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.