During MWC I had a chance to play with the curious and potentially superb Sony Ear Duo, which are a pair of wireless earphones designed to allow you to hear everything around you. There is clearly a huge augmented reality potential for this, and it was my favourite product of MWC.
Just days after this announcement Bose has announced a pair of sunglasses that also offer augmented reality functionality via audio. Unlike the Sony product, these sunglasses are being primarily focussed at AR rather than audio that can also do AR.
The Bose AR prototype goes a big step further with its functionality and will use visual information captured by the glasses and add contextually relevant audio information to its wearer.
The first prototype glasses are Bluetooth compatible for calls or to integrate with Siri or Google Assistant. A new technology developed for the glasses ensures that the audio is audible only to the listener wearing the glasses, and the acoustic packages fit inside the arms of the glasses.
Sensors in the glasses track the orientation of a listener and integrate with an iOS or Android device to track location and motion, which is sent to the AR-enabled application in the wearables.
The company is already working with ASICS Studio, Strava, TripAdvisor, TuneIn and Yelp on collaborations that will provide content for the wearables, while MIT’s Media Lab and the NYU Future Reality Lab are also playing around with prototypes.
Bose is not messing around here either; they have created a $50 million dollar fund to und to finance companies that would like to work with the new audio technology and is providing an SDK and updated glasses later this summer.
There is no word on consumer availability, and I assume this will be a while off while they perfect the hardware design and allow developers to provide software functionality.