The Avegant Glyph is the latest project gaining attention on Kickstarter. In under four hours, this gadget made $US250,000 on its first day.
The headset has two functions. It can become a high-end pair of headphones to listen to music or morph into a personal theatre which can stream movies from Netflix through sources like an Xbox or laptop with the help of an HDMI chord.
Once the Kickstarter campaign ends on February 21st, Avegant hopes to sell the Glyph for $US499.
I was able to demo one of the early prototypes and here’s what I liked and didn’t like.
The sound and picture quality for movies is impressive
During the demo, Avegant’s CTO Allan Evans hooked the prototype into a computer to stream ‘Life of Pi’. I pulled the headset down over my eyes and it felt like I was actually in a movie theatre. ‘Life of Pi’ is known for its gorgeous 3-D graphics and the quality wasn’t diminished on this small screen. The sound quality was strong and I could understand every word of the film.
Avegant equipped the Glyph with a special type of technology known as the ‘Virtual Retina Display.’ Instead of having a distracting screen like the Oculus Rift to stream content, the Glyph projects movies directly to your eyes with a complex series of LED panels and mirrors. This gives an immersive viewing experience but leaves you completely aware of your surroundings.
Fine-tuned controls will help you adjust the level of comfort
Although the Glyph was heavy to hold, there are a few controls that are very responsive located on the front of the headset to help it become more comfortable.
When you pull the device down to watch movies, the band that connects the speakers has a couple switches that alters the screen.
With a few quick swipes, I was able to manoeuvre the series of mirrors directly in front of me so I wouldn’t have to squint. Also, there are a few buttons located on the speakers that manage the volume.
Avid gamers might be disappointed
I was disappointed when I tested games on the Glyph. When the headset connected to an iPhone, the graphics appeared flawlessly but the controls were very clunky. It supports iPhone and Android games with HD graphics your choices may be limited. Racing games for the iPhone are going to require you to have the Glyph stationed on your face but race down a track by rocking the smartphone back and forth. The tangle of wires could be the cause of that.
Battery life is weak
The Glyph lasts for a total of 2-3 hours before you have to charge it with a micro-USB. This mean you’ll only be able to watch one movie before the power fades out. Playing games might help you get more use out of it but this could impact people using it on a long flight or train ride.
This is still a very early prototype so there’s room for improvement. Battery life and gaming are the two areas that need some work.
Avegant’s goal is to slim this down more to make it easier to carry along with you.
Throughout the demo, I was forced to hold the gadget in place since it kept sliding off my face.
The Glyph has potential. I can see this becoming very popular for frequent travellers. It just needs more work and since this an early model it a lot of time to improve. So far, this would be one of the few wearable gadgets I’d be willing to spend money on.