Wearable glasses have long been one of the most controversial niches of the wearable tech market that still continues to draw people’s interest due to its perceived benefits. However, no one can deny the security implications of having a device that can record anyone, anywhere, and at any time. While other companies are trying to address these issues by making their devices look as normal as possible, OPPO is going the other way by leaning into the futuristic aesthetic, while completely bypassing the recording aspect entirely.
This philosophy is quite evident in the newly launched OPPO Air Glass, the company’s first AR (assisted reality) device that comes equipped with OPPO’s self-developed Spark Micro Projector, a cutting-edge Micro LED, and a bespoke diffraction optical waveguide display. This device was unveiled during OPPO INNO DAY 2021, the company’s signature annual two-day tech event.
The first thing that makes the OPPO Air Glass stand out is the look itself. It has a unique monocle waveguide design that takes inspiration from the wings of a cicada, while the main body is based on the concept of features. This can be easily noticed by looking at the touch bar, which strongly resembles the plume of a feather. The same avian theme continues on in the construction of the device as well, as even though the materials look premium and solidly built, the device itself is pretty lightweight at just 30g, with rounded edges and an aerodynamic design.
The frame houses all the components, including the projector, battery, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform based processor. The Spark Micro Projector was developed by OPPO itself, and is supposed to be one of the most compact projection systems in the industry at just 0.5cc, which is roughly the size of a coffee bean. The projector is housed in a CNC machined metal enclosure with a glass lens module to provide better heat dissipation and stability.
This display as we mentioned is powered by a Micro LED, which generates up to 3 million nits’ brightness. It has a bespoke optical diffraction waveguide that supports two display modes, a 16-level grayscale and a 256-level gray scale, with an average brightness of up to 1400 nits. The waveguide is encased between two layers of sapphire glass for enhanced protection and improved transparency.
Despite the quirky design, the company hopes to turn this into a mass-market device, which is why they are ensuring that it stays accessible to as many people as possible, including users with visual irregularities such as myopia and hypermetropia. Towards this end, the glasses will be available in a special black full-frame design for users who require corrective eyewear.
Another way in which the company hopes to make these devices more accessible is through multiple user input methods. Users can use the standard touch and voice controls to easily navigate through the interface. The device also has in-built sensors to detect specific head movements and attach functions to them as well. If you have an OPPO Watch 2 to pair the glasses with, then users can also utilize hand movements to confirm, cancel, and switch application cards. These functions will only get more complex and versatile over time.
Users will be able to use them to work with all sorts of applications, including but not limited to Weather, Calendar, Health, Teleprompter, and Translation apps, as well as Navigation. OPPO has also been working closely with Baidu to customize the latter’s Baidu Walk & Bike Navigation and Explore Nearby applications for OPPO Air Glass. They are also opening the ecosystem to third party developers by making the OPPO Air Glass SDK open source.
Through this, even more developers will be able to take part in Air Glass development, and hopefully help to expand the AR ecosystem around the technology. Let’s see how much time it takes them to make this as comprehensive as leading smartwatches ecosystems like the Apple Watch.