Rokid Project Aurora: USB-C Smart Glasses That Tethers to Mobile Devices

Chinese startup Rokid has introduced Project Aurora, a USB-C headset (smartglasses) that can be used as an interface for a number of mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops, and gaming consoles

Rokid Project Aurora: USB-C Smart Glasses That Tethers to Mobile Devices

After debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show last year, augmented reality smartglasses manufacturer Rokid was back in Las Vegas for CES 2019 with its latest prototype as well as an update on its standalone Rokid Glass.

The Chinese AI and robotics startup announced Project Aurora on Jan 7, describing the new prototype smart glasses as a device that is designed to function as an extended interface of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, and the likes.

“Project Aurora is a new initiative by Rokid that allows you to tether to any mobile device and take your experience further,” says the company website.

“Visualize immersive and spatial 3D content, connect and share experiences with those close to you, and discover new possibilities for interaction even for something as simple as a phone call,” it adds.

For example, you can connect your smartphone to the Project Aurora smartglasses using the USB-C connection and play a smartphone game, controlling it with your hands on the handset but actually viewing the action on the Rokid device you’re wearing, as seen in the demo video.

The prototype device boasts features like dual depth cameras, 6 degrees of freedom (DoF) tracking, SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), an RGB camera, stereo speakers, and a USB-C port, which according to Rokid is a testimony to the company’s expertise in computer vision, AR, and AI.

The company claims that the smart glasses are capable of face recognition, object recognition, and real-time audio translation in several languages, including English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Japanese, when identifying objects.

“With the mission of extending mobile device capabilities and experiences, we’re excited to announce Rokid’s Project Aurora,” said Reynold Wu, Rokid’s head of product and business operations, in a statement.

“By leveraging the ever-increasing computing power of mobile devices, Project Aurora supplements these robust experiences by providing a lightweight form factor, industry-leading display quality, and multimodal handsfree input,” Wu added.

“Project Aurora will connect consumers to rich, immersive AR content and experiences that were previously unattainable with such a lightweight smart glass,” Wu also said, adding: “We’re excited to share how the future looks through it.”

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As of now, that’s about all that anybody knows about Project Aurora in so far as which types of mobile, tablets, and gaming consoles it is designed to support.

However, since the company’s Rokid Pebble smart-speaker is Android-based, there’s every likelihood that the Rokid smartglasses will also be an Android-friendly device but, then, that’s pure speculation.

Also, the fact that it’s just a prototype with no release date, we can’t really be sure if it’s ever going to become a buyable product on the market.

The company also showcased a new version of last year’s standalone Rokid Glass which is 40% smaller, weighs about 120 grams, and features a touchpad controller on the side arm of the device.

While the standalone device has a single display in one eye like the Google Glass or Vuzix Blade, the Project Aurora headset has two displays for 3D viewing and, as mentioned, can be connected to external devices via USB-C, serving as the connected device’s interface.

The company said the Rokid standalone glasses, which it calls the Rokid Glass, will ship sometime in spring this year but has not yet revealed the price.

Here are some of the basic specs of Project Aurora as revealed by the company.

  • 3D stereo display, 45-degree FOV, binocular 1,280×720-pixel resolution, waveguide optics
  • 13MP RGB camera
  • 2 microphones
  • IMU (Inertial Measuring Unit) with three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
  • SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping)-capable
  • 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) depth-tracking camera
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi
  • USB-C port
  • Weight: around 120g

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