Plenty of companies have attempted smart wearables in different forms, but getting people to put on enhanced eyewear has become the gold standard, and it's a formula nobody has truly cracked yet. However, like many others, Samsung is in the process of developing its own pair of smart glasses, and a couple of leaked concept videos demonstrate a series of ambitious goals that might be available when (or if) these spectacles launch.
These videos come from WalkingCat (@_h0x0d_) on Twitter. The thing to keep in mind is that these are very much concepts of how the glasses might be used, not necessarily what the current prototypes or future products will be capable of.
The first video includes close-ups of the thick frame of the glasses — which look just similar enough to the Snapchat Spectacles that it's hard not to picture them. The demos highlight the potential for the glasses to be used for playing games, watching videos, mirroring a Dex display to write an email, taking a video call, and getting an FPV view while flying a DJI drone. There are also sections that highlight a couple of the other non-video features, including control through a smart watch and a special Sunglasses Mode that tints the lenses for use in bright daylight.
The second video pushes into far more optimistic territory with immersive holographic video calls, AR simulations, and full-body gesture recognition. There's also an opening clip of examining and interacting with fairly intricate text in some office documents. These things seem much more aspirational, as it relies on capabilities that shouldn't be possible with the glasses alone.
The physical design of the glasses is fairly chunky, and the initial concept videos do show small glass reflectors suspended at eye level, somewhat similar to the prisms used in Google Glass. The model also squeezes part of the right arm to activate Sunglasses Mode, but it's unclear if it's a button or something else. Outside of these details, there's no sign of cameras, sensors, or other types of controls.
Most of the functions demonstrated in the first video aren't all that different from things seen in other products and prototypes. Mirroring video from a phone or other source is fairly simple, though it can be difficult to get it looking right when the views have to be presented in stereoscopic form — i.e. showing the same thing to both eyes. Likewise, the Sunglasses Mode is likely achieved with electrochromic glass, which OnePlus (via Oppo) and Vivo have been experimenting with.
The challenges presented with those features may come down to familiar issues like battery life, performance, and resolution. For example, videos may look fine because our brains can adjust to an imperfect stereoscopic image when we're watching video, and even writing an email will be fine if the text is reasonably large; but it gets a lot harder to read smaller text if the images aren't perfectly lined up.
Several companies are working on smart eyewear products, some aimed at business and industrial use like Microsoft and Google, while Facebook and Apple are known to be working on consumer-oriented products. Samsung's concept videos seem to suggest these glasses are intended for all types of use cases, or at least that's how it's being marketed internally.