Hands-On With The Vuzix Wrap 920AR Augmented Reality Glasses

Taking design cues from the Oakley Thump MP3 player sunglasses is never a good idea. But that's not the only fault these Vuzix Wrap 920AR glasses have. The resolution sucks.

Unless you've never picked up an iPhone or Android handset - or don't have boasting friends with them - you would've heard of augmented reality, right? These glasses use stereoscopic cameras to create a "virtual world" where something you're fixing your begoggled vision on suddenly turns animated, with different 3D layers. You can connect the glasses to a screen so your pals can watch whatever you're viewing - and they're the lucky ones, because what you're watching, the wearer, sucks. The video you can see in the glasses is really low-res, and I actually had trouble with seeing the bottom of the picture. The lower the video gets, it seems to just fizzle and fade out.

The demo Vuzix was giving at CES was pretty fun. I was given a chart with rows of QR-type barcodes on, and when I looked through the glasses at it, it looked like one of those games where you tilt the board to roll a marble through a series of challenges. Just like "Maze" on the iPod Nano, actually. It was a really hurried demo, and actually I was thoroughly confused - the quality of what you're seeing through the glasses is so poor, I could barely see what I was doing. Everyone watching me had a hoot though, watching my gameplay on the TV screen above.

The glasses themselves look really shitty, and unlike the Oakley Thumps, you can't wear them like sunglasses. At $US800, and with only one purpose, I'd say avoid.

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