North, the company behind the Focal Augmented Reality Glasses, acquired the patents and the necessary technology behind Intel’s cancelled AR glasses, the Vaunt. Until now, Intel could not find a manufacturer whose goals of approaching AR matched their own until North came into the picture.
Even though North’s Focals will be coming much sooner as compared to the cancelled Vaunts, the technologies and methodologies of these glasses match each other rather well. And hence, Intel has entrusted North with the further development of the Vaunt. The details of the deal, however, remain undisclosed.
Both of the glasses work on the same principle wherein a laser projects an image on to the surface of the lens, which in turn reflects light into the retina of the wearer to draw an AR overlay on top of the world which is being seen by them. North’s focus was to develop a pair of glasses that was light, stylish, and overall more preferable when it came to constantly wear one around all the time.
Many of North’s stores in Canada are already providing people with the means to select the correct style of glasses for themselves. Furthermore, these glasses need to be properly fitted to the customer’s face to enable them to wear them and utilise the accurate laser in the AR projector. In other words, the projector must be properly aligned to everybody’s faces. While the experience will not let you see things in a digital sort of transformation, wearing the glasses will be a much more pleasant experience.
North has already acquired 230 of the required patents for the Vaunt. Now, with the legal and formal proceedings taking place, they should have the complete set of 650 patents with them by the end of the year. There are speculations that the Focals should be out by that date, but nothing is for certain as of yet owing to the lack of comments from North CEO, Stephen Lake.
We are acquiring the patents for future versions of Focals and not to go on a lawsuit spree. It’s really about a defensive position,” says North CEO Lake. “Intel also had done work related to the core interface of using AR glasses. The patents we are acquiring cover everything from new techniques, user interfaces, to ways to interact with the glasses.”
Even though there are many other AR glasses already present in the market, there are none which uses these technologies or are meant to do what these glasses are supposed to. North says that initially, Focals will allow you to see and respond to texts, get turn-by-turn directions, check the weather, request an Uber, talk to Amazon Alexa, and other features.
The only thing Lake is currently concerned about right now is that at this stage with devices like these, they are as much of an accessory to a phone as they are independent units themselves. And this is usually one step which a manufacturer making a completely new device would not want to take.