Vuzix M100

No, that is not a picture of Google Glass. (And no, Google Glass is not dead; the company has chosen to focus on enterprise applications instead of consumer uses.) It’s understandable if you made the mistake, however. The mainstream media has behaved for years as if Google Glass was the only head-mounted computer with a display in the whole world. Those of us who follow the display industry know that this is not the case. There are several systems available on the market that offer one (monocular) or two (binocular) displays. The one in the photo here is the M100 smart glasses product from Vuzix.

This is a real product that you can buy today for $1,000 (which is considerably less than the $1,500 for Google Glass when it was available to consumers). As with other companies with similar products, Vizix relies heavily on partners to develop applications for various markets. Yesterday, the company announced a partnership with HeadApp to develop Glass4Flight, a system that projects all the information that a pilot needs without having to look down at the aircraft’s control panel. The hands-free user interface makes it easy to for the wearer to switch screens to display different sets of information. This help the pilot pay more attention on the task of flying the plane. The two companies have equipped 15 planes at a flying club in Turin, Italy, where they have nearly completed their final testing.

This is just one example of how head-mounted computers and displays are alive and well in vertical markets, primarily at the enterprise level but also for “prosumer” applications that can support the expense of such a system. In spite of the recent negative news about Google Glass, many other manufacturers continue to expand their products and their uses.