AR in Eyewear and Headsets: New Developments in the Industry

by Jones David

Expanding beyond entertainment

Once synonymous with gaming and entertainment, AR headsets have expanded their reach to various industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and education. With AR smart glasses, surgeons can to access the important information without looking away from a procedure. They can also expedite prep times before surgery and collaborate better with remote clinical teams. Otherwise, AR headsets enable remote collaboration among professionals, facilitating knowledge sharing and decision-making. Beyond entertainment, the versatility of AR headsets is unlocking a myriad of applications, transforming industries, and enhancing productivity.

Transforming the consumer experience

AR technology has brought remarkable transformations to the eyewear industry. AR-powered smart glasses now provide wearers with real-time information overlay, making everyday tasks more efficient and immersive. Xreal, according to co-founder Peng Jin, projects a screen in front of the wearer who simultaneously sees the real world. Meanwhile, Apple’s Vision Pro includes tech that can offer users a digitally simulated immersive experience.

In retail, AR technology manifests via virtual try-ons and smart mirrors. The former’s technology allows shoppers to try on glasses online, providing a realistic preview of how different eyewear frames look on their faces. Meanwhile, the latter helps opticians select progressive lens designs for clients by immediately measuring pupillary distance and all other eye measurements. These immersive experiences empower consumers to make confident and informed decisions before purchasing, reducing the need for physical try-ons or refunds and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Game-changing acquisitions and collaborations

A day after unveiling its Vision Pro AR headset in June 2023, Apple announced its acquisition of AR headset startup Mira. This strategic move sent ripples of excitement throughout the tech world, indicating Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of AR technology and potentially expanding the market for AR headsets. It is still unclear how this acquisition will affect Apple’s future products. However, Apple’s expertise in design and user experience is expected to accelerate the adoption of AR headsets among mainstream consumers as the tech giant forays deeper into the AR space.

Meanwhile, other AR companies are forming strategic partnerships with fashion brands to appeal to a broader consumer base. These collaborations create stylish and aesthetically pleasing smart glasses that seamlessly integrate technology into everyday fashion. By shedding the bulky and conspicuous image of early AR glasses like Google Glass, partnerships such as that of Ray-Ban and Meta are making AR eyewear more appealing to a wider audience, with the resulting Ray-Ban Stories encompassing the styles of the famous Wayfarer or even Meteor frames. Such collaborations highlight the potential for AR technology to blend seamlessly with fashion, making it more accessible and appealing to consumers.

These recent developments signify the industry’s potential for growth and mainstream adoption. The future of AR in eyewear and headsets thereby looks incredibly promising, despite initial bumps. As AR technology advances and the competition grows tighter, we can expect more affordable, compact, and user-friendly products until AR becomes an indispensable tool.

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