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Xiaomi Unveils Xiaomi Smart Glasses (mi.com)
85 points by sofixa 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 76 comments

To clarify, since it wasn't clear at all from the Press Release: it's a concept/demo.

    A company spokesperson tells The Verge that there’s no plan to actually put them on sale, but Xiaomi has provided enough detail to make the concept product seem somewhat plausible — at least for some point in the future. 

Looking forward to the Chinese smart glasses that take photos everywhere being banned as a threat to national security and privacy while the American smart glasses that take photos everywhere secure sponsorships from prominent politicians.

Fair, but at least in the US, if there was (somehow) a huge popular rise in the public's perception of privacy, and there were marches every day for weeks, we could maybe get a law passed. I'm not holding my breath for this to happen and the political situation in the US of the past 6 years has not been encouraging, but at least the legal framework for change actually exists. Voting barely works but at least it's not illegal.

Do you really believe there is no such mechanism in China?

Which mechanism allows this in China?

Voting. The main difference is that the division line between parties and government is placed differently than in democracies. There are advantages and disadvantages of course, but the main point is: it’s silly to believe there’s no social feedback mechanisms in a country changing as fast as China does.

It's a one party state? Operating under omnipresent censorship?

There certainly are street protests, usually in response to local incidents, but the whole transmission mechanism is extremely limited to the bare minimum. And certainly not capable of discussing privacy in any Western sense.

Because the division line is shifted, the term "party" means something entirely different. So, yes, in one party state there are still groups within it, with different beliefs about things, and they work toward consensus using voting. Street protests are just one of the forms of democracy (and they are often organised by party).

As for privacy in the western sense - does this include USA, with no personal data protection at all?

No dude Chinese people can't protest they are all stupid drones... /s

Replace "stupid drones" with "thrown in jail, families abused, disappeared" and you have an accurate, non-sarcastic assessment.

Look to our friends in Hong Kong.

Xiaomi has a history of using open-source to power their stuff like their cameras. Though I'm uncertain how often they strictly follow the rules like GPL they have published some amount of open-source. I wonder if these will be hackable and the source published. That would really make these popular I think.

Unrestricted glasses could really transform the society. Imagine looking at girl in the bar and getting her resume and other things known about her online identity without even saying a word. Imagine red rectangle around some guy in the street "was convicted for murder in 1998, released in 2018" and people avoiding him just in case.

Not sure whether it'll be good or bad in the end, but it'll really change lots of social interactions.

The damage could be controlled by proprietary API providing very limited data to the third-party code. But that wouldn't be open source.

> Imagine looking at girl in the bar and getting her resume and other things known about her online identity without even saying a word

Automated stalking! This is definitely a bad thing.

the more likely scenario is that we get to the point when people only put up online the bullshit image of their better selves, which decensitize people to the point that they don't trust online profile anymore.

The thing is we already have automated stalking, no need to go to a bar even

Definitely a good excuse to just allow the technology to come into existence then. "Hey bad things already exists let's just add more of it! Don't wanna be against progress right?"

i m not sure that's still the zeitgeist

This is a plot point in a black mirror episode! You should watch it if you haven't seen it, it's "White Christmas".

I can imagine. Nobody would ever step foot on the road or in bars with a bunch of ruffians all around

I wonder if face identification is actually good enough at that without producing false positives. (Also I think there's been enough movies about that particular scenario that there'd be a ton of uproar if that came into reality.)

Regarding reliability, in China you can pay with just your face with Alipay in many convenience stores, supermarkets, and vending machines. End-to-end transaction fees are usually within 0.1%, which puts a ceiling on the failure rate.


This sounds like hell

It's unfortunate that devices like this that handle very personal data will rely on the data being sent to the cloud. I don't want this type of data streamed to the cloud no matter whether it is operated by Xiaomi, Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft or Amazon.

Looks like the glass only supports Monochromatic green display. Perhaps it was from the same MicroLED supplier from Coolpad XView AR glass.


I wonder what's the focal length would be?

One showstopper though — it's sunlight readable

No other VR glasses around are usable outdoors.

The IP behind the display is from Beijing university. That's the thing the university threatened to sue Apple for, a few years ago.

Apple is then said to have gone back to OLED.

There's a quote I'm trying to find the source of, maybe someone can help me out.

"The problem with the Chinese is not that they make cheaper stuff, it's that they make better stuff", or something similar.


Maybe it's used to attribute the Japanese in the 80s?

When I test my minimal focus distance it's around 10cm (4"). What's the tech behind it, to display anything that can be sharp in such a small distance?

Without knowing if this has anything to do with these glasses I remember something called „in eye projection“. The trick is to create the image with a laser direct in the eye ignoring the focus distance, line a hologram. A quick search shows something like this https://www.osa-opn.org/home/newsroom/2018/october/optical_d... .

Just have an eye projection made through some aperture narrowing lens system to flatten the depth of field

The optics mentioned will project the light so the display appears to be much further back, and your eyes have no trouble focusing on that virtual image.

I worked with Sony SmartEyeglasses. Yes, it is possible. There are many many ways to achieve that.

Oculus Rift display is also pretty much up close your face, but you can focus.

With that I thought there are lenses between eyes and screen that make it possible. With smart glasses I couldn't see any opportunity to alter the visual rays.

// Thanks for other comments how it could be possible!

Well, that's to give a familiar example. I don't believe most people are familiar with waveguides whereas VR headsets are widely available these days.

As a western living in Taiwan, I'd buy these just to translate menus. None of the menus here have photos so I'm always pulling out my phone to translate.

Not a fan of how they look. I also wonder if there will be options to get the glasses with corrective lenses. The pricepoint will be interesting to see too, I'd expect a very fair price from Xiaomi, but tough to estimate in a category with almost no competition.

I couldnt see anything in their ad about how the HMI will work, the closes we got to an actual interaction was the guy tapping the side of the glasses to take a picture. Ideally it would use eye tracking to let you pick out menu options, but there's no way they've got eye facing cameras crammed into that thing. I assume it will be completely controlled via some proprietary smartphone app, with limited or non existent developer support. Unless they can nail the developer experience, and the user interaction experience, these are dead on arrival.

Maybe a gyroscope is an option? Google Cardboard worked that way, it is good enough to choose between some menu items or to pull up a notification.

For me, navigation is the killer app, I would love that when I am cycling. Give me an interface to skip around in my podcast playlist and I am happy.

How about if you had a lightweight, finger/wrist-worn touchpad (basically like smartwatch that has no display and almost no internals)? I can imagine that could work ...

I’ve been wondering if the rush of “smart glasses” releases (see also Facebook’s last week) have been scheduled in advance of an impending apple announcement.

Well, my prediction turned out to be prescient in an opposite sort of way.

I really wish this is flexible enough or hoping for a jailbreak. From the 4 capabilities, I'm most excited for navigation. Turns off for most of the time, and just turns on for navigation.

For my own needs, a to-do list/checklist for contextual procedures is the "killer app" (ex: workout timers/checklists, recipes). But seems like it's not their priority yet.

I'm so looking forward to these. I live in a high crime area, been attacked three times this year. I think having immediate recording availability will help the victims, police just don't respond in time and then cannot do anything as they have nothing to go on.

Isnt it just easier with a pocket camera? Glasses are obtrusive

it's the switch on and boot up time thats a problem, crime usually happens so fast and blindsides you that you don't stand a chance to a) take out the camera and switch it on b) wait for it to boot up c) your hands are shaking and your confused so you will struggle to press record d)you need your hands free to help you defend yourself.

Does anyone have an idea of what the retail price might be?

I would buy in an instant if: stereoscopic displays; smartphone tethering for battery, processing and connectivity; and lose the creepy gargoyle camera.

Absolutely no camera!

Why Tech community is so oblivious to optics technology of smart glasses?

I get repeatedly surprised how little most techies know about optical tech behind smart glasses. It's almost like a blind spot.

That's basically what's holding us behind. But people are still not aware of waveguide tech vs google glasses.

Then there are also people who think Snap Spectacles or FB/Rayban glasses are "AR"?!?!

The previous company i worked for had ordered a beta/test version of the holo lens the tech was really cool but fov was also really limited must have been 5 years ago or so maybe the tech has become way better.

Lumus has 70 degrees FOV, but due to yield difficulties in manufacturing. They haven't made anything significant for production so far.

But this is basically the future. It is like early stages of the mobile cameras. Specs are not enough to match expectations. But core concept is solid.

Waveguides make a very poor quality image by design.

The solution been know since WW2, but trendy boys are still ogling over waveguides just because they sound cool, and score more investor money.

How many different wave guide glasses have you tried?

What is the alternative then?

Eventually, we will need an open source smart glasses device that let us control our data.

> a peak brightness of 2 million nits.

This seems crazy to me. 1000 nits is about the brightest most HDR monitors will go (basically the light of a thousand candles on a square meter) would’t a nits measurement in the millions be dangerous levels of light?

I think it is so that it can be seen in bright daylight. The amount of the light that would make it to the eye would be a lot less than that.

I'm guessing that is the brightness of the display chip which is only 2.4mm x 2.02mm, not the brightness at the projected size

Was watching the promo video. It's hilarious that they couldn't get a native English speaker, or at least someone who is fluent in it. Reminds me of those cheap Chinese bluetooth speakers when they say "Blutuut konyektid".

It might be intentional. I noticed the accent too and it really left the impression that china is a technological leader now and might not need to adapt to the west as much anymore.

To be a leader they’d have to release this and have it be good. There’s not even a release date or price. Having heavily accented English in a promo video might be a sign of confidence but it’s also the very early days of this product.

Xiaomi products are also rarely widely available in the west as it is. So I’m not sure the west is their primary market at this point.

Xiaomi products are pretty popular in India where English is widely spoken. They also have stores and concessions starting to open in the UK and other European markets.

It sounded like speech synthesis to me.

Possibly a stylistic choice? More futuristic?

Or it's simply because the voice acting industry is bad in China.

Nah. It's still no better statement of taste for Chinese tech companies to shoot their commercials in America, with white actors.

European fake CEOs are going out of fashion bit, by bit, but the demand for caucasian actors in China is still unrelenting.

Just go to AliExpress, and imagine just how mind boggling many models did it took to make all these photoshoots.

Well maybe it's because I'm not a native speaker myself, but I understand what they say just fine so I'm not sure what the problem is there.

It doesn't even sound particularly wrong or awkward to me, and it's probably easier to understand than someone with an American accent who speaks fast.

Sounds good to me

I wonder what the specs and connectivity are. All day battery? Wifi? 5G? Can it be used independently from a smartphone?

I really like the appeal of these wearables, but only if they have a basic set of capabilities and I can leave my phone at home.

I have not read the article but I'm positive that technology simply does not exist, at least it is not available commercially.

The idea of all day battery on a device that captures everything I see and hear was what I was obsessed over when I watched an episode of black mirror - the grain. It completely isn't the point but it was hard for me to not get excited about even a fictional breakthrough in technology.

Some of those smart security cameras can run for multiple years on AA batteries. The actual recording time is just a few hours, but they can run their motion sensors for months or years. It seems there's at least the potential to solve the battery life issue with a clever combo of software and sensors.

I see CG, I don't see an actual product. Does it exist yet?

If these things can be made to work on top of prescription lenses, I'm all in. I would say that roughly 50% of their target market would be in that situation.

I wonder about the cognitive load of AR/HUD all the time or for a long enough period, even if it's just to display the time.

The load is probably fine, millions of people look at tiny screens for the majority of their waking time, the worst effects are on the neck/spine.

The cognitive changes are more interesting to think about. It's been documented people remember less after adapting to information availability online.

pretty disappointed in the video after the green screen @0:50 didn't see a terminal popping-up

Great timing before the Apple event today.

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