Video glasses may seem the staple of Science Fiction, but a deal between progressive network 3 and even more progressive designer Vuzix suggests they are finally set for a place in the here and now.
Beginning this week, Vuzix's flagship model of 'iWear video glasses' will touch down in selected 3 stores around the country (to both try and buy) and will also be available from the threeaccessories online site.
Retailing at £199.95, the 'AV920' creates a viewing area the equivalent size of a 62in TV when worn and can connect virtually any device from iPods, DVD players, mobile phones, games consoles and camcorders. It's designed for train and plane journeys and comes with its own built in headphones (though they are detachable should an owner wish to use their own).
I recently met Vuzix ahead of today's announcement and, while initially cynical, must admit the AV920 greatly impressed me. As a matter of fact, Riyad is currently spending more time with a pair as we speak ahead of a full review so we should soon be able to tell you of any longer term wrinkles.
Interestingly, though the AV920 is likely to become the breakthrough product for Vuzix, the company also offers other models which already retail at the likes of Firebox, Expansys and Inition. In the full range, is the £99 entry level 'IP230' - iPod-only glasses casting the equivalent of a 44in screen - and the £149.99 'AV230' a more flexible version of the IP230 which can connect to any device with a TV Out option. At the very high end, the £249.95 'VR920' is a PC only variant of the AV920 which enables full head-tracking in compatible titles (Call of Duty 4, Crysis, Half Life 2, Quake 4 and Microsoft Flight Simulator X among them).
iWear has won awards at the Consumer Electronics Show for two years running and was recently nominated as one of the most innovative products on the market at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With highly impressive future plans also in the works (about which I'm sworn to secrecy), it certainly looks like this little piece of Sci-Fi is here to stay...