Innovation

Why ODG's new smart glasses could drive AR adoption in the enterprise

At the 2017 CES in Las Vegas, Osterhout Design Group unveiled its R-8 and R-9 smart glasses, which aim to make augmented reality more functional for a variety of users.

On Tuesday, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Osterhout Design Group (ODG) unveiled its new R-8 and R-9 smart glasses, which will act as complement to a user's mobile device. The R-8 glasses are an early adopter consumer device, while the R-9 glasses are targeted at prosumer and light enterprise augmented reality (AR) users, with an ODG press release claiming existing customers in industries such as aerospace, energy, logistics, and medicine.

According to an ODG press release, the glasses are not designed to be worn all the time. Rather, they are meant to be deployed as needed for specific experiences. Pete Jameson, COO of ODG, described the new glasses as "slightly oversized sunglasses that you wear" with "two stereoscopic HD displays."

Both the R-8 and R-9 are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and have dual microphones, USB-C, and Bluetooth 5.0. Both models also utilize the Reticle OS on Android 7.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, GPS, embedded 6 DoF tracking, high speed IMU, dual microphones, and integrated directional speakers, the press release said.

SEE: CES 2017 Special Coverage (CNET) | CES 2017 (TechRepublic) | CES 2017: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet)

The R-8 will cost under $1,000 and offers the following features:

  • Over 40 degree field of view
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 720p resolution
  • Dual 1080p stereo cameras
  • 64 GB storage
  • Less than 4.5 oz in weight

The R-9 is more expensive at $1,800, and provides:

  • Over 50 degree field of view
  • 22:9 or 16:9 aspect ratios
  • 1080p resolution
  • 13MP front facing camera, 4K at 60 fps to 1080p at 120 fps
  • Module Expansion (mipi, USB) for extended sensors and/or cameras
  • 128 GB storage
  • Less than 6.5 oz in weight

Additionally, the R-9 is built on ODG's Project Horizon platform, a development platform for AR and VR apps, which won three CES 2017 Innovation awards.

The unveiling of the new smart glasses follows ODG's recent announcement of $58 million Series A round of venture capital funding, the largest in AR/VR history. One of the investors, 21st Century Fox, will also act as a content partner for ODG, the press release said.

Jameson said that ODG has been focused on developing integrated, head-worn computers since the late 2000s. The first product that the company developed was the R-6, which was originally built for government users. The R-7 is the current iteration, and is more of a full enterprise device than the new models. Jameson said he sees the R-8 and R-9 as a continuation of the company's vision, with the R-9 helping to bridge the commercial and consumer markets.

Still, the company is shooting for a high-end experience, and Jameson stressed that "it's not a toy, it's a tool." For enterprise use cases, healthcare is the largest opportunity for ODG, but its smart glasses could also be used for telepresence, assisted-reality, maintenance and repair, remote help, surgery, and training, Jameson said.

In addition to its latest funding round and the announcement of the new models, Jameson said that ODG recently signed an agreement with China Mobile for smart glasses as well.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Osterhout Design Group (ODG) unveiled two new smart glass models, the R-8 and R-9, at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas.
  2. ODG also recently announced a $58 million Series A round, the largest in AR history.
  3. The R-8 and R-9 offer high-end enterprise experiences, targeted to many industries, but are meant to bridge the gap between business and consumers.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/eternalcreative

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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