There’s a new push to make smart glasses the next big thing and these are perhaps the most impressive yet – TCL has unveiled the Thunderbird Smart Glasses Pioneer Edition. They use a micro-LED display with a waveguide developed in-house over the past three years. It’s a transparent color screen, so they look like regular glasses.
TCL has developed a micro-LED screen and a waveguide capable of creating a color image
This sets them apart from Xiaomi’s conceptual smart glasses, which only featured a monochrome display that also used micro-LEDs. In either case, the LEDs are tiny, only 4 µm, but the TCL team has developed a proprietary algorithm that allows Thunderbird glasses to display a color image.
Watch the video below for a demonstration of what can be done with smart glasses. Basically, the goal is to replace your smartphone or at least its screen to begin with. You can read news, view messages, check your schedule, control your smart home, and more, all with the added bonus that the glasses are a screen always in front of you.
The demo also shows that the glasses have a built-in camera (which sits on the bridge of the nose). You can take photos, which are automatically transferred to your phone. There are no details on the camera or the glasses themselves in this first announcement.
Right now, it seems like you still need your phone to provide internet connectivity and most smart features, the glasses are mostly a screen with simple touch controls on the side.
TCL has not disclosed when the Thunderbird Smart Glasses Pioneer Edition will be available to consumers or how much it will cost.
PS. you might remember the Ray-Ban Stories that recently launched smart glasses with Wayfarer design. These don’t have a display, however, and neither does the Razer Anzu. Additionally, yesterday’s HTC Vive Flow is a VR headset (although it does have cameras, so it can sort of function as glasses). Having a screen puts the Thunderbirds (and Xiaomi Conceptual Glasses) in a whole different category, even though they’re all colloquially referred to as ‘smart glasses’.