Wearables in the Spotlight - January: Vuzix Blade

Ubimax, January 23, 2019

As the world leading experts on wearable computing, it is a given that we are all about wearables. Therefore, they are the focus of this blog series! Regardless of the companies producing them, quality judgements, or preferences, we want to shed a light on the devices that Ubimax’s customers are working with to optimize their business processes.

This blog series is perfect for everyone who shares our passion for wearables.

Officially unveiled at the CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the Vuzix Blade AR smart glasses are what one might call “Fashion meets Technology”. One year later it’s commercially available and already fully supported by the Ubimax Frontline platform. Curious to know what makes it stand out?

Type of Device | monocular display
Year of release | 2018
Developer | Vuzix
Weight | approx. 85g
What makes it stand out | convincing form factor: stylish, uses a proprietary waveguide optics

Vuzix has been in the AR world for the last 20 years and is one of the early players in the field. Ubimax has been collaborating with Vuzix for quite some time starting with the Vuzix M100, later M300 and now with the Blade smart glasses. Until now Vuzix smart glasses have been mainly developed for use in the industry, however the new Blade is not only suitable for enterprise but also plans to penetrate into the consumer market.

Form meets function

At first glance the Vuzix Blade looks like regular sunglasses. But a closer look reveals bluish glow from the right-side lens. The glasses utilize Vuzix’s own proprietary waveguide technology coupled with the Cobra II display engine to overlay information. A transparent interface projects the image onto the center of the lens, so as not to hinder the field of view. The see-through optics offer a full, bright color with high resolution display, which makes it ideal for both indoor and our door usage.

The HD camera is located on the left-hand side of the glasses frame, with the capability of capturing 8 MP images and 1080p video. A slot to insert a MicroSD chip provides more space for local data storage. The smart glasses are powered by a Quad Core ARM CPU running on an Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system. The glasses come with lenses that offer UV protection, versatility to insert prescription glasses and an adjustable field of view.

For device control Vuzix Blade offers both voice commands and a touch pad, located along the right-hand side of the glasses. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are available for connectivity, which affords the glasses the ability to connect with external and other devices, making the Blade a perfect fit for Ubimax Frontline solutions.

Ubimax Frontline and Vuzix Blade

Just in time for the commercial launch of Vuzix Blade at the AWE Europe in October 2018, Ubimax was first to announce the full availability of Ubimax Frontline solutions on the smart glasses. A switch to Blade would require only a simple server update, making it very easy for our existing customers to consider the Blade as a hardware option.

In consumer-oriented businesses such as retail stores and health care, style is just as important as function. The Vuzix Blade’s stylish form factor coupled with Ubimax Frontline opens up exciting market opportunities into these businesses. In addition to the availability of the standard Ubimax Frontline solutions, making use of the Frontline Creator Ubimax, as well as various partners who are already in these business areas, will be able to develop custom tailored applications beneficial to their customers.

A step towards consumer market

With the Blade model, Vuzix is stepping in to the consumer market. In order to make the Vuzix Blade attractive not only to enterprises but also end-consumers, the Blade can connect with smart phones allowing users to receive calls, get visual notifications e.g. text messages or weather updates and GPS alerts. In addition to built-in head motion trackers to display images properly, the glasses also include haptic motors to alert on incoming notifications. Another aspect that make the smart glasses appealing for an everyday usage is the integration with Amazon’s Alexa. This makes the Vuzix Blade the first AR device making use of the voice-based digital assistant. We are eager to see what the future brings, and further developments!

(Editing: Mulluemebet Dilnesaw)