Olympus is taking another crack at smart glasses with a $1,500 set designed for business and industrial applications. On November 6, Olympus launched the EyeTrek Insight EL-10 smart glasses. Rather than trying to take on Google Glass, the EL-10 is designed in connection with custom software that allows businesses to adapt the glasses-mounted display to a number of different uses.
The Olympus smart glasses, available in the U.S. later this month, don’t include a pair of glasses, but instead mount to existing eyewear, which means users can still wear prescription lenses or safety glasses. The system uses a display that Olympus says doesn’t block eyesight with a semi-transparent OLED projection that allows wearers to see the information while still working on the task at hand.
Embedded sensors (not too unlike the Olympus TG-5) expand options for custom software, including a three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetic field, while a touchbar at the side allows users to navigate through the different options. While the EL-10 is designed for custom applications, the smart glasses comes with photo and video capture and playback from the built-in 1,992 x 1,216 resolution camera, as well as a QR code reader.
Using an Android operating system, the EL-10’s options can be customized — and Olympus is providing businesses with the development tools to do just that. Those custom applications can run on 1 GB of RAM or main memory and 8 GB of ROM or user memory.
The EL-10 can communicate with a smartphone using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And even with the wireless capabilities, Olympus still included a headphone jack.
Battery life on the smart glasses is just between 30 minutes and an hour — so Olympus is selling batteries in packs of five to extend the glasses’ use. The short battery life is likely a sacrifice to keep the system’s weight low — the El-10, without the glasses, weighs just 2.3 ounces.
The El-10 isn’t the company’s first pair of smart glasses either — Olympus says it has a long history in developing smart glasses. The EyeTrek name launched as early as May 2000 in Japan with a series of face-mounted displays. The EL-10 will retail for about $1,500 with U.S. availability beginning sometime in November. Olympus has also launched partnerships with Rochester Optical for prescription frames with a built-in mount for the camera system, and is also working with Japan-based software company Westunitis to develop the custom software.
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