Epson packs features into new Android HMD

Nov 14, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

( -- A new head-mounted display from Epson will let you watch your favorite media content while inside the mall and view your car being towed outside the mall window at the same time. Its new Moverio BT-100 HMD is billed as standout of its kind. The Moverio BT-100 has transparent lenses for see-through viewing. That means the owner of a Moverio headset can view media but keep aware of physical surroundings, unlike displays that seal you off from real-world views.

The company thinks that this carries special benefits for travelers, in particular.

The headset is essentially a pair of glasses packed with features that make the transparent viewing possible. You wear a wraparound band of over your eyes. The special nature of the device is that you are able to see the as well as the display. For those who wear prescription glasses, the vendors say that the device fits easily over glasses too.

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Moverio comes with earbuds, a control unit, detachable , 4GB and 1GB storage. Moverio’s Android 2.2 platform has web browsing capabilities. Battery life is six hours.

Epson in announcing the device is making much of its expertise in imaging technologies and how well the expertise has translated into Moverio.

House of Japan explains how it works: Two LCD panels are attached to the right and left parts of the frame of the glasses. Images displayed on the LCD panels are magnified by lenses and projected to light guide plates placed in the lens parts of the glasses.

When the shade attached to the front side of the HMD is removed, the transmittance of the parts that display video is about 80 percent. With the shade, the transmittance is lowered to about 10 percent.

“The Moverio BT-100 delivers a perceived image equivalent to that of a 320-inch display viewed from 20 meters away,” according to the company press release. The resolution, says the company, ensures that the experience is similar to watching a big-screen projection, even when the user is in confined environments such as planes and trains.

Epson targets the traveler who wants a virtual experience but would prefer not to be impervious to the real world at the same time. The Epson promotional announcement shows a man sitting pensively looking out the airplane window while wearing the device, suggesting the world is not completely cut off when he watches a movie. The device allows him to see through the projected image so that he is always aware of his surroundings.

Epson’s product line ranges from printers and projectors to sensors and other microdevices, and is led by Japan-based Seiko . In Japan, the HMD will be released later this month. Reports on pricing vary, but most expect the price to range from about $643 to $650.

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More information: Press release

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1 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2011
Resolution not specified = something to hide.
not rated yet Nov 14, 2011
Cool gadget. Stupid video.
not rated yet Nov 14, 2011
Resolution not specified = something to hide.

The linked article says it's QHD (quarter HD) which would be 960 by 540 at 16:9 aspect ratio.
Not stellar, but not too bad, either (slightly better than DVD resolution which is 720 by 480 (NTSC) or 720 by 576 (PAL))
Enough for travel/casual use.

But seriously: The guy in the suit in the picture looks like a dork with those glasses. This will definitely need some design overhaul before being anything but a techno-geek item.
not rated yet Nov 14, 2011
He's watching 3D porno
not rated yet Nov 14, 2011
I've tried things like this in stores and have been thoroughly unimpressed. The statement "looks like a x inch screen from y meters away" never seem to be as advertised. It felt like only a small portion of my visual field was being used. I preferred the standard screen on my phone. But hey, here's hoping it gets better. Judging by 6 inch B/W screens becoming HD flat panel color displays in just 50 years, I don't see how this couldn't become amazing.
1 / 5 (6) Nov 16, 2011
He's watching 3D porno

I would be