My recent neglect of the Augmera blog can be attributed to an exciting new project I’ve been working on over the past several months. This project is focused on the augmented reality smart glasses market. The AR glasses industry is still in its infancy. It is predictably fragmented as the products themselves take on different form factors, utilize an array of features and exhibit a range of technological sophistication. It may take several years for the marketplace to sort out what AR glasses should do, what they should look like and how much they should cost.

To address this uncertainty, I have developed the Augmented Reality Glasses Buyer’s Guide. The guide is a free, interactive online knowledge base that explains the key technological components and their roles in rendering AR experiences. The guide currently contains over 45 products that are on the market today or are in development and have promise to hit the market in the near future. At the heart of the guide is a database that I have been developing for the past several months. This database contains nearly 50 data points about each product. Users can interact with the guide to filter the products across many criteria. The guide also facilitates the side-by-side comparison of products by these features.

The Augmented Reality Glasses Buyer’s Guide is to make its official debut at the 2016 Augmented World Expo on June 1. It is officially published by AugmentedReality.org who also puts on the Expo. It’s founder, Ori Inbar, inspired me to create the guide and provided invaluable guidance, feedback and promotion. 

The marketplace is certain to continue to move quickly and I plan to keep the site up to date to include new products as well as update existing products. Companies that make AR glasses can provided new and updated information by communicating this to me at info@ARGlassesBuyersGuide.com. I also intend to expand the number of data points that are being tracked in the database to include the more esoteric specifications.

The site is now live and you can view it at www.ARGlassesBuyersGuide.com. Be sure to come back to this post to let me know what you think. Happy browsing!

Last week I was invited to be a guest on David Robertson’s Innovation Navigation radio show on Sirius XM to discuss augmented reality. I befriended David whilst cycling across the great state of Iowa on the venerable RAGBRAI ride in 2013. David is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School where he teaches Innovation and Product Development in Wharton’s undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs.

Innovation Navigation features world-renowned thought leaders, accomplished executives, and distinguished faculty from around the world and is part of the Wharton Business Radio Network, available on SiriusXM channel 111 through the SiriusXM Internet Radio smartphone App, as well as online at siriusxm.com. David and I discussed AR technology, its use cases and the state of the industry. You can listen to five minutes of highlights from the 25 minute interview here. I was in good company on this edition of the show. Preceding me was a talk with a representative from the AeroMobil flying car company.

Here’s a use case I hadn’t thought of. It’s coming from none other than Rolls Royce.

“The windows of the bridge serve as augmented reality displays of the vessel’s surroundings, including visualisation of potential hazards that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye. The system can, for example, pinpoint sea ice or tug boats and other craft that may not be visible to the crew, especially on large container ships.”

This is very cool stuff, but I have to wonder if in an age when self driving cars are speeding quickly toward reality if it’s really necessary to put people on cargo ships at all any more. Why shouldn’t they be piloted remotely by captains who can sleep at home after their shift is over. If we can fly high speed drones in Afghanistan from bunkers in Nebraska there’s no reason we cannot do this.

As AR begins to gain in popularity, our society will be forced to make certain provisions for, and restrictions on its use. This is an excellent example I found here where playing Google’s Niantic Lab’s Ingress game on Colorado Spring’s Schriever Air Force Base touched off a minor panic. The investigation was kicked off after a base patrol questioned a visitor who was taking pictures near the base’s 9/11 display. The result, as of this month, is that Ingress and other geo-location games like it are banned from the base. Base personnel are prohibited from playing those games or from escorting anyone onto the base to play the game. In what other scenarios do you see AR interfering with sensitive proceedings? Driving maybe? Maybe not — depends on the application.