Augmented Reality
ORA-X raises the Glass bar for a twist on augmented reality

Augmented reality is one of the hottest emerging technologies right now. But it remains to be seen if the category will attract mass consumer appeal because AR devices tend to be bulky headsets that are specifically designed to exploit the technology.

patent-claimedORA-X, on the other hand, are over-the-ear audio headphones equipped with a Google Glass-like retractable, see-through projection display. Virtual video content is overlaid on the display, but doesn’t block out the outside world like AR devices such as the Oculus Rift or SEER.

ORA-X’s makers have 13 patents for the device’s core technology, according to the project’s Indiegogo campaign. ORA-X has a retail price of $599, but early bird backers can order one in advance at pricing that starts at $349. Shipment is expected to start in May. Its makers hope to raise $150,000 by Nov. 24.

One advantage that ORA-X has over other wearable AR devices is that it has a practical everyday use even if users get tired of using its AR functionality. But it remains to be seen if consumers interested in AR will select ORA-X over a device like Oculus Rift that is solely focused on providing an immersive AR experience –- especially when one factors in the fact that Google Glass, the device that ORA-X’s display is most like, was hardly a success.

 

Jeff Berman is a Long Island-based freelance reporter, who has also contributed stories to publications including TheStreet and the consumer electronics magazines Dealerscope and TWICE. He previously worked as a senior editor and deputy managing editor of the trade newsletter Consumer Electronics Daily, published by Warren Communications News.