With Google’s Project Glass nearing its first developer release, it makes sense that other companies would start announcing their own prototype head-mounted displays. The newest prototype comes from Olympus.
According to Engadget, Olympus announced its prototype MEG4.0 head-mounted display prototype today in Japan. The device is different from Google’s Project Glass in that it doesn’t come with its own pair of glasses. Instead, the MEG4.0 attaches to a user’s glasses and puts the display in the top right corner of their right lens. The device only weighs 30 grams so it shouldn’t weigh down the glasses very much.
Also unlike Google’s Project Glass (we assume), the Olympus MEG4.0 requires a smartphone in order to work. The device connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth 2.1 and uses the smartphone for processing power and to connect to the Internet. We assume the smartphone controls what’s displayed the 320×240 display in the device.
Olympus expects the device to run for eight hours on a single charge with intermittent use, or for two hours of continuous use. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but that might be average for these devices. We don’t know how long a single charge will last on Project Glass yet.
We don’t know when Olympus plans on shipping the MEG4.0, or how much it will cost. We assume the device won’t come to market for a long time , if it ever does.
It’s exciting that Olympus is competing with Google in the head-mounted display field. We’re still more interested in Google’s project, but Olympus might provide a more affordable alternative.