Business Technology

Monday 11 December 2017

Digital Life: Making a spectacle of yourself with glasses that show movies

Ronan Price

Ronan Price

How much would you pay to look an utter plonker in public? Would €600 be too much? Even if it meant you could walk down the street or sit on a train watching your favourite movies in complete privacy?

That's the bet Epson has made with its new BT100 Moverio glasses, a concept that even the Japanese firm admits is a first attempt at a quirky idea.

The chunky spectacles superimpose a video image into your line of sight, as if you had your own personal projector that only you can see. Unlike many similar products, the BT100 doesn't block out most of your vision while showing you the video.

In theory, it means you could go about your daily business and avoid bumping into things like a klutz. In practice, you'd never leave your chair while wearing the glasses, not just because of the ridicule invited. They also weigh quite a bit and are saddled with an oversized battery pack trailing by a wire.

The pack provides more than just power because it also houses the controls and a memory card slot in which to store your movies and pictures, etc. Bizarrely, it actually runs the Android phone software -- without the phone bit -- allowing the glasses to use apps such as calculator, web browser and weather.

If it all sounds like Frankenstein's monster, we're on the same page. The list of its shortcomings is long: indifferent video format support, frustrating touchpad controls and bulky design being the most glaring.

Epson should have kept version one in the labs, ditched the power pack and enabled the BT100 to connect to smartphones. Then we may have had something worth talking about.

Epson BT100 Moverio, €600, www.epson.co.uk

For a while there, mobile phones were shrinking inexorably to the point where they would inevitably pass for wristwatches. The new trend for big screens has knocked that on the head but if you've always craved some Dick Tracy action, then Sony's SmartWatch is for you.

It doesn't fulfil the promise of talking into your wristwatch, though, and requires a bond with an Android phone to do anything. Consider it a small secondary touchscreen to display brief updates from your phone, such as texts, tweets, incoming calls and weather.

Physically, it resembles a casual wristwatch (it's also identical to an iPod Nano - naughty Sony) with a choice of wristband colours. Purely as a timekeeper, though, the SmartWatch is functionally unexceptional.

But for the terminally addicted phone user, it saves fumbling in your pockets every two minutes.

Sony SmartWatch, €140, www.sonymobile.com

Irish Independent

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