Tech companies have spent the last decade working on smart glasses with integrated display technology. So when Facebook launched Ray-Ban Stories last week, people were understandably disappointed by its rather simplistic design. Now, Xiaomi is taking the opportunity to show off its smart glasses, which look much more advanced than Facebook’s product.
Like Ray-Ban Stories, the Xiaomi Smart Glasses feature a built-in camera, personal speakers, and microphones to take calls or play music. What sets Xiaomi Smart Glasses apart is a unique imaging system that beams a “display” into your eye, allowing you to see notifications, navigation instructions, and photos without using your phone.
Here’s where things get a bit complicated. Xiaomi’s Smart Glasses use a custom microLED display chip to project images—they do not contain a traditional display. This display chip can project images at a peak brightness of about 2 million nits, and it’s aimed directly at the Smart Glasses’ right lens.
This lens contains microscopic grooves that redirect projected images toward your eye. It’s an interesting solution that requires no moving parts or heavy mirrors, though there is one major drawback. Because these microscopic grooves can reduce lens transparency, Xiaomi’s Smart Glasses use a monochrome display. All images are a greenish hue.
So, when can you buy a pair of Xiaomi Smart Glasses? How much will they cost? Well, Xiaomi hasn’t told us whether its Smart Glasses are a real product or not. If I had to make a guess, Xiaomi just wants to show off its unique display technology while it can still ride the Ray-Ban Stories hype. (If that’s the plan, then it’s already working.)