November 28
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AR as the Next Big Thing

A short juxtaposition of all leading projects and companies in the AR-glasses bubble.
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Copyright Windows Central | Concept design

Introduction

There are only a few moments in tech history, which are worth being classified as big. Those are products that affect our everyday lives change the way we live, work, communicate, or do literally anything in society. They shape our future by creating new working fields or communities -they basically turn the whole world upside down. 30 years ago. Nobody could have predicted such an established future as being a mobile app developer because they didn’t even have mobile phones. Though we know that 95% percent of all human predictions are wrong, it is safe to say that augmented glasses will come and change our lives. But what are those strange devices? We all have probably seen Google’s early approach, creating clunky and intimidating framings with cameras and sensor. However, the future of AR got so much more to offer.
Tech companies are researching Smart Glasse for years now. It is interesting to see which different approaches in technological specs and use-cases are being taken. Now I will introduce you to some different ideas being taken by some of the most establishes and known tech brands out there.

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Google

Google is probably known for its early approach of building the google glasses, which unfortunately flopped. Google did not focus on aesthetics. Also, all glasses were equipped with a full HD camera that was really intimidating to people. It seems like google was just a little too early for its time in AR. However, recently they acquired North, a market-leading company and already selling its glasses for over two years now.
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Official Focals by North | Release early 2019 — acquired and abandoned by Google 2020
The only problem, which kept North glasses called Focals from booming, was the complex and extensive production. To get some glasses of your own, you would first go to one of their only to local shops in Brooklyn or Toronto buy a par for a thousand bucks, wait 8 weeks and come back for final revision. That was the reason why they also just sold about a thousand glasses. So even though their product was awesome, the whole business concept didn’t work out. Google already has some patterns for automatically adjustable glasses, which would have no need to tested and adjusted in a local store. Buying North was a great way for Google to cut development as well as time cost. The industry is moving quickly. Therefore, it is easier to acquire, then to develop. Having in mind, that North earlier that decade also acquired Intels glass project, Google just bought itself in with market-leading technology. A customer can (hypothetically) create a 3D model of his head using apples facial recognition sensors and automatically send it in with the order.
Google has not yet set a release date. However, they completely stopped support and development for the current Focals, letting people assume they are using all available workforces to work on their new product.

Facebook

Facebook, another big player in the AR industry, is planning to release its Aria glasses this year. Mark Zuckerberg proudly announced himself, that they are currently working together with Luxottica, the maker of the all loved all fashion Ray Ben branding, developing some stylish, yet futuristic and ordinary glasses. He states that it is important that the glasses will not look like it is spying on people. Therefore they are supposed to not even look like smart glasses. In 2014, Facebook already acquired Oculus for 2 billion Dollars. This seems like it's been a good investment, unfortunately, though, his ideas of AR’s future seem not to line up with what they are currently working on or what they will release this year. Those years glasses won’t even be smart. They won’t even have a display, let alone some kind of assistant. The only things they will have are many sensors and cameras recording and protocoling anything around itself, including its user. Officially they are supposed for influencers and inside-mapping. However, this really seems ethically questionable, especially having facebook’s latest updates on WhatsApp and its general opinion on users privacy in mind.
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Official Facebook Aria Project | Upcoming Release 2021

Apple

There is one company though, which is completely going in the opposite direction. Apple. Over the past 8 years, Apple has secretly employed more than 500 people working on its “Apple Glasses” project. However, even though Apple has not yet given any official information, it is safe to say this product will happen in the next 3 years. While Facebook is focusing a lot on cameras, Apple plans to use only sensors, as they give the people the privacy they deserve during their everyday circumstances. Apple is focusing on aesthetics, as well. Apple’s advantage: it has the possibility to drastically reduce components needed inside the glasses, making framing and a general “normal” look easier to imitate. Since they not only develop Glasses, they will be able to outsource all performance tasks like the object or facial recognition to users iPhones, much like done with the first Apple Watch generation. The devices will communicate using a low-frequency Bluetooth connection, leaving the glasses with sensors, a sender, a holographic display and a battery in the framing. Apple glasses will be deeply integrated into Apple’s ecosystem, making it hypothetically a compelling, helpful product for our future.
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Concept Design for apple glasses by Martin Hayek

Own Opinion

AR glasses will shape our really near future. We cannot yet predict the impact those devices will have, but there are endless opportunities to build up software on those devices. Whether you want to build you own cloud-based computing operation system, giving users the possibility to have a full dual-screen desktop experience basically everywhere, or if you want to build a new interactive chat system — you can! We are on a multi-billion dollar shift that will create new fields, jobs and connections. In my opinion, it will change our society, how we communicate, how we live and interact with people, for good, or for bad!
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