At first glance, the Glyph headphones from Redwood City-based startup Avegant look chunky, but there’s a good reason: there is a pair of screens inside the headband. When you slide the band over your eyes, you might look like Star Trek’s Geordi, but you’ll be watching video in an immersive environment.
Avegant’s been working this concept as well as screens that go up close to your eyes since a successful Kickstarter in 2013, and according to the company the Glyph uses “micromirror retinal projection” technology, which should help reduce eye strain.
Aside from the two 1280 x 720 panels for your eyes, the Glyph should be great on the ears as well. It will have active noise canceling and can connect to a music player wirelessly through Bluetooth. The headphones manage a three-hour battery life while watching video, so users will need to recharge the cans with a micro USB cable.
How do you pipe video in to the Avegant Glyph? It’s got an HDMI port, so you can plug a Roku or laptop computer into the headphones like you would a television. Avegant said that with the right cables, it should be able to display content from smartphones as well.
Headphones could be an interesting vehicle for virtual reality headsets in the future. Unfortunately, the Glyph is only a video headset for now. Although it has the requisite sensors to track the user’s movement, like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, the Glyph isn’t doing head-tracking at the moment. It also doesn’t have a camera, ruling out augmented reality applications.
For now, Avegant thinks its Glyph is a better device for watching video than a standard mobile device. “Where does [the movie] experience suck? Anytime you’re watching on your phone or tablet,”Avegant CTO and founder Allan Evans said to Re/Code. The company plans to target the Glyph at frequent fliers when it launches this fall for $599.