Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

December 1, 2022 10 minutes to read

AR Glasses VS Smart Glasses: Understanding the Difference 

AR Glasses VS Smart Glasses: Understanding the Difference 

Over the last few years, we have seen Augmented Reality play a prominent role in the growth of Industry 4.0 operations and economy at large. Thanks to an increase demand of remote support and assistance due to pandemics, recessions, and war-like situations. As such, it’s no surprise that the industrial adoption of smart glasses and AR glasses today is a result of a continual quest for innovation. While both kinds of glasses have their own significance of existence, people often confuse and fail to understand the thin-line difference between the two.

Let’s clear up the AR Glasses vs Smart Glasses debate, as we explain the definition, differences, and use-case for both in this article. First off, let’s start with the definition.

What are Augmented Reality Glasses? 

Augmented reality glasses blur the dissimilarity between the real and digital worlds. With their help, you can see more than what is in front of you. AR glasses work primarily by going beyond a head-mounted Head-Up Display; their primary function is as an augmented reality display.  

Augmented reality shows digital information as if it exists in reality. That means that smart glasses begin to become AR glasses after they are adept of sensing your surroundings to present information in such a way that it feels like it’s present in the reality, not merely projected onto a transparent screen. For one, AR is a feature and not a product. Some smart glasses do have minimal AR-like functionality. 

What are Smart Glasses?  

Smart glasses are monocular wearable devices that can present information to the user. This could be a text message, the name of an incoming phone call or turn-by-turn directions. Smart glasses primarily have a head-mounted ‘heads-up-display’ (HUD) on which the 2D information is displayed.  

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AR Glasses vs Smart Glasses: The Difference 

Augmented Reality glasses are nowadays more typically known as AR Headsets because to attain a fairly wide field of view and assemble enough data about the surroundings to facilitate AR, they need particularly more intricate hardware onboard which is why they are heavier. The hope is that AR Headsets will ultimately become compact enough to be rightfully called AR glasses, but while we wait, don’t confuse “AR glasses,” with the ones that are just smart glasses. 

Augmented Reality Glasses present 3D information in a realistic way in front of your eyes, while Smart Glasses usually present 2D information as an addition to your field-vision. While AR is a feature, not product. That’s why, some smart glasses offer only limited AR features. This is the primarily reason why smart glasses are not called as augmented reality glasses. 

Making the distinction between smart glasses and AR glasses is essential because the use cases are fundamentally distinct. It’s the exact rationale behind calling game consoles and computers two different terms; even though they’re both technically computers, they’re made to perform wholly various primary roles—making a definition so comprehensive to confine both is often useless to conversations barring in exceptional occasions. 

Most of the times, smart glasses only present a steady 2D information in addition to your field of vision. However, they are unique because they can project a digital overlay directly into a person’s field of vision without them being required to do any activity.  

Even though they’re still comparatively rare in commercial use, AR glasses have in the recent time become a norm in manufacture, maintenance, and repair owing to the Industry 4.0 movement. 

how AR can Help

Components of AR Glasses 

By putting them on, we can recast reality, add miscellaneous items and modify colors to our environment, juxtapose pictures over the natural world, etc. 

In actuality, the charm of augmented reality glasses is nothing else but science and the ingenious use of our mind’s capacity to analyze images and allow itself to be deceived by visual stimuli. So as to construct the effect of additional items added to the actual world, augmented reality glasses incorporate critical elements.  

The Display  

The exhibition of augmented reality glasses is also called the combiner. This name is an authentic portrayal of the element. It incorporates glass lenses that permit natural light to pass through to the eyes with digital LED or OLED displays, which send computer-generated pictures to the eyes.  

So, when one wears augmented reality glasses, one sees images from double sources: the real world outside and computer-generated objects.  

The Field of View  

One of the crucial issues to mull over when shopping for augmented reality glasses is the field of view. The typical human field of view is around 210 degrees horizontally and 150 degrees vertically. This distinguishes between a truly immersive experience and witnessing something through swimming goggles.  

A 50-degree field of view is itself considered quite noteworthy for AR glasses. First, augmented reality glasses cannot replicate these numbers due to the bodily constraints of positioning the lenses in a headset. Then there is the issue of the computing power required to process and portray the digital entities with reasonably high fidelity and resolution.  

The Camera  

The augmented reality mobile or web application cannot precisely see through your eyes. It requires a camera to record pictures in the actual world. This camera is connected to the augmented reality glasses, and in the case of a smartphone, the phone camera is activated to seize images.  

The Computer Vision  

This is where “the magic” transpires. A programmed app or a software suite has to incorporate two types of pictures – the registration with the assistance of the markers generates the first one supplied by the camera and the second one.  

This assortment is a result of what you see through augmented reality glasses. 

The Registration  

The registration consists of icons, which are not visible to the wearer, through which the mechanical domain of the devices places an augmented reality object in the actual world. These icons or markers are why you abruptly see a new dining table or a showpiece in your room when testing a home décor augmented reality application.  

The icons or markers use multiple landmarks from the real-world image for direction, such as the intersection between two partitions, the bars of the window, the geometrical formation of a rug, etc. 

Components of Smart Glasses 

Since smart glasses are also a type of wearable technology that can perform various functions such as displaying information, capturing video and audio, and connecting to the internet. They are made up of following components:

Display

Smart glasses frequently come with a tiny display that beams text or images into the user’s field of vision.

Processor

At the heart of every computer, including smart glasses, is a processor. The processor is in charge of carrying out calculations and executing instructions.

Sensors

To enable features like location tracking and motion detecting, smart glasses may be equipped with a variety of sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and GPS.

Cameras

Many smart glasses come with at least one camera that can be used to take still pictures or videos.

Microphones

Any smart glasses that are intended for speech input or audio recording must have a microphone.

Built-in Speakers

Some smart glasses come with built-in speakers, while others use bone conduction technology to send sound waves directly to the wearer’s inner ear.

Industry and Consumer level adoption 

As of now, the industrial sector uses augmented reality glasses the most. These include industries like automotive, electronics, aerospace, engineering, etc. Moreover, it is utilized in every other industry dealing with heavy machinery. Augmented reality glasses have proven especially valuable for military pursuits too. There is a substantial need for such creation and this need has emerged because of an acute deficiency of competent labor. There is a minimal struggle to deal with such heavy physical machine elements. 

The expanded usage of augmented reality glasses is for several reasons. One of them is that lately, there has been a growing appeal among companies to provide step-by-step instructions. The use of these glasses also helps their employees to understand manufacturing, engineering, and training instructions in a better way. The conventional way of handing over information has been extended. Above all, it also costs the business lots of revenue and precious time. 

Moreover, the cost involved in providing one on one expert training is costly. All these costs can be dodged with the adoption of AR glasses. This has caused industries to adopt AR glasses. The glasses merely need voice and vision to instruct the employees—once the instructions are fed in, the glasses can be used anywhere by anyone. 

Field service 

AR glasses is also being used for field service. It ultimately comes down to fixing issues remotely, quickly, and securely. The on-site workers also get AR-powered digital work instructions in the AR glasses which eliminates the probability of errors. 

Industrial training 

Augmented reality glasses is widely used in the education and industrial businesses as it gives more interactivity to the classes and training. Instead of just the theory, it gives the much-needed hands-on experience to the learners and workers. Check out Plutomen’s solutions for AR-led next-gen training. 

Remote assistance  

Augmented reality remote assistance through AR glasses provides many advantages to the workers and experts. The instant collaboration also lets you make the most of superimposed digital data, such as digitized animations, images, and other data, over real and physical space.  

Audit & Inspection 

Auditors utilize the AR glasses to ensure the quality of audits and inspections for business processes, operations, tools, and machines using interactive checklists. It enables remote operation, compliance, and error-free inspection. 

Healthcare  

The use of augmented reality glasses in healthcare by conducting real-time surgeries is proving to be a blessing.  While the hands of the surgeons are busy doing the task, they can employ their voice and sight to get instructions from the glasses.  

Consumer Level  

Even though the consumer market is still growing, we can already see AR use cases in various areas. For instance, AR guides enrich visitors’ experiences in museums. AR can also guide customer service executives and help them deliver service repairing by coordinating remotely. In theatres eyewear can provide instant subtitling to the audiences, while tourists can easily find their way around via navigation directions and reviews. Athletes can get hold of real-time data like distance, speed, power, etc. Drone pilots conveniently see their drone’s field of view. All these are vital and worthy niches, even if they are still far from mass adoption. 

Conclusion 

After understanding the working of Augmented Reality glasses, its use cases and industry adoption, we know that their future is bright. AR wearables are revolutionizing the presence of AR across industries.  With Plutomen, you can explore our assisted reality solutions, that is, usage of smart AR glasses with Plutomen’s AR solutions, and find an array use cases in multiple industries. Book a demo and find out how AR glass can be beneficial for your enterprise. 

Hiren Kanani

Hiren Kanani

CTO, Cofounder of Plutomen

With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.

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