[CEATEC 2013] We spent some time with the Vuzix M100 smart glasses before the super long queues were formed, and here are some of our impressions on it. The hardware is based off the Vuzix M100 of course, but the software was powered by NTT docomo. We mentioned in passing that this particular pair of glasses would be able to identify someone’s face using facial recognition technology, before it communicates with a server to pull out information on a person for you to see. Here is what we think about it.
Needless to say, since this is a working proof-of-concept, the entire process is not exactly smooth. There are plenty of kinks to be worked out at the moment, with one of them being size and battery life. Wearing this throughout the entire day at the office might not be the most comfortable solution for everyone, especially for folks like me who wear a pair of glasses. Unless the Vuzix M100 or other future eyewear hardware has been configured to arrive in a modular for factor, it can be rather challenging to have it focus on a person’s eye when he or she wears glasses – especially thick rimmed ones. Of course, the other solution would be to wear a pair of contacts, but that is another story for a different day.
Before identifying someone, the other person should remain stationary – which means you are unable to take a glance at a person who walks by you for the facial recognition technology to work, since it is not that sensitive just yet. I guess since this is still a work in progress, it might probably be more sensitive in the future so that you can “look up” information on the other person in a jiffy without making he or she feel as though you are staring too intensely.
Basically, this system requires a whole lot of input from the users themselves – the more information you provide to the central database, the more others will know about you. Imagine pulling up a person’s Facebook profile (condensed version) in the future, who knows that such a thing could actually happen? Right now, it will basically inform you of the person’s position in the company, name, employee ID, the usual stuff that you see on someone else’s workplace badge. Unless more information is fed, it will remain a fancy way of getting to know someone at the office when you could just do it the old fashioned way – by asking and striking an actual conversation with a human. At least it saves us the embarrassment of forgetting someone’s name when we meet them sometime down the road…
Right now, we are not quite sure just how much battery life does the app and the hardware use up, but will it be able to last throughout the working day? I am assuming that it connects to a local wireless hotspot for in-building use, as to have it hook up to a mobile data connection all day long is simply too much for the battery to handle, unless you would want to have an unsightly battery pack connected to the smart glasses. That’s just my opinion.
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