AR/VR headsets are expected to be the next big thing in the consumer technology space. Apple is widely anticipated to enter the market with its mixed-reality headset later this year. While you can find AR/VR headsets from the likes of Meta and TCL, their execution leaves a lot to be desired. Xiaomi is the latest entrant to the field with the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition. The company showcased its first concept wireless AR glasses at MWC 2023 and detailed how they can be used to control your smart home devices.

Unlike the Meta Quest, Xiaomi’s AR glasses do not require you to tether them to a PC or smartphone. Instead, they communicate wirelessly using a proprietary communication link developed by Xiaomi, with a claimed latency of 50ms. Xiaomi has built the Wireless AR Glass on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 platform.

To achieve a lightweight design, the glasses are made of magnesium-lithium alloy and carbon fiber. Xiaomi says it uses a silicon-oxygen anode battery to keep the weight in check. Thanks to these advancements, the AR glasses weigh just 126g, which should make them comfortable to wear for long sessions.

Xiaomi claims to use “retina-level” displays in its AR Glasses, with a PPD (pixels per degree) of 57 and a rated brightness of up to 1200nits. The display consists of two MicroOLED screens, with three surfaces within the light-guiding prisms reflecting everything shown on the screen. Thanks to electrochromic lenses, you can wear the AR glasses in bright conditions. The lenses also enable a blackout mode for an immersive content-watching experience.

To interact with the AR glasses, Xiaomi is using the joints of your inner fingers for gesture recognition. Apparently, the company says this allows for “one-handed, highly-precise pure gesture interaction.” You can use the gestures to swipe through pages, open apps, return to the home screen, and more without using your smartphone.

Below is how Xiaomi explains the gestures will supposedly work:

“The directional is oriented from the second joint of the middle finger, with the second joint of the index finger representing the upward direction. When combined with the surrounding areas, this forms a four-way directional key for basic movement operations. In addition, the 12 knuckles function similarly to the Chinese nine-key input method, allowing for text input through thumb tapping in the finger area. The thumb sliding on the index finger is used to enter and exit applications.”

Xiaomi is using Mi Share’s streaming capabilities to bring apps like TikTok and YouTube to its AR glasses. You can seemingly place apps anywhere in the viewing space and use spatial gestures to adjust their UI.

The company is also integrating the AR glasses neatly with its smart home ecosystem. Xiaomi claims you can “grab” the screen from a TV and watch it on the glasses — a feature straight out of a sci-fi movie. Another excellent use case envisioned by Xiaomi highlights controlling the brightness of a lamp using spatial gestures and virtual buttons.

As this is a concept, Xiaomi does not intend to launch the AR glasses to the public. But with the AR/VR headset market set to heat up in the coming months, it is a matter of time before Xiaomi jumps into the market.

Conclusion on Xiaomi concept AR glasses feature 'retina-level' display and gesture control

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