Google’s Project Glass may be getting most of the attention, but companies like Meta are joining the fray. Meta has partnered with Epson to create Meta 1 augmented reality headset that allow virtual objects to be controlled in 3D space by using hand gestures.
Meta launched the Meta 1 Developer Kit, the first hardware/software package for full augmented reality on Kickstarter. Here’s what you should know about the company and the device.
1. Meta Was Founded by Meron Gribetz
Back in December of 2012, Meta was founded by Meron Gribetz and has received help from Columbia University professor Steve Feiner, an experienced developer in the field of of augmented reality technology. Gribetz says Meta was inspired by the interfaces in films like Iron Man, Avatar and Minority Report.
2. Meta Partnered With Epson
Meta has a software partnership with 3D game-engine maker Unity-Technology, and a hardware partnership with Epson. Meta partnered with Epson to break into the nascent wearable device market. In addition to the backing of Epson, Meta has 15 graduate and undergraduate students from Columbia University developing the product.The Meta began as a project based on Epson’s Moverio BT-100 3D headset. Epson was impressed with Meta and signed a deal. Meron Gribetz said the plan is to work with Epson to further develop the product with the addition of OLED displays and finding other ways to optimize battery life.
3. The 3D Camera Tracks Hand Movements
Meta’s 3D camera is used to track hand movements. Resolution that goes down to an individuals fingertips is supported. “Thumbs up” movement and a “Like” post on Facebook can be recognized. It also has integrated WiFi and runs Android.
4. Meta Supports Unity 3D Software
Developers can create apps via Unity 3D and includes SDK on Windows computers. According to the team, other platforms will arrive later, developers will be able to publish apps in the Meta Store.
5. Meta Launched a Kickstarter Campaign
Meta launched on Kickstarter today and will also be participating in the next Y Combinator batch in Mountain View, California. Backers who commit $750 will receive an early version, which will be shipped in September. The Meta 1 is half the price of Google Glass Explorer, which makes it a more realistic investment for developers on a budget. Gribetz launched the Kickstarter campaign to build awareness of the Meta 1 device and is looking to reach his goal of $100,000 so the company can sell a “few hundred or a thousand of them.” The success of Meta’s Kickstarter campaign will fund completion of the SDK and distribution of the completed device. Apps developed in the first phase will contribute to the consumer edition meta2 device, which will be sporty glasses with all-day functionality.