Epson Australia has introduced the company’s latest augmented reality smart glasses, the Moverio BT-300, into the Australian market, aiming to deliver a wide range of potential applications.

The BT-300 use an OLED display unlike their predecessor, the BT-200, and are claimed to be the lightest binocular see-though smart glasses announced to date.

They come with a hard-wired Android 5.1-based processor with touch pad and button that can connect to external systems via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

According to Epson, the front facing 5-megapixel camera and on-board sensors “enable the Moverio BT-300 to more precisely determine the location of objects in the real world. The Si-OLED projection system can then seamlessly render and lock 3D content to these objects, with no display background or edges in the field of view.”

At the Australian launch, Epson positioned the Moverio BT-300 smart glasses and being now mainstream and key to a wide variety of consumer, commercial and government uses including flying drones, aerial photography and videography, medical surgery, VR learning, AR learning, emergency services response and rescue operations.

The BT-300 glasses are also used by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team to assist with car development and by Manchester United Football Club to help coaches analyse players’ performance.

The key to all these uses will be applications and at the launch Epson likened the maturity of the product as being akin to that of the iPhone before the app store.

Epson Australia Consumer Division general manager, sales & marketing, Bruce Bealby, said: “We have presented the BT-300 on several occasions, but it has been fairly niche. There haven’t been many applications in the mainstream. It has been universities and R&D organisations using the product.

“It was a bit like the iPhone before the App Store. Everybody was impressed and there were some early adopters but nobody really got on board. We are at the same stage with Moverio.”

The Moverio app market is available here. When IoT Hub checked it there were close to 100 apps available. For would-be app developers there is a 34 minute YouTube video:

Epson sees a key early application, and one likely to do much to raise the product’s profile, as being to assist drone pilots.

At the launch Epson demonstrated several drones that have integrated the BT-300 so that pilot can get a heads-up display of information from the drone, including the view through its camera, while maintaining eye contact with the drone.

“Every drone pilot is aware of the new government regulations that stipulate they must keep their eyes on the drone, so all those closed displays are now illegal,” Bealby said.

“Flying drones will be a big area but wedding photographers are using them, keyhole surgeons in Japan are using them. Emergency services are a big area, architecture, engineering, and agriculture. The list goes on. Miners are using them to view opencast mines, farmers are using them to view agricultural land.”

They are also being used at the Opera to display the English language surtitles commonly displayed above the stage – with the advantage that the wearer does not need to take their eyes of the performers to read the words.

At present the BT-300 is available only from Epson’s online store for $1199 and in New Zealand for $NZ1299. Spectacle wearers can buy a frame to insert behind the lenses of the BT-300 into which they can get prescription lenses fitted.