An exciting announcement made in this year’s Consumer Electronic Show was Avenant’s Glyph, a virtual reality and audio headset that acts as your personal mobile theater. The Glyph is a headset that looks like a pair of normal headphones with the major difference of being able to pull the headband over your eyes transforming it into a visual visor that can display movies, TV shows, video games, or any other media.
The Glyph uses any simple HDMi input to display anything in your library such as downloaded movies, streamed Netflix content, or iPhone videos. The Glyph can also be used to play games such as Call of Duty for the PS3 or iPhone games allowing the user to become immersed in the game world.
The visor has two eyepieces that have Virtual Retinal Display capabilities by using 1 million micromirrors and special optics to reflect a sharp image directly onto the back of your retina. This allows users to view images equivalent to the size of an 80” screen just from 8 ft. away. It may sound like a very intense experience for your retinas, but this technique is an advanced and safe process. In the prototype testing of the Glyph, users reported that they could wear the device comfortably with no nausea or disorientation and very minimal eyestrain. Since eye fatigue comes from staring at the artificial light from screens, removing the screen would greatly reduce eyestrain. The Glyph also features an advanced 3D features thanks to its extremely high resolution and brightness. The headset and visor combination allows the user to be completely immersed in their movie, game, or media video.
The Glyph weighs 16 oz and comes in black, white, or blue. The video resolution is 1280 x 720 per eye with a total pixel count of 1,843,200 and a horizontal field of view of 45 degrees. The sound output is premium stereo and a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz. The headset comes with a built-in microphone, a microUSB cable to recharge, a HDMI connection, and 3.5mm TRRS audio jack. The battery life of the headset is 3 hours.
The company pioneering this innovation is Avegnant. They hope that the Glyph headset, priced at $499 will enter the emerging market of personal viewing experience devices. Some similar products such as the Oculus Rift and Google Glass are already on the market as virtual reality devices. Grant Martin, the head of Avegnent marketing and product strategy says that they are supplying a high quality image directly in the users’ eyes instead of a pixelated one on a screen 3 ft. away from them. Avengnant’s CEO, Edward Tang has said that they have opened the headset to outside developers in the hope that they will find unexpected users for Glyph’s features.
The Glyph project started as a Kickstarter campaign and reached its goal of $250,000 in less than 4 hours. The Kickstarter ended on Feb 21 and received $1,509,506 more than six times its intended goal. Any backer who pledged $499 is said to receive a Glyph prototype this December.
So far the initial reviews of the Glyph have been positive. At the International CES, the Glyph was chosen as one of the 40 products for the Editor’s Choice Award. Media such as USA Today, engadget, The Verge, and c|net have given positive reviews for the Glyph.