Augmented reality hardware and software startup DreamWorld USA Inc. today announced the launch of the company’s inaugural AR headset the DreamGlass.
The headset supports a 90-degree field of view, 2.5K resolution, a mobile device tether and launches with its own Unity-based software development kit.
With the DreamGlass, DreamWorld hopes to make AR more accessible to developers and consumers with a price tag of only $399. Although this list price is quite affordable, it is an early-bird discount and may go up in the future.
“There is so much potential in augmented reality,” said DreamWorld founder and Chief Executive Kevin Zhong, “but the hardware limitations and steep price points of headsets available today have not made it easy for developers to fully contribute to the ecosystem.”
Using AR, developers can augment what users see and hear by overlaying 3-D objects onto human vision. This is done with mobile devices that act as “windows” or “filters” by using their cameras or glasses such as the HoloLens from Microsoft Corp.
The DreamGlass supports a 90-degree FOV, which broadly covers most of what people can see directly in front of them – compared with 35-degrees currently available for a HoloLens, although Microsoft is working on a 70-degree version. The device is also capable of driving 2.5K high-definition graphics with a 60-hertz refresh rate to make certain overlaid graphics is as high fidelity as possible.
Key features of the DreamGlass include three-degree head tracking, hand gesture recognition and the ability to tether to a PC or mobile device via a Universal Serial Bus type-C connector. When tethered, the DreamGlass is able to be used as a secondary display for compatible smartphones, which will allow the use of a smartphone as a touchscreen for interface control.
The entire device weighs only about a half-pound, or 240 grams, making it extremely light and readily portable.
The DreamGlass headset is currently compatible with a number of current-gen mobile devices including the Samsung S8, S8-plus, Note 8, S9 and S9-plus; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P20 and P20 Pro; and the HTC 10 and U11.
Consumers are expected to buy more than 24 million virtual reality and augmented reality devices this year alone, according to a report from CC Insight. Although VR devices will probably make up the bulk of that, AR devices are estimated to pull in a revenue of $1.2 billion in 2018. CCS Insight reported that AR is gaining traction in industrial and business markets due to its advantage for training and knowledge sharing.
A number of business ventures and devices have developed around business-use for AR including Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout for HoloLens, an enterprise AR platform for workers from Upskill and startups such as Scope AR, which develops AR apps for the workplace. The industry is also expanding significantly with Apple Inc.’s recently announced ARKit 2 and Google Inc.’s current-gen ARCore 1.2.
Application development for the DreamGlass uses a library for Unity Technologies’ cross-platform game engine, which is an industry-leading graphics and interface platform. Using the Unity library, DreamWorld provides a software development kit that lets developers rapidly build 3-D apps that can be then installed on a PC or an Android device.
“Through the DreamGlass, we hope to be the guiding light for all developers- providing them with an accessible top-quality platform to create top quality content,” said Zhong. “Only then, will they be empowered to bring a more genuine realism to augmented reality. We want to close the gap between reality and the augmented digital world.”
The Unity SDK for DreamGlass is currently generally available to developers from DreamWorld from its developer portal.
The DreamGlass product is currently available for pre-order at $399 from the company’s product website, the first batch is expected to ship late June. This price is marked as an early-bird discount with a retail price of $619. The company also sells USB type-C adapters with integrated batteries for $74.99 and a DreamGlass carrying case for $39.99.