera (Tonchidot)

AirTag the real world

Kweekies (int13)

a portal to creatures in a parallel world

Layar (SPRXmobile)

Browse the world with an AR browserDetails

Artoolkit for the iPhone (Artoolworks)

the most popular AR kit now on the iPhone

StudierStube ES (Imagination, Graz TU)

the only AR engine designed for mobile devices, now on iPhoneDetails

PTAM on the iPhone (Oxford University)

next generation AR tracking with no markers or images

Wikitude (Mobilizy)

a travel guide that “tells you what you see”

Virtual Santa (Metaio)

interactive Christmas application using the augmented reality

Augmented Reality Sightseeing (Fraunhofer IGD)

Historic photographs overlaid on your field of view while strolling in a street

These are apps that are practically ready to go. There is a whole bunch of apps and games that are just waiting for the API to be available.

…And Apple, we know you can’t share your plans…so please surprise us soon!

Many many thanks for your consideration –
Sincerely,

Signed:
Michael Gervautz – Managing Director Imagination GesmbH
Robert Rice – CEO Neogence
Georg Klein – PhD PTAM creator from Oxford University
Stephane Cocquereaumont –  President & Lead Developer Int13 (Kweekies)
Maarten Lens-FitzGerald – Founder & Partner SPRXmobile, developer of Layar
Ori Inbar – Author of GamesAlfresco.com and CEO and founder – Ogmento (formerly Pookatak Games)
Philippe Breuss – Lead developer, Mobilizy
Philip R. Lamb – CTO, Artoolworks
Noora Guldemond – Metaio
Takahito Iguchi – CEO, Tonchidot
Blair MacIntyre – Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Bruno Uzzan – CEO, Total Immersion
Michael Zoellner
Fraunhofer IGD
Andrea Carignano – CEO,  Seac02

If you are developing an AR app for the iPhone and wish to join this effort – just let us know.

GDC 2009: Why the iPhone Just Changed Everything

Robert Tercek Chairman of GDC Mobile kicks of the Mobile summit with “Welcome to the Next Level! ”

He speaks about the state of the mobile gaming world (looks much better than last year) and even spends a moment on our favorite topic: Virtual layers superimposed on a fictitious reality. He admits it has only been done for advertising so far.

Next is a session I have been looking forward to: “Why the iPhone just changed everything” by
Neil Young founder of Ngmoco :)

When it comes to mobile games, everything before the iPhone was lame. Mostly because of the carriers, the devices, and their usability.
With the iPhone a new Everything was born.

As a game machine it’s so much better than anything before.

4 major Changes:
1) The market – iPhone has more installed based than the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. 165 new apps per day.
Short term problem: Clutter + pricing pressure.
Long term – awesome opportunity.

2) The games – Graphics are better. The experience is better.
And it’s always connected. new opportunities for social, multi players.

3) Game making – fantastic SDK and a much faster development cycle.

4) and Publishing.
There’s never been a better time to be an independent developer and to create a closer relationship with customers.

Then comes the Ngmoco plug: they help create hits by focusing on largest audience appeal, superior execution, and making sure it’s native to the iPhone
There other job is helping games get in front of as many people as possible.
The Ngmoco platform helps is that endevour: analytics, silent download of levels and episodes, promotions engine.

The session ends in high note: iPhone is current the top dog.

Off to a coffee break.