As participants of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) we have been offered the opportunity to get our hands on another exclusive HMD product:
The R6 smartglasses made by Osterhout Design Group (ODG).
This is the same San Francisco-based company that was responsible for the recently presented BMW MINI Augmented Reality glasses.
With a different target customer group of industry and military clients (the pentagon bought 500 units), they were able to spent a budget of USD 60 million onto the R6 device (the military version was named X6), resulting in a 6 year timeframe of development and testing. And we got the amazing chance to test it for a full week as well, as an outlook to the upcoming improved version called R7, which can already be pre-ordered for USD 2,750 and is expected to launch in Q3 2015 as an enterprise version and in 2016 as a consumer product.
We have had a great user experience and took exclusive pictures, but for the beginning we would like to start with some information about what we exactly got our hands onto, thus with the ODG R6 key facts:
- Fully integrated and untethered, no additional computing capabilities or power needed (like a tablet), providing great see-through experiences with hands-free and no-touch interactions
- RecticleOS framework as proprietary operating system on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 (Texas Instruments release) basis with a streamlined interface (single row of favorite apps on home screen + a folder with the rest of apps)
- Embedded OMAP 4470 dual-core 1.5GHz processor (together with storage and camera stored up front)
- 1 GB PoP LP-DDR2 main memory
- 16/32/64 GB flash storage
- 5 megapixel high frame rate camera (1080p @ 30 fps, 720p @ 60 fps) for object tracking and first person videos/photos
- 720p HD @ 30 fps, sunlight readable, true 3D stereoscopic see-through microdisplays, delivering a “feel-alike” 45 inch 16:9 screen with 8 feet distance focus experience in mixed reality (AR and VR capable)
- GPS onboard for geolocation
- Various sensors to determine looking direction, including 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer as well as barometer and ambient brightness detection
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR equipped (Wi-Fi Direct + Miracast supported)
- Controlled with external wireless keyboard, looking a bit like a BlackBerry to us, with trackpad and standard Android back/menu buttons
- Accompanied with wearable Bluetooth ring called “Wireless Finger Controller (WFC)” with the same standard hardware buttons, a trackpad nub and motion sensors to move cursor with motions+gestures
- Basic controls available directly on the device itself as well (optical track button, multi-function controls for home+back, power button)
- Headphone ports with magnetic connectors for full range stereo audio
- Two omnidirectional microphones (user, environment) for video calls and recordings
- Vibrating temples for haptic feedback of events and notifications
- Robust quality product: Developed to meet military-grade equipment specifications
- 650 mA battery in every sides temple, providing a total capacity of 1300 mAh, charging through magnetic connector (left temple)
- Additional battery pack by mophie is included for longer work sessions
But because an image is worth a thousand words we want no longer stay with textual information but present you the following exclusive picture gallery (click on an image to open full resolution version in new tab):
As a renowned industry expert with a lot of experience in usage of different tech gadgets, reviewer Simon Heinen summarizes his impression after one week of usage as
“the ODG glasses becoming better with each iteration and the design with an external keyboard and mouse ring is just awesome”.
What he indicates in this quote is that there are three main aspects that make the ODG R6 glasses not just another product aiming to get its slice of the cake in the growing market of AR and VR devices, but a serious competitor to highly anticipated products like Microsoft HoloLens:
- The company has a lot of experience that is incorporated in a well-engineered, sophisticated device, developed for a demanding and professional audience.
- The various input methods make it suitable for almost any use case, for example for industry scenarios like the industry 4.0 interactive AR instruction manuals or OPC UA connected machine control AR interfaces as well as for viewing end user content like virtual tours that can both be build with holobuilder.com.
- The proprietary operating system RecticleOS build on an Android basis is flexible, customizable and open enough to support any of the individual use cases mentioned in point 2.
And by the way: ODG might have had an influence on HoloLens as well, because Microsoft bought some of their patents for up to USD 150 million almost a year before announcing their holographic HMD!
So what do you think after this exclusive insight into the amazing piece of hardware, do ODG products have potential to be real competitors to other products like HoloLens? We would love to read your opinion in the comments section!