Hololens and Vuzix with Unity

Vuzix and Hololens devices Lucas Cosson | 2016/11/30

“Hololens is awesome but Vuzix is practical”. Both can provide text, images, 3D models, sound, voice recognition, augmented reality and gesture recognition (in a different manner). Bluetooth and wireless technology on both device offer connectivity with other devices and the Internet.

Beginning of 2016, Microsoft unveiled their Hololens headset. The world discovered anew way of interaction with applications. By July the same year, we at Softability Studio already received our first Hololens headsets. Six months later, we delivered Hololens proof-of-concept projects for medical device manufacturers (Thermo Fisher, Perkin Elmer), agriculture industry (MTech Digital Solutions) or construction (Skanska). Hololens is more than impressive, but it won’t solve all of our customer issues, so we need to continue looking for new devices. This is where we introduce Vuzix.

Working with Unity engine

Many of our customers were curious to first see Hololens and interested in knowing how it could enhance their businesses or operations. But working in an industrial environment you are often faced with health and safety issues. Those requirements presents challenges for the Hololens headset. We then decided to start looking into Vuzix smart glasses.

Check the video: https://youtu.be/wPfwt118T6o

For our development, we try to limit our dependencies, so we mostly use Unity engine for all tech application.
The first challenge was to make things work with Vuzix SDK on Unity engine. Vuzix is running on Android so we created an integration between their code and ours. We are now in a position to develop projects almost seamlessly for both devices (Hololens and Vuzix) with Unity. This gives our customers a fast and easy way to compare which device is more suitable for their purposes.

Hololens is awesome, Vuzix is practical

When using Hololens for the first time, you act like a kid on Christmas. What you see and how you interact with holograms is quite mind-blowing. But there are cases when you don’t need such an advanced level of technology and you only need to visualize information in its most simple style. This is where Vuzix comes in: it is simple, efficient and and can be worn with a hard helmet or safety glasses.

End of 2016, we approached a global manufacturer for large industrial vehicles here in Finland. Their attending director summarized both tools in a most appropriate way: “Hololens is awesome but Vuzix is practical”. Both can provide text, images, 3D models, sound, voice recognition, augmented reality and gesture recognition (in different manners). Bluetooth and wireless technology on both device offer connectivity with other devices and the Internet.

Remote support is also a possible solution. The user on the field can be assisted by an expert in a remote control room.

Check the video: https://youtu.be/UlpGDrSmg38

Hololens offers support through the usual Skype channel.

Check the video: https://youtu.be/4QiGYtd3qNI

So basically, it all boils down to the experience one is willing to get. For a blowing away wow effect, Hololens is a better fit. For optimize productivity, as for now, Vuzix seems to be a more appropriate choice. Finances may also play a factor as Vuzix M100 is available at €1000 when Hololens costs as much as $3000 at the moment.

In some cases, the classic mobile app is simply the best choice. They are affordable and everyone can use them right away. We have seen interest for AR and QR recognition applications on Android but thanks to Unity also iOS and UWP are possible platforms.

QR code recognition application at Softability
QR code recognition application at Softability

About Softability Studio

We develop new technology applications for medical and industrial device manufacturers (assembly work and/or maintenance) and construction businesses among others. Development expands from mobile platforms (Unity, Xamarin) to back-end support (Azure), providing Augmented Reality, Hololens ,ODG, Vuzix, QR technology, Occulus Rift or GearVR.

For inquiries, please contact our Sales Manager mikko.luukkonen(a)softability.fi.

Softability Studio is a subdivision of Softability Group Oy.

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