Epson pitches its Moverio BT-300 glasses as your ideal drone companion

Alex Kidman 28 June 2017 NEWS


Why watch your drone through a smartphone screen when you can stare directly through its camera?

Drone controllers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as do the drones themselves. Some simply utilise a paired smartphone for a direct drone's-eye view of the action, while others offer head-mounted displays that bear a striking resemblance to full VR rigs. Although in that latter case, you may find yourself running afoul of CASA's rules when it comes to drone usage in Australia, which state that you must keep your drone within your sight at all times. Wearing something that obscures your vision entirely almost certainly wouldn't pass the test.

Epson has today launched a solution to that problem in the form of its third generation Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses. If you recall the hype around Google Glass and its augmented reality approach, you'll grasp the Moverio concept right away. It uses an OLED-based display to insert a small visual element into your field of vision, but because the Moverio glasses are entirely transparent, you can look straight through them or even converse with someone else while watching the display.

Epson has been producing Moverio glasses for a couple of years now, but stated at the launch that it's seen more sales of smart glasses in the last three months than in the previous 12 months. This is largely down to the enthusiasm with which drone operators have taken to using the glasses for all kinds of aerial photography and videography. Because you can watch the takeoff of your drone while wearing the glasses and seeing what's transmitted through your drone's camera, it's much easier to manoeuvre around obstacles or pick exactly the right angle for a shot.

The shift over to OLED has enabled Epson to massively increase the contrast available in projection, which is important when viewing content in bright light. In a demonstration setting, we were able to see the display even when facing the sky, although it was much improved with a darker background, or the optional sunglasses-style lenses inserted on top of the Moverio BT-300 frames for added contrast.

Epson's contention is that the BT-300 Smart Glasses could be used in a wide variety of fields, from medical education all the way through to helping Manchester United train:

They could even be used for the removal of garbage from power lines in China. We don't recommend fitting a flamethrower to your drone for obvious reasons, but this still looks insanely cool and is a good example of a situation where you would want very precise visual control over where your drone was going.

The Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses run on Android 5.1 using an Intel Atom X5 processor and are available from Epson Australia's website today for $1,199 outright.

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