Many predicted that Google Glass would be a hit in 2014. In fact, a report from BI Intelligence even stated that over 800,000 Google Glass units would be sold. The actual number, which Google has not officially released, is more likely in the 250,000 range . Now some are even predicting that Google will start marketing the device for businesses instead, abandoning, or at least pivoting away from, the consumer market. In short, Google Glass, so far at least, has been basically a bust. But that does not mean that smart glasses are dead. Not by a long shot. There are plenty of others willing to take up the mantle, and find the success that has seemingly eluded Google. One of them, Vuzix, just got a big cash infusion to make that dream a reality. The company announced on Friday that it has received a $24.8 million investment from Intel Corporation, specifially to “accelerate the introduction of Vuzix next generation fashion-based wearable display products into the consumer market.” In all, Intel purchased 49,626 of Vuzix’ Series A Preferred Stock, which are convertible into 4,962,600 shares of Vuzix’ common stock. Upon that conversion, Intel will own 30% of Vuzix. Founded in 1997, Vuzix is a supplier of video eyewear products in the commercial, consumer and entertainment markets. Its products include video, augmented reality, and virtual reality glasses. The publicly traded company, which has offices in Rochester, NY , Oxford, UK and Tokyo, Japan, says it holds “39 patents and 10 additional patents pending and numerous IP licenses in the Video Eyewear field.” Vuzix won Consumer Electronics Show (CES) awards for innovation from 2005 to 2014
Popular travel app Kayak has put augmented reality to clever use with a new feature that lets you measure the size of your carry-on bag using just your smartphone. Its updated iOS app now takes advantage of Apple’s ARKit technology to introduce a new Bag Measurement tool that will help you calculate your bag’s size so you can find out if it fits in the overhead bin – you know, before your trip. The tool is handy because the dimensions of permitted carry-on luggage can differ from airline to airline, Kayak explains , so it’s not as simple these days to figure out if your bag will fit. In the new Kayak iOS app, you can access the measurement tool through the Flight Search feature. The app will first prompt you to scan the floor in order to calibrate the measurements. You then move your phone around the bag to capture its size. Kayak’s app will do the math and return the bag’s size, in terms of length, width, and height. And it will tell you if the bag “looks good” or not to meet the carry-on size requirements. Plus, the company says it compares all the airlines’ baggage size requirements in one place, so you’ll know for sure if it will be allowed by the airline you’re flying. Augmented reality applications, so far, have been a mixed bag. (Sorry). Some applications can be fairly useful – like visualizing furniture placed in a room or trying on new makeup colors. (Yes, really. I’m serious). But others are more questionable – like some AR gaming apps, perhaps.