Meta Pro Glasses Claim To Deliver Iron Man 3D Augmented Reality Computing

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 18 2013 1:47 PM

When Google Glass was first announced, I'm not sure too many people foresaw the onslaught of wearable computing devices that was to come. Google didn't create the product-type, of course, but it did create a product that intrigued not only regular consumers, but competitors as well. In a couple of years, whether you're looking for a smartwatch or a pair of glasses, it seems that the selection to choose from will be amazing.

On the topic of "amazing", Meta's upcoming augmented reality glasses look to be just that. Engadget had the chance to visit the company and check out its upcoming flagship augmented reality product, Meta Pro, and what's in store is undeniably impressive. Impressive too is the projected (no pun) $3,000 pricetag.

Imagine sitting on your couch while wearing a pair of Meta Pro glasses, and flicking an interactive window over to the wall next to you. While watching your TV or playing a video game, you can look between the TV and the wall to keep on top of whatever's there - it could be a chat, a walkthrough for the game you're playing, or anything else.

That's cool, but now you need a good stretch and decide to get up and walk around. All the while, the app window you opened up will remain just where you left it, and visible regardless of which angle you view it from. It's unclear if you'd be able to actually leave the room and come back to find it still there, but with the advanced sensors the Meta Pro will feature, it could happen.

Augmented reality like this has been seen in movies and video games for some time. The first time I saw something like this was in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, where the game's credits and other text would scroll along random flat surfaces. I found the technique to be cool - here, we're close to seeing it become a reality.

Part of what helps make Meta Pro so accurate is its 9-axis inertial measurement sensor, and also advancements made to hand-tracking technology. None of this is possible without some apt computing power, however, so don't expect to put on a pair of Meta Pros and just walk off. The final design will have you wear a computer around your waist which will connect to the glasses via a thin cable. The PC itself boasts impressive specs (Intel Core i5, 4GB of RAM, 128GB storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 32WHr battery), so clearly, it's not going to be the most convenient solution. We'd imagine the final PC design won't be too large, given it's to be worn, but the Core i5 CPU proves it's not going to be that small, either.

Meta's developer kits, called Meta.01, will be available soon for about $667, while the far more feature-rich and advanced Meta Pro should become available next summer for $3,000.

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JoshuaFox replied on Wed, Dec 18 2013 3:33 PM

They really need to figure these kinda things out to suit those of us with prescription glasses...

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The Elvis impersonators will love those.

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No video damn.... still cool though.

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DC7 replied on Wed, Dec 18 2013 4:54 PM

Amen on the prescription awareness.

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Way to expensive and having to wear crap around your waist is goofy

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sevags replied on Wed, Dec 18 2013 7:13 PM

The price will come down that's a given. The glasses themselves don't cost 3k, the computer specs are that of a MS Surface Pro minus the multitouch screen and it itself is worth about $500 so you would be paying only $2500 for the glasses lol but that price will definitely drop. I appreciate them thinking about mobile uses and designed it as a belt however how comfortable that belt it, the weight, how hot it gets, if it makes any sort of noise, and how discreet it is will all play major factors.

The biggest downside I am seeing in all this is the battery strapped your waist! Heat issue aside, there is always a chance of a faulty battery or charger that can make this blow up while you are wearing it. Making matters worse is the fact that to watch HD content or play games on this the 32whr battery isn't enough (not to mention the cpu and graphics will run faster while plugged in) and many people at home will opt to have it plugged into a wall socket now you have electricity and a LION battery around your core. All batteries, caps, and transistors better be top of the line with aggressive binning and strict quality control.

ORRRRR they can just release the glasses for use with home PC's and laptops cutting out the belt and battery all together while driving down the price. Needless to say I want one.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Dec 18 2013 7:26 PM

Neuromancer here we come we just need a headjack!

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kalqlate replied on Wed, Dec 18 2013 8:43 PM

Brilliant product, but I'm having a tough time understanding why the glasses can't be wireless and untethered with the computing box sitting in a convenient place or actually be the capable home computer a user already has. If the glasses were IP-based, and if the virtual displays were databased in the cloud or if the base station had enough memory, you could leave virtual displays ANYWHERE... on the sides of buildings as you commute to work, on the office wall at work, etc. It seems that the developer wants to sell a proprietary solution that includes an OVER-PRICED computer. If so, they would be wiser to go for selling the glasses and open the system to PCs. The product would then gain traction through greater affordability. Otherwise, it will be relegated to niche territory and eventually fail as other tech companies pick up the mantle and produce lower-cost solutions.

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sevags replied on Thu, Dec 19 2013 10:18 AM

Kalq; a few reasons why the glasses can't be wireless are that it would the. Require it's own battery making it heavier and more expensive, wireless connectivity may not be able to handle the video transmission especially without lag, and you keep wifi or BT away from the head as much as possible... Just to name a few.

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JDiaz replied on Thu, Dec 19 2013 12:43 PM

But give it another decade and they'll be able to put the whole thing inside the equivalent of a Google Glass setup...

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