- Vuzix announced the first pair of augmented reality smart glasses with Alexa integration
- Wearers can use their voice to have Alexa superimpose information in the field of view
- Vuzix looks to launch the AR glasses during the second quarter of 2018
Voice assistants and augmented reality are expected to be some of the more highlighted fields during this year’s CES, so it makes sense for US-based startup Vuzix to announce its pair of AR smart glasses with a neat party trick.
Talking with Bloomberg, Vuzix confirmed that its pair of AR glasses will be the first with Amazon‘s Alexa voice assistant integration. In an interview with the outlet, Vuzix CEO Paul Travers said you can issue voice commands to Alexa and have information displayed on your field of view, so long as you have an Amazon account.
Amazon confirmed Vuzix’s claim of being first with Alexa-backed AR smart glasses and said it is “excited about the potential of the glasses and the ability to bring Alexa to customers in a new way.”
Travers said his company hopes to ship the AR glasses sometime during the second quarter of 2018 for around $1,000. The CEO acknowledges that is a significant amount of money to drop on smart glasses and says the goal is to bring the price down to $500 by 2019.
Looking at the big picture, it makes sense for Alexa to make its way to glasses. After all, Amazon opened up its voice assistant to be integrated into microwaves, electric cars, and a multitude of wearable devices, so it’s clear the goal is to have Alexa in as many places as possible.
At the same time, will AR glasses be successful? Apple and Google have embraced AR with ARKit and ARCore, respectively, with Apple heavily rumored to release its own AR glasses by 2019. Travers also expects “everyone” to release AR glasses “sooner or later,” so there is clearly interest from several big companies.
Even so, Google Glass was a failure, and though the company has since launched an enterprise-oriented headset, the question of whether AR glasses can carve out a space in the market remains.
Personally, I’m optimistic. I’d like to think that technology has changed quite a bit from the days of Google Glass, at least on the AR front, and it’s only a matter of time until the technology gets properly nailed down. We’ll have to wait and see whether Vuzix’s Alexa-backed AR glasses does that when it becomes available later this year.