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Oh Frabjous Day!

On few occasions have I been so happy to be wrong. I’m usually the first to admit it when I am, but I can’t usually claim honestly that it makes me happy to have made a mistake.

Over the weekend, Robert A. Rice, Jr., one of whose blog posts actually prompted me to start this blog (see my first post), stated in a comment thread for one of my previous posts that he had firsthand experience of the AV920 Wrap prototype, and that it is, in fact, a true optical see-through HMD. Well, always the skeptic, and generally not one to take another’s word for it without being able to see and read their face, I called up Vuzix. They didn’t have Press Relations or General Inquiry options on their PBX, so I wrote them an email instead. Well, email being the easily put-off medium that it is, I received no response to my inquiry regarding the true nature of the AV920 Wrap’s display technology.

So… I finally called back yesterday and figured that Vuzix is a small enough company that I could probably speak to pretty much anybody there. To cut myself off before this post gets any MORE long-winded: The AV920 Wrap is, according to its manufacturer, a true optical see-through HMD. That is very exciting news. Now, I don’t think that they’d tell me this if it weren’t true, but I’ll truly believe it when I’ve had the chance to look through a pair for myself. I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t state this explicitly on their web site or in their literature, unless maybe it was a strategic decision to lure their potential competitors into a false sense of security.

People (myself among them) have been bitching about the lack of an optical see-through HMD, or really a HUD, on the consumer market. If we’re actually going to see one this Fall, I can wait (somewhat) patiently. We’ve waited this long, and the AV920 Wrap was only just announced this past CES. If another CES rolls around and it isn’t on the market, then we have a problem. But Vuzix has delivered everything they’ve promised up until this point, and I adore my VR920 HMD, so I’m more than happy to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • http://artimes.rouli.net rouli

    Have you seen this press-release about the VR920 from yesterday?
    http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/25/vuzix-dips-toes-in-augmented-reality-makes-video-eyewear-cool-a/

    • bzerk

      I have now. Thank you ;-) Was on vacation, and even more out of “the loop” than usual. Nice. At first I balked, thinking it was $100 webcam. I’ve got a $30 Creative webcam electrical-taped to mine. But then… that little optical beaconing device looks sweet. I wonder if it’s got an accelerometer on board? Or if it’s strictly IR tracking. Regardless, I like it. And then software from Metaio. Mmmm… can this thing run on a netbook running Windows? GMA950… Could be okay for basic stuff, right? I don’t know enough about the Atom’s strengths and weaknesses to know. I’m kinda psyched… but stereoscopy is so key, and the VR920 supports it. Vuzix, you mocked one up for the AV920 Wrap. Why not for the VR920? I mean, I’ve played CoD4 stereoscopically on it (virtually unplayable at the time because of the way the game renders the sights), so is the problem the stereo image analysis? Because just passing the feeds straight through would be fine. We’re not talking iris tracking variable focus p/t/z cameras here. Just two properly spaced adjustable-focus webcams. Autofocus would be nice. That’s all I want right now, if I can’t have transparency.

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