A Definition of Virtual and Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

Although many people talk about smart glasses, to the best of my knowledge, no profound definition of smart glasses exists. Together, with my colleagues, I addressed this gap in a recent project.

Based on our theorizing and prior research, we develop the following definition of smart glasses (synonym: data glasses) that is currently in one of our working papers on research gate.


A Definition of Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

Here is our definition:

Augmented Reality Smart Glasses are defined as wearable Augmented Reality (AR) devices that are worn like regular glasses and merge virtual information with physical information in a user’s view field.

Smart Glasses are usually worn like traditional glasses or are mounted on regular glasses. Some glasses brands are already collaborating with smart glasses manufacturers. Several technologies (e.g., camera, GPS, microphones etc.) capture physical information. This information can be augmented with virtual information gathered from the internet and/or stored on the internal memory. This is primarily accomplished through location, object, facial, and image-based recognition technologies. This virtual information is then displayed in real-time on a display; which, in brief, is a plastic screen in front of a user’s eye(s). A user can see both the offline, the virtual, and the real-world through these displays.
1. Prominent examples of smart glasses are Microsoft Hololens or Google Glass.


The Difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

What’s the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? Unlike Augmented Reality Smart Glasses, where digital content is overlaid onto the real world, Virtual Reality Glasses are completely closed off from the real, physical world. Thus, VR Glasses present only a virtual world. Mircosoft uses the term Mixed Reality for their Hololens Glasses.

Augmented ersus Virtual AR vs VR Glasses. Examples of Microsoft Hololens and Oculus

Sources: Oculus.com (l) and Hololens (r)

Also, read more about my research on smart glasses here.

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