The Vuzix’s concept is basic: put a tiny, Android-powered screen right in front of your face that can do some of the things your phone and computer can do. The Vuzix, when it goes on sale this summer for “less than $US500,” will play videos, run apps, browse the web, play music, and hey — even beam your Facebook timeline directly into your eyeballs. Right now it only runs video, but it’s easy to imagine how it’d work, tethered to your smartphone or tablet.
Maybe this is something you want. Maybe you want to wear a phone on your face, with information and videos and flashing colours sprayed in your retinas wherever you go, snapping pictures and listening to songs in one ear and looking like Judge Dredd’s loser brother. But it all rests upon the screen, and boy, that screen is horrible. It’s 480 x 272, which is at once too much and too little. Details are too minuscule to discern, and the entire thing still looks too far away, despite being less than an inch from your socket. It’s not clear, it’s not immersive, it’s just this strange bright blob of colour and vague shapes that goes in and out of focus. The screen is highly adjustable, but no amount of adjustment made it easy to look at, and no amount of imagination made me fathom a future in which I’d want this thing clamped to my skull.
And with a computer that’s meant to rest over your eye, it needs to be easy to look at. Or at least manageable to look at. Or at least not frustrating to look at. The Vuzix M100 isn’t any of these things yet.