Ignoring the vaporware by Magic Leap, the ODG R8 and R9 augmented reality headsets by Osterhout Design Group is probably Microsoft’s most fully formed competition in the mixed reality space, and the company seems way ahead of Microsoft when it comes to turning the technology into something a user would be able to wear while out and about.
To get there however it appears ODG did take some short cuts. Mixed Reality enthusiast Sean Ong, who has used the HoloLens extensively, managed to try out the ODG R9 glasses at CES and uploaded his impressions to YouTube.
While the glasses were a significant advance in terms of size over the HoloLens, it appears this came at the cost of the ability to track the environment – something which makes the difference between Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, which allows an interaction between the physical and virtual items. Environmental tracking is built into the HoloLens and would come as an additional add-on for the ODG device, presumably spoiling the otherwise sleek profile.
The display also exhibits the typical advantages but also disadvantages of a light field vs a waveguide display. While the field of view was better and more opaque, allowing VR-like experiences, the image showed clear pixelation, something that Microsoft avoided completely with their very high-resolution display.
It is clear that at present the devices do not really compete directly with each other, though of course this may change in the future.
See the comparison video below.