The last few days since the SmartGoggles introduction have been gratifying. The level of interest and news coverage validates are belief that the time for smarter, better goggles has come. Just like smart phones changed the way we use phones, we hope that SmartGoggles will change the way we do personal 3D.
Several people have wrote to ask about prices and features of the SmartGoggles, so I think some clarification is in order. There are two separate topics: SmartGoggles technology and SmartGoggles-based products.
SmartGoggles is an underlying architecture and technology. It allows building a new generation of 3D gaming and entertainment platforms. Think about SmartGoggles technology as you would think about a brand new quad-core processor. Yes, the processor has a price, but the processor itself is not enough to run a game – you need to build a system around it. Fortunately, SmartGoggles makes building 3D, immersive systems faster and easier, but SmartGoggles technology by itself can’t run a game.
What Sensics is working on doing is licensing and partnering SmartGoggles technology to a range of consumer electronics companies: phone, tablet, game console and PC makers who want to either build a new 3D platform or extend an existing platform to new display, natural interaction and immersion frontiers. Our hope is that these partners will collaborate with Sensics on building exciting consumer-focused products.
These products can take different shapes and features: a fully-immersive product for the ultimate 3D gaming and entertainment; a see-through model that allows true augmented reality applications; a co-processor for a tablet that extends its power and applications to 3D and natural interaction and more and more.
In order to help partners realize the potential of SmartGoggles, and at the same time “eat our own dog food”, Sensics is developing a complete product based on this technology. This product will be offered as a reference design. It will also immediately become available as a development platform to game developers, and be offered as a commercial product to the professional, academic and defense markets. Initially, this first product will not be offered directly to consumers, as it is not initially made in a consumer-friendly price range.
What features would likely be found in such a first product? I would expect the following key features, divided into three categories: processing, interaction and audiovisual.
- Dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM Processor with 1 GB of on-board memory
- Android operating system (hopefully version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Embedded 3D and graphics accelerators
- External SD card extension
- Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity for peripherals and networks
- libSensics API that provides full access to on-board capabilities
- Head tracking: yaw/pitch/roll and X/Y/Z acceleration
- First-person hand tracking in a limitless area
- 120 Hz head tracking updates, 60 Hz hand tracking updates
- Dual SXGA (1280×1024) OLED displays
- Support for 720p
- Embedded high-performance stereo headset
- Embedded microphone
With this first platform, I would imagine a few games and experiences to showcase the capabilities. Expect lots of 3D fun!