At a quick glance, the Glyph looks like another pair of headphones. However, Avegant, the company behind the device, calls it a new type of “mediawear” because of a unique feature: In addition to using it as a normal headset, you can use the Glyph to watch videos, movies and TV shows thanks to the two lenses attached to the headband.
The company took a different approach to video display on these lenses (which have a resolution of 1280x720p per eye), using a method it calls “screenless display.” The image is first projected from a small, low-power LED before it passes through a series of optics and a micro-mirror array containing two million mirrors. These mirrors shape the lighting to fit your eye. After traveling through another set of optics, the image is finally projected onto your retina. Avegant said that the method provides a more “natural” and “effortless” experience for your eyes.
With this device, Avegant wants to knock out two birds with one stone: provide the usual audio, but also include video capabilities to a headset so that you don’t have to watch videos on a separate device. You can listen to music with the standard 3.5mm cable, but in order to watch videos you’ll need to connect to the headset via microHDMI input. It works with various devices that support HDMI display out, such as smartphones, tablets, game consoles, laptops and even drones. However, some devices will require an additional HDMI adapter to work with the Glyph. It also supports 360-degree videos thanks to its nine-axis IMU headtracking sensor, and you can also view 3D media, because it supports up to 720p side-by-side content. For those with eyeglasses, the lenses can also be adjusted so that you can see clear images without using your glasses.
In terms of battery life, you’ll only have four hours to watch a movie or TV show before you need to recharge the Glyph via microUSB. However, you can still use the 3.5mm cable to listen to music while it recharge the batteries for video.
In addition to showing off the Glyph at CES next week, Avegant will begin to ship the first batch of Glyph devices sometime in January. The crowdfunding campaign started nearly two years ago, when Avegant asked for $250,000. One month later, the goal was easily surpassed with the final tally at $1,509,506. In August the company received an additional $24 million in funding.
The extra funds will allow Avegant to build more Glyphs, if there’s a demand for it, but it could also be used to improve the device’s features and hardware for future iterations. If you want to get in on the action now, it will cost you a sizable sum. You can pre-order it for $599 before it ships, but if you prefer to buy it once it hits store shelves or Amazon (sometime in early 2016), you’ll have to fork over $699.
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