Epson Announces 2 New Moverio Headsets at Augmented World Expo
Andrew Wheeler posted on June 16, 2016 |

Epson’s augmented reality (AR) technology gets a free ride on the coattails of its legacy production of projectors. Consequently, it is well-positioned to be a force in the AR space—in theory.

According to Epson’s new enterprises supervisor Eric Mizufuka, the firm has constructed its Moverio augmented reality headsets according to client feedback through several product generations. What the company has come up with is a headset that competes with Microsoft HoloLens in price. As for capability, it may not be close—but more information and use cases are still needed to make an accurate assessment.

Epson Moviero BT-2000 Pro AR headset in a familiar-looking composite photo. (Image courtesy of Epson.)
Epson Moviero BT-300 Pro AR headset. (Image courtesy of Epson.)

The company claims that it has merchandise for every market segment: consumer, commercial and enterprise. At Augmented World Expo (AWE), the firm was showing off two new Moverio headsets: the BT-2000 for enterprise and the BT300 for industrial uses.

These items have grown from the business’ BT100, released in 2011, and the BT200, introduced in 2014. It takes about a year for AR hardware to find its place in the marketplace after a product launch, which positions Epson well considering it is entering a nascent market that normally requires a lot of DIY and open-source activity to keep the buzz active and relevant.

The BT-2000 is a waterproof unit that has been developed for all-day use. Both new units, the BT-2000 and the BT-300,  have been designed for the commercial marketplace. The BT-2000 is priced at $2,999 and although Epson hasn’t released the cost of the BT-300, it’s designed to succeed the BT-200 so the cost will likely be in the same range as the $3000 HoloLens.

Unlike the ill-fated Google Glass, the Moverio spectacles use micro-projectors to place images directly in front of the eye. This allows for digital overlays on real life, which can be seen through the spectacles.

Worker aid is among the primary usage models for AR eyeglasses nowadays and that was the most common use case scenario presented at AWE. Users may obtain a program that helps them get through a procedure with in-depth instructions, or they might get additional help from somebody working remotely who can talk them through a job. Other target segments for Moverio include health care, art and tradition, and retailing.

This product unveiling shows that Epson recognizes that it could have a potential advantage in the AR headset space given its legacy hardware products, but it’s still unclear if the new Moviero headsets are true competitors to promising headsets like the Microsoft Hololens or the Magic Leap headset (if it’s ever released).

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