Chinese tech giant Xiaomi unveiled its first pair of smart glasses today, sensibly called Xiaomi Smart Glasses. They aren’t a product you can buy for now, as the company calls the concept device “an engineer’s look into an advanced future.” With the world’s largest smartphone manufacture expressing interest though, it may mean we’ll be hearing a lot more about consumer smart glasses in the years to come.
Hot on the heels of Facebook & Ray-Ban’s Stories camera glasses, Xiaomi released a video showing off its own concept smart eyewear which not only includes a 5MP camera and speakers, but also a microLED display that serves up information such as notifications, turn-by-turn directions, and real-time text and photo translations.
Based around a quad-core ARM processor running Android, Xiaomi Smart Glasses are said to contain a microLED on silicon chip measuring 2.4mm × 2.02mm, something the company says is roughly the size of a grain of rice, with individual pixels sized at 4μm.
For a concept that may or may not be built, Xiaomi doesn’t boast specs like a full RGB display, rather showing one in green monochrome that’s supposed to optimize for brightness—2 million nits, Xiaomi says—serving info to the user’s right eye via waveguide optics.
Xiaomi Smart Glasses house a single 5MP camera for taking photos and doing machine learning tasks like translating text between languages. Like Ray-Ban Stories, an adjacent indicator light is included so others know when its in-use. The whole package is said to weigh in at only 51g, which is about the weight of two alkaline AA batteries.
The company is positioning it as a standalone device that won’t act as a “second screen” for your smartphone. That’s a bit of a stretch for now though since it only has a few functions, such as displaying basic notifications, incoming calls, turn-by-turn navigation, taking photos, and serving up what it claims is “real-time text and photo translations.”
Optical wearables such as smart glasses and AR headsets (learn about the difference here) are still in such an early state that input is far from solved. Xiaomi says its primary input will be handled by XiaoAi AI voice assistant, which can do things like audio-to-text transcription. It’s also said to contain a touchpad, which is ostensibly integrated into one of the glasses’ arms.
It’s uncertain if Xiaomi Smart Glasses are simply a “what if” at this point, or if it’s truly looking to productize the fledgling wearable in the near future. Xiaomi generally seems at home making smaller design risks to better differentiate itself from Samsung and Apple, with things like retracting selfie cameras and edge-to-edge displays making headlines. That said, if Xiaomi is gearing up to enter a market, you can bet they’ll bring their patent one-upmanship to the table in any class of smart device they produce.