While Google is busy preparing its Glass heads-up display for consumer launch, other device makers are releasing bigger, more immersive wearable computers. Enter the metaPRO, a 3D augmented reality platform with a screen that’s said to boast 15 times the display area of Google Glass.
The $3,000 metaPRO, which is now up for preorder and costs twice as much as the Google Glass Explorer Edition, features a design that the company says is based on aviator sunglasses. Meta says the look plays a crucial role in how wearable displays resonate with consumers.
“We wanted to make it sexy,” Meta CEO Meron Gribetz said of the metaPRO . “People’s faces will be as beautiful as they were before or even more while wearing it.”
Unlike Google’s heads-up display and the Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses, the metaPRO uses a binocular form factor. This means the glasses come with a 720p display for each eye, rather than a single display to be worn above one eye. That’s largely because the metaPRO is built to serve a different purpose than the two aforementioned wearable devices.
The metaPRO is made for augmented reality, while Glass primarily delivers notifications and brief news headlines. Gribetz tells us that current applications include a 3D sculpting app that lets users build a rocket and launch it or even play first-person shooter games.
Since the metaPRO is built to handle more demanding tasks, it features more powerful specs such as an Intel Core i5 CPU, 128GB of onboard storage and 4GB of RAM. The metaPRO weighs about 6.3 ounces, which is slightly heavier than a large smartphone such as the 5.9-ounce Samsung Galaxy Note 3. This wearable headset also comes packed with an array of sensors including dual RP video and photo sensors, 9-axis tracking and an infrared time of flight real time 3D scanner.
The metaPRO also differs from Glass in that the primary method of interaction is reaching out and touching holograms with your hands. With Google’s device, users must use voice controls or swipe the touchpad along the side of the headset. Gribetz also boasts that the metaPRO’s user interface was designed by the same man who created the UI for Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S armor for the Iron Man movies. The software is based on the Unity 3D engine, which the Meta CEO says is among the most widely used platforms among developers.
Gribetz didn’t give an exact number of apps that will be available upon launch, but said that “hundreds and thousands” of apps will be released and 1,500 developers have already purchased the kit.
In addition to a slew of AR and gaming focused apps, Meta promises to deliver features that take advantage of the eyewear’s full functionality. For example, the CEO mentioned that wearers would be able to see what another nearby metaPRO wearer is seeing and would even be able to block out real-world ads using the glasses. The headgear will also launch with fully customizable prescription options — an issue that other companies such as Google haven’t announced official solutions for yet. Gribetz says Meta is looking into providing clip-on lenses in the box for the most common prescriptions, but is also considering asking customers for their prescription when they order the device.
While the metaPRO sounds like something straight from science fiction, the truth is it’s not the only device of its kind. The Android-based, Atheer One also provides an augmented reality experience in which the user can manipulate holograms in front of them.