Epson Movario BT-100: $70
When jumping into virtual action, there's a fine line between awesome and nauseous. A pair of new Android projector glasses from Epson straddles that line with a sizable screen simulation and 16.4 feet of perceived distance.
Before getting into the specs, a couple of caveats: I'm no gamer, and my last 3-D experience was a face-pinching afternoon watching "Avatar." But I am an Android supporter and did pump my Discovery News colleague Scott Tharler for insights about virtual reality gear.
Epson's Movario BT-100 wearable display glasses boast a bunch of features. The arms both contain small pico projectors that aim images onto mirrors in each lens. The glasses, built on an Android 2.2 platform, can show either 2-D or 3-D content on a small, high-def screen. Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity lets the wearer view streaming content from Flash-based sites.
The sides of the glasses are semitransparent, so you can still see what's happening in the real world if needed, without getting completely distracted by it. And they have a handheld controller to choose content.
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"Especially with the Android factor, Epson is the most recent entry to make a splash," Tharler said. "They got themselves noticed this past fall, just before CES [International Consumer Electronics Show]."
Vuzix also makes wraparound sunglasses-style headgear called Wrap 1200VR that's not only 2-D and 3-D compatible on a 75-inch screen simulated at 10 feet, but also has head tracking for virtual reality. When your head really moves, it also moves in the game. Tharler described the experience as cool but nauseating. The eyewear costs about $600 but is out of stock online.
Another player in the space is iTVGoggles, which look like they're borrowed from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"'s La Forge. The 3-D goggles have an 80-inch virtual screen and cost about $450, but they're also out of stock online.
During CES, Tharler got to try on Sensics' Android SmartGoggles, which are in fact part of a whole helmet intended for 3-D, 360-degree gaming. He said the SmartGoggles made him look like "a balding Seinfeld crossed with a Stormtrooper." But he liked how comfortable, lightweight and untethered they were.
Plus he got to lurch around in them as a giant robot … which, considering all the headgear, is probably what we'll all be doing in a few years.