Intel’s New Devices Group has developed a pair of augmented reality (AR) smart glasses that projects information directly onto your retina, doing away with the need for any external display. The company is getting ready to release a developer version of the device this year, according to a report from the Verge, which was first to get a demo of the technology.
The device, which is being called Vaunt, looks and reportedly also feels very much like a pair of regular glasses, with most of the essential technology integrated into small modules that sit on the inside of the temples. Part of these electronics is a low-power laser that projects information onto a holographic lens, which then reflects it directly onto the wearer’s retina, at a resolution of 400 by 150 pixels.
That’s just enough to convey notifications about incoming calls and other essential information, which is being relayed by a phone that’s connected via Bluetooth. Vaunt’s “display” is being shown in the lower right of one’s visual field-of-view to make sure that it doesn’t get in the way during everyday activities.
That approach is very different from what companies like Magic Leap have in mind for their AR headsets. Vaunt won’t offer immersive AR game play, and you won’t be able to read comics on the device either. Instead, it’s meant for the relay of useful information, much like Google Glass. However, unlike Google’s failed hardware, Intel is not integrating a camera, thus making the device a lot less creepy.
Whether it will be successful with consumers is another question — which may also depend on Intel’s future partners for the project. Bloomberg reported last week that Intel is looking to sell a majority stake in its AR glasses business, which means that Vaunt’s future may ultimately be up to the highest bidder.