Sony is entering the smartglass market a mere two months after Google halted sales of its two-year-old Google Glass for further development.

Google announced in January that it would no longer be selling the device until a more polished, affordable version could be developed.

Likening the move to "an infant learning to walk", in a blog post Google stated that its Explorers - 10,000 users randomly selected to test the device in 2013 - "took those very first steps and taught us how to walk".

"Well, we still have some work to do, but now we're ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run," the post stated.

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The glasses attracted ridicule and controversy shortly after hitting the market, resulting in them being banned from restaurants and described as "the perfect stalkers tool" - coining the term "glassholes".

Google later released a of a do's and don'ts list for users, advising on appropriate use for the device.

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Google Glass' replacement could involve a patent filed by the company in 2012 to embed micro cameras and sensors into contact lenses - allowing their wearers to take photos, control their smartphones and surf the internet just by blinking.

Sony's foray onto the smart glass market has come with the launch late last month of its SmartEye SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 prototype.


The glasses feature a three megapixel CMOS image sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, brightness sensor, and microphone and are due to go on sale in 10 countries including Japan, United States, United Kingdom, and Germany later this month retailing for US$840 (NZ$1140).

Airline Virgin Atlantic announced last week that they would be embarking on an eight-week trial of the device alongside Sony's smartwatch.

The trial is due to begin this week at London's Heathrow where the airline will test how the devices can be used for real time communication between the engineering team on the aircraft and in support areas.

Virgin Atlantic said in a statement that they believe using the devices will enable engineers and technicians to remain on aircraft during turnarounds - helping to save valuable time.

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A Virgin Atlantic engineers demonstrates the use of Sony's SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 and SmartWatch3.
A Virgin Atlantic engineers demonstrates the use of Sony's SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 and SmartWatch3.

During the trial, engineers will receive notifications about any changes needed via the smartwatch and managers will be able to receive instant feedback.

Engineers will also use the smartglasses to take pictures or video of tasks they're working on, which will be linked to an app allowing engineers to request further technical assistance.

The SmartEyeglasses connect wirelessly with a compatible smartphone and are controlled by a hockey-pucked shaped controller connected by a wire which also contains the device's battery pack.

Microsoft is also working on its concept for the smartglass market with its HoloLenses, which, when worn project holograms onto the users' line of view in as an augmented reality platform.

Through its Windows 10 operating system "Microsoft HoloLens brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things".

A promotional video shows the glasses being used to play minecraft and in design applications.