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posted by fyngyrz on Thursday April 19 2018, @05:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the turns-a-blind-eye dept.

Intel will shut down its New Devices Group, spelling an end to the company's Vaunt smartglasses project:

When Intel showed off its Vaunt smart glasses (aka "Superlight" internally) back in February, we had high hopes for a new wave of wearable tech that wouldn't turn us into Borgs. Alas, according to The Information's source, word has it that the chip maker is closing the group responsible for wearable devices which, sadly, included the Vaunt. This was later confirmed by Intel in a statement, which hinted at a lack of investment due to "market dynamics." Indeed, Bloomberg had earlier reported that Intel was looking to sell a majority stake in this division, which had about 200 employees and was valued at $350 million.

To avoid the awkwardness that doomed the Google Glass, Intel took the subtle approach by cramming a retinal laser projector -- along with all the other electronic bits, somehow -- into the Vaunt's ordinary-looking spectacle frame; plus there was no camera on it. The low-power projector would beam a red, monochrome 400 x 150 pixel image into the lower right corner of one's visual field, thus eliminating the need of a protruding display medium.

Vaunt is what you get when your committee is too scared of the "Glasshole" fiasco to make a useful product. People on camera could easily identify Google Glass because of its protruding head-mounted display and hardware, as well as the camera indicator light. Build the SoC and any flat buttons directly into a black frame, put small camera lenses at the hinges and/or center, use retinal laser projection or make the lenses into full field of view displays, and remove the indicator light. Then the wearer doesn't have a "Glasshole" problem (but those being viewed might still end up with a "Glasshole.")

Also at The Verge, ZDNet, and AppleInsider.

Previously: Intel Unveils "Vaunt" Smartglasses


Original Submission

Related Stories

Intel Unveils "Vaunt" Smartglasses 33 comments

Intel is launching plain-looking smartglasses that beam a monochrome red image directly into your retina using a laser. There are no cameras on the device:

Intel has launched an impressively light, regular-looking set of smart glasses called Vaunt, confirming rumors from Bloomberg and others. Seen by The Verge, they have plastic frames and weigh under 50 grams, a bit more than regular eyeglasses but much less than Google Glass, for example. The electronics are crammed into the stems and control a very low-powered, class one laser that shines a red, monochrome 400 x 150 pixel image into your eye. Critically, the glasses contain no camera, eliminating the "big brother" vibe from Glass and other smart glasses.


Original Submission

Intel's Vaunt Augmented Reality Smartglasses Concept Lives on at Canadian Company North 2 comments

North has acquired the patents and tech behind Intel's Vaunt AR glasses

North, the company behind the Focals AR glasses, has acquired the "technology portfolio" behind another set of AR [Augmented Reality] glasses, the cancelled Intel Vaunt glasses. The company wouldn't disclose the terms of the deal, but Intel Capital is a major investor in North and led its last financing round in 2016. Both Focals and Vaunt had the same basic idea: use a tiny laser embedded in the stem of your glasses to project a reflected image directly into your retina. Unlike other AR and VR [Virtual Reality] efforts, the goal is to create a pair of glasses you'd actually want to wear — something that looks relatively normal and doesn't weigh too much.

[...] Focals have the same basic idea as Vaunt but are actually set to ship to consumers fairly soon. The Canadian company already has a couple of stores where you can select the right style of glasses. But more importantly, you need to get them fitted, North says, because aligning the projector so you can see the image requires that the glasses be adjusted for your face.

[...] North CEO and co-founder Stephen Lake tells me that his company is acquiring 230 patents or applications along with some "technology and assets," which will mean the company should have over 650 patents by the end of the year.

[...] In some ways, North's Focals are a little more advanced than the Intel Vaunt prototypes I tried back in February. The image it displays is slightly larger and displays in full color instead of Vaunt's red monochrome. But Intel had some tech that North wanted, Lake tells me that the Vaunt team "did a lot of work in MEMs technology and the optics related to that." More specifically, Intel seems to have done a lot of work to miniaturize the display system.

Lake says that North is acquiring the patents for future versions of Focals and not to go on a lawsuit spree. "It's really about a defensive position," he says. Intel also had done work related to the core interface of using AR glasses. The patents North is acquiring cover "everything from new techniques, user interfaces, to ways to interact with the glasses."

Also at TechCrunch.

Previously: Intel Unveils "Vaunt" Smartglasses
Intel Abandons Vaunt AR (Augmented Reality) Smartglasses


Original Submission

Google Acquires Smart Glasses Maker North 16 comments

Google Glass 3.0? Google acquires smart glasses maker North

Google Hardware's latest acquisition is North, a wearables computing company that most recently was making smart glasses that seemed like a successor to Google Glass. Google Hardware SVP Rick Osterloh announced the purchase on Google's blog, saying, "North's technical expertise will help as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts and ambient computing future."

North developed and released a pair of smart glasses called "Focals," which came the closest we've seen so far to smart glasses that looked like normal glasses. First, the company didn't neglect the "glasses" part of "smart glasses" and provided the frames in a range of styles, sizes, and colors, with support for prescription lenses. The technology was noticeably less invasive, too. Google Glass's display surface was a transparent block distractingly placed in front of the users' face, but Focal's display surface was the glasses' lens itself. A laser projector poked out from the thicker-than-normal temple arms and fired into the lens, which has a special coating, allowing the projection to reflect light into the eye.

[...] Google's smart glasses contribution was, of course, the infamous Google Glass, which launched in 2012 and basically shut down as a consumer product about two years later. (North CEO Stephen Lake actually called Google Glass "a massive failure" in a 2019 tech talk. Awkward!) Most people would think of the product as dead, but Google quietly pivoted Glass to be an enterprise product for assembly-line workers, mechanics, doctors, and other professions that might benefit from hands-free computing. New Glass hardware came out as recently as 2019, with the "Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2," which featured a modern 10nm Qualcomm SoC. With Apple reportedly building a set of smart glasses, the consumer market will probably heat up again soon.

It's back.

Also at BBC.

Previously: Google Glass 'Enterprise Edition': Foldable, More Rugged and Water-Resistant
Intel Abandons Vaunt AR (Augmented Reality) Smartglasses
Intel's Vaunt Augmented Reality Smartglasses Concept Lives on at Canadian Company North
"North Focals" $1000 Smartglasses Reviewed

Related: Apple Glasses Leaks and Rumors: Here's Everything We Expect to See


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:07PM (4 children)

    by Freeman (732) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:07PM (#669195) Journal

    "The low-power projector would beam a red, monochrome 400 x 150 pixel image into the lower right corner of one's visual field, thus eliminating the need of a protruding display medium." That would be why there wasn't much interest. The tiny 400x150 pixel image would have serious limitations on the usefulness of the device.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:11PM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:11PM (#669198)

      The tiny 400x150 pixel image would have serious limitations on the usefulness of the device.

      Around 1980 a 320x240 monochrome display was still "high resolution" and anything that could render readable 80 column text was "professional grade."

      It might limit market appeal, but there are plenty of applications where 5 lines of 40 characters of text are very useful - starting with PDA notes: call comes in, and top tidbits of personal information about the caller are displayed, like names of wives and kids, etc.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:15PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:15PM (#669203)

        Whether the clothes will fit, whether the guy is a threat, whether that women is indeed Sarah Connor ...

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:22PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:22PM (#669206)

          Laughing. A man was laughing hysterically in a city alleyway. Who was this man, whose energetic laughs could heal the hearts and minds of those around him? His nickname was Billy the Prankster, and he was known and adored all throughout the city for his lighthearted mischief. In fact, he was known to every person in the city after a certain prank that he pulled. And what a comical prank it was.

          Billy had played a prank on someone; that someone was a woman. But this prank was different, you see. Billy had forcibly held the woman down and violated her until she was pregnant, laughing all the while. The woman then went to the authorities and Billy was put on trial. Naturally, the court found that, since Billy was merely playing a prank on the woman's pussy, it was not True Rape. Furthermore, the court found that punishing Billy for his actions would be an egregious violation of men's rights. As such, the court deemed the lovable prankster not guilty immediately. Thanks to this prank and the trial that followed, Billy became known to - and loved by - every last person in the city. Now, back to the present.

          What was Billy doing? Why was he in an alleyway, laughing to such a degree? What was so funny? Well, it was part of Billy's latest prank! Billy's fists were playing a prank on the aforementioned woman's face, and every time they slammed down, the prank became more comical. Slam! Slam! Slam! What a hilarious prank! Billy was laughing. Billy's fists were laughing. Even the woman was laughing! But the sound of the woman's laughter was different; it sounded like a bloodcurdling scream. Billy wondered why this was so, but then remembered that everyone was unique and congratulated her on her uniqueness. Finally, the woman's face collapsed and Billy's prank was complete.

          A giggling man walked out of an alleyway. What pranks would he pull next...?

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:46PM

        by edIII (791) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:46PM (#669223)

        Yeah, but the lower right hand corner thing is stupid. It should come in two different flavors to accommodate your dominant eye, or even better, do both eyes at the same time. Although, I can see that being a problem if all the pixels turned on at the same time. I don't understand the level of transparency yet either.

        The first thing that struck me was that they're using this all wrong. It's supposed to be augmented reality, and the one thing I've been waiting for is guidance by a nice blue line. In this case it's red, but use the entire field of view and overlay a line. That way we get exceptionally close to the Terminator OS featured in the first two movies. Remember when Arnold responded that he could see everything? This would be like that, with the road outlined into the horizon, or until you see it go around a corner.

        I know we have tech to determine where an eye is focusing, so it should be possible for all of the lines to disappear until you try to go cross-eyed or something, or persistently look into your peripheral vision. In top of all that, I dunno where we are with miniaturizing night vision, but a monochrome overlay of pixels would allow you to project a monochrome video of your surroundings.

        If Terminator taught us anything, there was an impressive amount you could do with just red text and lines.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:07PM (5 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:07PM (#669196)

    I'm not sure how much legal consent to be recorded issues come into the presence/absence of a camera recording light?

    Of course, it would be simple enough to have the lighting of the light be a user-software controlled option...

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:16PM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:16PM (#669205) Journal

      On what public street, sidewalk, park, etc. am I not allowed to record in America?

      Private establishments like casinos, restaurants, bars, etc. might have their own rules about recording, but people will pull out their smartphones and record anyway, with very few getting asked to leave.

      Everyone and their privacy can get fucked. If you want privacy, stay inside at home (maybe coat the walls with IR blocking materials. If you want privacy at your business, hire a bouncer to give everyone a patdown and smartglasses check at the door. Smartphones yesterday, smartglasses tomorrow, contact lens cameras the day after...

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by fadrian on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:36PM (2 children)

        by fadrian (3194) on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:36PM (#669213) Homepage

        Don't tell me - you're one of the "Out of Touch" SV engineers they're talking about at the green site (and yes, there's enough overlap that people know what I'm talking about, except for zealots, and they don't count).

        --
        That is all.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:47PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:47PM (#669224) Journal

          Your right to record in public is very important. It helps to prevent murders by police and/or hold police accountable. Are you confused about your rights?

          And as for private businesses, you will see people pull out phones to take pictures/video/selfies all the damn time. With a shirt or pants pocket, they could capture video footage secretly, and almost certainly record embarrassing audio (try it out yourself by putting a phone in your pocket with a microphone app recording audio). That could probably be combined with some recent machine learning algorithm to quickly write a transcript or identify highlights.

          It will be a fool's errand to prevent use of all of the recording devices coming onto the market, including smartwatches, contact lenses soon enough, or cheap purpose-built spy cameras. Those who have the motive to do so will get it done ("you better not be wearing a wire").

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @07:16PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @07:16PM (#669236)

            I have to agree. We can stop the government from conducting mass surveillance on public places, but we can't do anything about individual people with recording devices. I think the answer is technology that allows people to stop all these surveillance devices from recognizing them.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday April 19 2018, @07:49PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday April 19 2018, @07:49PM (#669253)

        Varies by state. General guidance in mutual consent is "anywhere there is the expectation of privacy, mutual consent must be obtained for recording to be legal"... So, what's the expectation of privacy? In Georgia they decided that a public school classroom had the expectation of privacy for the purposes of admissibility of evidence when parents put a wire on their kid, that didn't keep the recording from getting the teacher fired, but it did keep the state from getting sued... Public street, you could spin that both ways - a) it's a public street, duh!, and b) persons making conversation at a distance from others in a public venue have an expectation that their conversation is not being overheard nor recorded from other persons > 100 yards away.

        Even at an arena sporting event with a kiss-cam, do you expect that people more than 5 rows away from you can listen clearly to your quiet conversation? Most people would expect that, but with array microphones you can cancel and enhance anywhere in the arena to the point that an array mic on the central scoreboard can listen to ANY conversation in the building clearly.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19 2018, @06:45PM (#669222)

    Nada: You see, I take these glasses off, she looks like a regular person, doesn't she? Put 'em back on...

    [puts them back on]

    Nada: ...formaldehyde-face!

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