Although Google failed spectacularly to show it into a billboard success, the thought of hi-tech smart glasses never really faded into the background. With consistent rumors of Apple’s mixed-reality ambitions also as smaller companies making functional prototypes, smart glasses still be both a technological dream and a privacy disaster waiting to happen. Facebook’s collaboration with Ray-ban might induce the latter concern, but Xiaomi’s Smart Glasses attempt to keep the balance with more practical applications of the concept.
It’s hard to tug off the perfect smart eyewear that appears nothing quite regular glasses, albeit with larger and thicker frames that hide the electronics inside. The trickiest part is that the display must be visible and hidden, a minimum of if you’re aiming for the mixed reality sort of experience. On the other hand, if you’re all for just a second screen for phones and PCs, then something like TCL’s Wearable Display sunglasses is sufficient.
Xiaomi was aiming for something more practical for everyday use and developed a replacement display system that overlaid virtual information over the important world, a minimum of for half your view. Unlike Google Glass’ conspicuous mini projector, Xiaomi opted for a MicroLED display roughly the dimensions of a grain of rice but still manages to say 2 million nits of brightness. And rather than directly displaying images ahead of your right eye, the Xiaomi Smart Glasses utilizes optical wavelength technology, refraction, and reflection to hold the image from the invisible MicroLED chip to the wearer’s eye using just one lens.
Xiaomi’s vision for its Smart Glasses doesn’t end with the display technology. Instead of an easy second screen for a smartphone, the advanced eyewear can function independently for things like navigation, translation, and communication. Moreover, alongside Xiaomi’s XiaoAI assistant, the Smart Glasses selects only important notifications instead of flooding your view with endless bubbles.
Of course, the Xiaomi Smart Glasses also can take photos, and its camera is often wont to translate real-world text on the fly, which will probably raise red flags among privacy advocates. However, Xiaomi notes that the indicator light beside the 5MP camera will indicate when the camera is in use. Whether that indicator light is visible in broad daylight, however, is an unanswered question. Xiaomi’s announcement also doesn’t indicate if and when it plans to commercialize these Smart Glasses, only that it’s already performing on one that would make it to stores within the near future.