Interview on Smart Glasses: 5 years into the future of AR technology

This article features an interview with Marina Poliak from Eyejets on the current industry state regarding Smart Glasses which are considered to be a main driver in the widespread adoption of Augmented Reality.

Marina Poliak is the Vice President Research & Development at Eyejets. Eyejets is an Isreali company working on innovative retinal projectors.

Marina has a natural desire to understand how things operate. She did a master’s and a doctorate in Physics, focusing her work on ion optics and laser spectroscopy. She joined EyeJets because she believes the world is headed toward widespread adaptation of smartglasses and wants to impact the technology that gets us there.

As VP R&D, she reviews all project plans ensuring the optical, mechanical, electronic, and software teams are well-aligned and meet EyeJets agreed-upon specifications.

Marina from EyeJets
What is the AR/VR vision at EyeJets?

EyeJets envisions a world where users can easily toggle between the virtual and the physical with the flick of a finger or the wave of a hand.

Today’s bulky portable technologies will be replaced by tomorrow’s lightweight wearable ones. Gone are the external screens. Enter a world where your eye, once again, is the only screen, serving as a gateway for the digital and physical combined.

What does your Smart Glasses roadmap look like?

We’re planning for EyeJets’ EyeVis 1, our preliminary prototype, to go live mid-2024. EyeVis 1 will showcase an expansive field of view. At the beginning of 2025 we’ll also add EyeVis1′ s proprietary eye-tracking feature.

EyeJets products will be implemented in mainstream technology through third-party vendors in 2027.

What are the differences and similarities with current industry giants?
Retinal Projector
Retinal Projector

We’re all offering users access to digital applications via Smart Glasses instead of a portable screen. Most AR technology relies upon bending and combining light from a projector via an optical element (special lens), directing it into the user’s eye to create virtual images.

That, however, is where the similarities end.

Companies like Vuzix, Magic Leap and HoloLens use projection coupled with holographic waveguides to project the imagery onto the lens. We, however, use reflection-based optics, combined with VRD technology, to project imagery directly onto the user’s retina.

VRD, coupled with our patented eye-tracking features, solves the following industry limitations:

  1. All-day wear – EyeJets glasses will weigh 50 grams, making them comfortable for all-day use. By eliminating the projection of the image onto a screen, we’ve eliminated much of the bulk. Currently available smartglasses are still much too heavy for all-day use.
  2. Peripheral vision – Our eye-tracking technology keeps imagery pinned at the center of the user’s eye, allowing for a vast 100-degree field of view. This provides users with access to their peripheral vision. Today’s market available smartglasses are limited by 20-50 degree FOV, and no peripheral vision.
  3. Image visibility – With the retina serving as the user’s screen, EyeJets imagery remains sharp, no matter what the lighting conditions. Today’s smartglasses technology has still not entirely solved the issue of extreme lighting. They either block out natural light entirely with a bulky immersive device like the Oculus or face screen performance issues with bright sun.
What are the biggest challenges along the way like short battery life or contrast issues?

Our greatest challenge is keeping all device components small and lightweight. Light engines (utilized for projection), optics and electronics must be miniaturized for all-day use.

The next biggest challenge is meeting the necessary power requirements. The wattage must be low enough to avoid heating artifacts while also having a high power capacity battery to fuel the device’s full day use (cable free).

Improvements in image contrast and brightness are still necessary, and there is the matter of distortion, with truly see-through technology still posing quite a challenge.

You probably remember the “Glasshole” debate with the first Google Glass – What do you think: What will be the adoption / acceptance of these technologies in the future?

The glasshole debate took place back in 2013-2014, before the age of Instagram, Tik Tok, live stories etc. While there were certainly major issues surrounding usage and respect for individual privacy, I think the “appropriate use” social norms have also shifted a bit since.

The emergence of new technologies and what is considered “appropriate use” has always been a challenge to be negotiated. A new technology emerges, early adapters try it out, the technology faces mainstream push back, accepted social norms are negotiated, and eventually if society deems the technology worthy, widespread adoption takes place.

As for EyeJets, our smartglasses technology is intended for business and professional use. Current plans do not include the addition of a camera or recording device.

What are the key use cases for AR and VR from your perspective?

I see VR’s primary use for simulations and gaming, while AR has a much wider application outreach potentially assisting in just about any technical occupation.

Health and medical fields will significantly benefit from AR’s newly acquired preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, not to mention simply easing our daily routines.

Where will we see mass adoption first?

It’s difficult to say.

Because EyeJets sells our technology for third-party licensing purposes, much will depend on the buyers. That being said, region wise, current AR/VR smartglasses research shows the average CAGR rate to be strongest in Asia Pacific. Industry-wise, gaming, healthcare, and military are currently the leading sectors.

Eye Jets
Eye Jets

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