Hailed as Google Glass meets 3-D, Atheer Labs' augmented reality glasses can be used by factory workers to manage inventory, gamers to play immersive first-person shooters, and more. Atheer first showed off its futuristic goggles at AllThingsD's conference to much fanfare in May, and on Thursday, the two-year-old startup announced it is turning to crowdfunding to collect feedback for its glasses.
Unlike Google Glass, which despite its niche following has mainstream aspirations, Atheer isn't meant to be worn all day every day—at least not in its current forms. The vision video above shows the potential of these augmented-reality glasses in everyday life, but that future is still far off. Currently, the company aims to produce two models that will be available through Indiegogo: The Atheer One, a consumer version that connects to smart devices using Bluetooth, will be available for $350 late next year, and Dragoneye, a larger full-fledged developer version that works as a standalone device, is priced at $850 and will ship early 2014.
"After we showed off our technology [at AllThingsD], we got huge demand from early adopters," Atheer Labs CEO and founder Soulaiman Itani told Fast Company. "This gives them a chance to get their hands on this. What we want is to get feedback and what they want us to do."
Though both versions are bulkier than a standard pair of glasses, the company is working with two contract manufacturers to slim down their components. Atheer One and Dragoneye also have a dangling wire that connects to a power source. "If you have a full device on the head without a wire, you're choosing between a device with a very small battery, or it becomes very heavy and that can give people headaches," Itani said about the form factor.
There's also the potential for Atheer to improve a wearer's eyesight. Itani said the company holds a patent for technology that detects subtle differences between both eyes, adjusting for their differences with content displayed. "Here, what we do is if we see one eye is weaker, we could give more content to the weaker eye," he explained. That technology isn't implemented yet, but it can be used, for example, to train the peripheral vision of athletes.