Tucked in a corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall this week is the booth of a company called Vuzix. And while this company’s booth is modest by CES (News - Alert) (News - Alert) show standards and it’s not what you’d call a hot startup, Vuzix nonetheless is seeing a lot of visitors and a fair amount of buzz.
Vuzix, a public company that got its start in 1997, sells digital eyewear products. Mike Hallett, director of sales, explained that the first application for its products was to enable people to more easily and discretely view video content. But the company today sells optical devices used both in commercial and consumer applications.
However, the hot area in the Vuzix booth this week is the space demoing its M100 device. It’s a thumb-sized device, which attaches to a headband, which you look into with just one eye to view media. Hallett said that the M100, which will be available for less than $500 starting this summer, allows for “information snacking” – meaning you can use it to glance regularly at your Twitter (News - Alert) (News - Alert) feed, Facebook (News - Alert) page, a digital map, or any type of thing you would do on your smartphone. Hallett adds that a person could use the M100 while walking to check locations on a Google (News - Alert) (News - Alert) map or use a translation app to read a sign in a different language.
Image via http://www.vuzix.com/consumer/products_m100ag.html
“We don’t really condone driving a car with it,” he added.
While the M100, for which Vuzix is not ready to discuss its go-to-market strategy, appears to be generating a fair amount of interest, Hallett told us that the Holy Grail for Vuzix is a product called the B2500. This looks like a pair of sunglasses, but can allow the user to do anything they would do with a smartphone. Initially, this product works with the user’s smartphone, allowing the user to control apps using buttons on the side of the glasses. But the future plan is to offer smartphone-like capabilities without the requirement of a smartphone – and to enable the user to manipulate apps, data and services using gestures, he said.