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March 8, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 7:38am

The world through augmented reality: 5 AR headsets, what they do and how much they cost

List: From GPS directions delivered right to your eye, to photographing anything at the click of a button, AR headsets are set to augment the way we see the world.

By Joao Lima

The augmented reality (AR) space will see the number of shipments grow 16 times in volume by 2018, when compared to 2015.

According to CCS Insight, the market value associated with this technology will also boom to $3.6 billion in two years time, up from last year’s $300 million.

The significant growth in the use of AR headsets is mostly due to their use in industries such as logistics, support, design, medicine and education.

CBR lists five AR headsets bringing the technology to reality.

Meta 2


Price: $949

The Meta 2 headset brings with it a powerful 2560×1440 display resolution.

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Developed by Meta Vision, The device has a 90-degree field of view and a front camera with 720p. It also has a sensor array for hand interactions and positional tracking and a four speaker near-ear audio system.

Wearers can also control the volume and brightness of the screen via in-built bottoms. The Meta 2 also has a snapshot button that allows users to take picture of the surroundings without the need to recur to their smartphone.

The company has also included a nine foot HDMI 1.4b cable for video, data and power purposes. The Meta 2 currently only works with Windows 8 and 10.

It offers support for Windows applications including Microsoft Office, Adobe and Spotify. Meta Vision plans to introduce Mac support later in the year.

Meta investors backing the development of the device include the VegasTechFund, Dolby, Horizons Ventures, and others.



micro holo

Price: $3,000

Microsoft’s HoloLens is set to start shipping on March 30 and will be one of the most expensive AR devices in the market today with a battery life of two to three hours for active users.

The set automatically calibrates papillary distance, has two HD 16:9 light engines and a holographic resolution of 2.3 million light points.

Microsoft has embedded in the device four environment understanding cameras, one depth camera and a 2MP photo and HD video camera.

With the cameras, users can also experience what Microsoft has called mixed reality capture (MRC), meaning that those wearing the device can not only photograph the surroundings but take a picture of the AR graphics they are seeing and share it with others.

HoloLens also includes four microphones , one ambient light sensor, an Intel 32 bit architecture and a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU 1.0). Wearers can create and shape holograms with gestures, communicate with apps using your voice and navigate with a glance.

The device includes buttons to control the built-in speakers, screen’s brightness and a power button. It has a Wi-Fi 802.11ac connection and runs on Windows 10. The headset does not need to be connected to a PC via a cable to operate.



sony ar

Price: $899

Sony’s SmartEyeglass is an AR eyewear device with a wired controller. The device pairs with Android phones running 4.4 and above via wireless LAN and Bluetooth 3.0.

The headset comes with an accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor, microphone and noise suppression sub microphone.

With a battery life of 2.5 hours, if the 3MP camera is being used, the display resolution is set at 419×138, with the virtual screen size measuring 2.7×0.8m.

Users also have an app store where they can download different applications to be used with the device, including a voice control app, a real-time translation and a location-based real-time tweet collector.

Sony has also release the SmartEyeglass SDK platform to allow developers to create new apps using the device’s camera, GPS and sensors.


Moverio BT-200

epson aR

Price: £519.99 (nearly $740 as of March 7)

Running on Android 4.0.4 and above, Epson’s Moverio BT-200 comes in two different parts: the glasses and a controller.

With an in-built camera, gyroscope, GPS, compass and accelerometer, the glasses can read and understand the user’s surrounding.

The glasses project an image of up to 320 inches in qHD resolution across the entire field of vision, with the ability to watch side-by-side 3D content.

Moverio BT-200 comes with a 1.2GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM, and Dolby Digital Plus sound system. It has 8GB of internal memory and storage can be increased to 32GB via SD card.

The binocular display device also connects with a remote controller via a cable. The controller helps to expand the battery life up to six hours and enhances the GPS and compass functions of the product.

Epson’s glasses connect to other devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and Miracast.




Price: $590

With the first devices set to be shipped by May, Laforge’s Shima is what the company claims as being the only prescription ready AR set in the market.

Formerly known as Icis, Shima has an ARM processor and a Bluetooth 4.1 connection. The device includes several sensors such as a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, a three-axis magnetometer, and a temperature and ambient light sensors.

The headset includes a small touchpad on the side of the glasses that let the user control the different features of the gadget, including apps, music and more.

Embedded buttons also let wearers change the display. The Beta version of Shima includes a camera to take pictures and also records video.

The glasses also have a driving mode that is automatically awaken when the vehicle exceeds 17mph. The driving screen shows o the right hand side the car’s speed, incoming messages and time of the day. On the left side, the driver will see live GPS information.


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