Some of you probably remember the Google Glass project. It was the first big attempt at smart glasses technology but it gradually fell into obscurity, morphing into an enterprise niche device. Many companies have probed the idea since then but we still don’t have our pair of smart glasses to go along with our iPhone 13 Pro Max.Well, Xiaomi is the latest company to jump on the smart glasses bandwagon with a brand new concept. The design follows the conventional non-smart glasses, except that the frame is a bit thicker and not exactly stylish.
It’s worth noting that Xiaomi doesn’t have any plans to mass-produce the Smart Glasses, at least for now. If this changes at any point, the company will offer a more consumer-friendly design for sure. Back to the Xiaomi Smart Glasses and what lies inside.
The company has opted for a MicroLED display because of its longevity and pixel density. The display chip measures just 2.4mm x 2.02mm, with individual pixels sized at 4μm. It’s a monochrome display, though, and this has to do with peak brightness. When you wear the Smart Glasses outside under direct sunlight, the display inside is capable of outputting up to 2 million nits of brightness. There’s a complicated refraction system embedded into one of the lenses that projects the final image toward the eye of the user.
A connected smart device
Xiaomi also stresses that the Smart Glasses device is not just a secondary display for your smartphone. The company has managed to cramp a total of 497 components including miniature sensors and communication modules inside the glasses, which by the way weigh just 51 grams.
All this high-tech inside has allowed the Smart Glasses to act as a smart terminal, capable of some very interesting functionalities. Your smart notifications are present, of course, but there’s a smart assistant baked inside – the XiaoAi AI.
With the help of this cyber valet, users can interact with the smart glasses, issuing commands such as “Navigation”, “Phone call”, “Notifications”, and “Photo translation”. The first and the last ones are really interesting and potentially useful.Obviously, getting navigation guidance right in front of your eye is the way to go, allowing you to concentrate and not take your eyes off the road. The ability to see text translated in real-time is a potential game-changer. You won’t feel lost on your next trip to Japan, for example, getting inside an onsen bath while looking for a dinner place.
The Xiaomi Smart Glasses are equipped with an ARM-based processor and run a simplified version of Android. They also feature a 5MP camera, so you can snap photos easily, and there’s also a microphone onboard, allowing you to transcribe and translate text in real-time.
The idea behind smart glasses is a great one, for sure. There are so many possibilities when your hands are free and the display is right in front of you, at all times. Think about cyberpunk movies when the main character has a cyborg-like vision.
And Xiaomi got some things right – especially the navigation bit and real-time translation. You don’t need a high-resolution, color display to get useful information, and going for a monochrome display takes the burden off the GPU and also the battery.
It’s sad that this is just a proof of concept device. Xiaomi probably hopes to draw media attention with these glasses but our guess is that if there’s enough positive feedback, the company might greenlight a production model at some point.