Today we’re proud to announce the SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview) in support of the light-weight SmartEyeglass transparent lens eyewear. The transparent lenses have excellent brightness, allowing information to be superimposed and clearly viewed, in the wearer’s natural field of view. With the launch of the SmartEyeglass SDK (with an emulator included), we hope to give developers an opportunity to start developing apps in the innovative field of in-view augmented reality. This sets the foundation for a varied, exciting ecosystem of experiences to support the product at launch.
SmartEyeglass provides a clear and comfortable viewing experience. The transparent lenses are only 3.0mm thick, and they have an 85% see-through transmittance and 1000 cd/m2 brightness. The monochrome display ensures low energy consumption, while still having a high luminance. Altogether, this unique holographic light-guiding display guarantees clear vision and full readability in different lighting conditions, while the information is displayed at a distance in front of your eyes.
The viewing is binocular, with no visible half-mirror combiners partially covering your eyes. No mechanical adjustments are needed for SmartEyeglass, just put them on and you’re ready to go. SmartEyeglass connects with your Android phone or tablet, where apps collect sensor data and produce visual output back to the eyewear.
SmartEyeglass includes the following specifications:
- Binocular see-through eyewear with a wired controller.
- 419(H) × 138(V) px display resolution.
- Monochrome green display with 8bit color depth.
- 1000 cd/m2 maximum brightness.
- More than 85% see-through transmittance.
- Accelerometer, gyro, electronic compass, brightness sensor, microphones.
- 3MP camera for still pictures, VGA (640 x 480px) for videos.
- Speaker available in the controller.
- Bluetooth v3.0 and IEEE802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity to your Android device.
- Supports Android 4.1 or above (Android 4.3 or above needed for videos).
- Weight ≈77g (eyewear without the cable) and ≈44g (controller).
Start experimenting with in-view augmented reality now
The SmartEyeglass was first shown to the world in January this year and we’ve understood from your feedback that you’ve been eagerly awaiting the possibility to start developing for it.
With the release of the SmartEyeglass SDK, we want to enable app developers to immediately begin experimenting with in-view augmented reality, using the included emulator. Later this year, we will start an early access program, where selected developers with truly innovative and high quality SmartEyeglass apps will get access to real devices.
“This is about going beyond hardware” said Hiroshi Mukawa, Head of the SmartEyeglass project. “Our thinking is to match external creativity with in-house innovation to truly stretch the capability of the products we create – releasing the SmartEyeglass SDK early means that both our industry’s most established and up-and-coming developers will help shape what SmartEyeglass is capable of.”
After releasing the SmartEyeglass SDK, we plan to offer SmartEyeglass for sale by the end of FY2014, with the intention of further promoting the development of apps and accelerating the commercialization of the product for consumer use.
New use cases and enablers
SmartEyeglass is designed to sense the environment around the user, and give feedback to enrich the user’s life. You can, for example, develop an app that shows recipes while you’re cooking, or use the 3MP camera to recognize faces, and then provide the user with information about that person from social networks and your address book.
Another concept made by Wikitude, one of the leading companies within augmented reality software in mobile phones, has already been demonstrated at IFA in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. In the “Wikitude City Guide” SmartEyeglass concept, SmartEyeglass becomes your ideal companion for international travel. By wearing SmartEyeglass while visiting new places, you will see contextual information relevant to your location right in front of your eyes. For example, when visiting Berlin in Germany, you can get facts about Brandenburger Tor by just looking at it. And you would still have your hands free, so that you can eat your ice cream or hold your loved one’s hand while strolling through the city.
The SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview) includes several different features to support such use cases:
- You can show text and bitmaps on the display, where it is overlaid on the users’ view of the surroundings.
- You can use real-time sensor data to create unique hands free, remote control use cases.
- You can use the camera to capture still images and videos.
SmartEyeglass software architecture
The SmartEyeglass itself connects with compatible Android smartphones* and consists of two main components: the eyewear and a controller. A number of sensors and the display are included in the eyewear and the controller. However, SmartEyeglass compatible apps will run on your Android smartphone, where all the computing is taking place. Apps communicate between SmartEyeglass and the smartphone by using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
SmartEyeglass is one of several products from Sony that connect as an accessory to your smartphone. As a developer, you will see that these products share a common software architecture with three major components:
- SmartConnect – a component on the phone that keeps track of what accessory devices are available and which apps support which device.
- Host application – an app to handle communication between the host smartphone and the accessory. This app is part of the SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview).
- Your application – uses the SmartExtension API framework, and while running on the smartphone it communicates with SmartEyeglass through the API that is also provided with the SmartEyeglass SDK.
In the developer preview version of the SmartEyeglass SDK you will also be able to test your apps on a SmartEyeglass emulator that uses the display, touchscreen and camera of your smartphone to mimic the behavior of an actual SmartEyeglass device.
The unique SmartEyeglass binocular see-through display requires a particular kind of application user interface. The user navigates up and down through screen displays that have a logical layered structure. The top layer of the UI is called the card layer, which acts as a main menu for the user. Each card is the entry point into an application.
Check out the SmartEyeglass software architecture pages to learn more.
How to get started
The SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview) is a fully fledged SDK that comes with many assets:
- Sample code
- Tutorials to get started
- In-depth developer guides
- Design guidelines
- API references
- Test guidelines
- Publishing guidelines
To get started, go to the SmartEyeglass SDK pages at developer.sony.com to download and install the SmartEyeglass SDK manually or through the Android SDK Manager. Once you have everything installed, start developing by using any of the assets listed above.
Get developer support
We’re actively monitoring the StackOverflow forum for any developer related questions you might have regarding the SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview). Just make sure you tag your question with both sony as well as sony-smarteyeglass for us to be able to pick it up.
Please note that we will release new versions of the SmartEyeglass SDK going forward, as the version released today is a developer preview version with some limitations.
Feel free to drop a comment below with any feedback on the SmartEyeglass, or suggestions on we could develop the SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview) further!
- Get started developing with the SmartEyeglass SDK (Developer Preview).
- Check out the SmartEyeglass news announcement in the Sony Mobile Social Newsroom.
- See how the SmartEyeglass concept was displayed at CES 2014 (including conceptual video).
- Learn how to develop for Sony’s TV and home entertainment platforms.
- Check out the latest release of the Camera Remote API beta, enabling you to develop remote control apps for Sony cameras.
- Learn about the latest Sony SmartWear , including SmartWatch 3 and SmartBand Talk.
*Operating requirements: Android 4.1 or later (Android 4.3 or later is required to use the video functionality of the camera).