The potential for augmented reality is pretty awesome, but the actual application has mostly fallen short so far. Strapping a bulky headset over your face is a tough sell for most people, but one new product offers a pretty clever alternative that we actually wouldn’t mind wearing in public.
The ORA-X combines a pair of high-quality headphones with augmented reality. It features a small retinal display that can sit flush with your headphones or slide forward to cover your eye. It’s similar to Google Glass, though this device runs a full version of Android with a trackpad and buttons to control the volume, go back or see your recent apps.
“A lot of people talk about gesture recognition,” company co-founder and CEO Kayvan Mirza told TechnoBuffalo. “We don’t believe in that.”
For all its futuristic technology, the ORA-X is still a great set of headphones at its core. It features 50mm drivers and built-in microphones for noise isolation. Mirza noted that the audio components actually take up more space than the Android specs.
That retina display is a lot more exciting though, and there’s tons you can do with it. Since ORA-X runs a full version of Android with access to Google Play, you could load up pretty much any app you want. That could mean anything from Angry Birds to Google Maps to Twitter, though none of those were actually designed with augmented reality in mind. The company also has an open SDK for any developers working on AR-specific software.
The ORA-X packs a 2000mAh battery that should get you through a full day of use, assuming you’re only looking at the display about 10 or 15 percent of the time. It also offers 8GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a microUSB port and Bluetooth for connecting to your smartphone. Mirza thinks 8GB should be enough for most cases, though he’s willing to add expandable storage as a crowd-funding stretch goal.
You can pre-order the ORA-X on Indiegogo for as little as $349 (plus shipping), though that early bird special is limited to 100 people. The first 100 units should be ready to ship by May 2016, while most orders won’t arrive until a month after that.
We’re curious to see how it actually feels and works in person, but overall this seems like a pretty genius idea. After all, even the biggest technophobes out there probably feel pretty comfortable throwing on a pair of headphones. ORA-X turns one of the most commonplace gadgets on earth into something futuristic and exciting.