Vuzix Inc. will show off a couple of smart glasses that can talk to Amazon.com Inc.’s voice-activated digital partner and display data to the wearer’s field of view, Vuzix Chief Executive Officer Paul Travers stated in an interview. Vuzix’s Alexa combination is part of an Amazon program that supports third-party hardware makers to put the digital assistant into their products. In October, Sonos Inc. revealed a smart speaker with Alexa’s system for testing music playback. The strategy is planned to put Amazon’s service, which creates revenue for the company, in as many places as possible to sell major products.
Amazon validated that Rochester, New York-based Vuzix’s design will be the first smart glasses with Alexa. The business is “excited about the potential of the glasses and the capacity to bring Alexa to consumers in a new way,” a company spokeswoman said. Vuzix’s shares progressed 8.5 percent to $7 at 2:04 p.m. in New York after surging as much as 16 percent on the news.
Voice assistants and augmented-reality goods will be highlighted at next week’s CES customer electronics show. Officials from Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant will be asking new partners and other big technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc.’s Oculus group, will be at the show after the scenes as they ramp up their virtual-reality and augmented-reality products. AR is a technology that superimposes digital information so as maps, text messages and more onto a person’s view of the original world, while VR submerses a user into a completely different digitally constructed world.
Vuzix will release its AR glasses by the second quarter at a price of about $1,000, Travers said. While it’s a “high price point,” he said, “the final goal is to have it under $500, and we’ll be able to do that” by 2019. Wearers, who need be Amazon customers or become Amazon customers to allow Alexa’s capabilities, could, for example, ask the digital assistant to pull up a map or display sports numbers on the glasses.
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