Formula 1 fans will no doubt be aware that the F1 Grand Prix comes to Australia this weekend, and Epson – a sponsor of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team – took a few of us to Melbourne to talk about their partnership with the racing brand and to show off some of their tech.

The venue? Mercedes’ new concept store – Mercedes Me – next door to Melbourne’s Rialto tower.

An exceedingly stylish space, Epson put the venue to good use to show off how its products can be used to enhance the experience of others, and in this particular example, how those products can be used to enhance the retail experience for car buyers.

While some of Epson’s gear is fancy – the LightScene laser projector is something I’d love to have at home to watch TV with – it didn’t quite catch my eye as much as Epson’s Moverio BT-300 smart glasses.

While this isn’t a new product, the demonstration combining AR and retail sales was quite interesting. Wearing the glasses, I was able to see further details about two cars parked on site, as well as see how AR could bring the retail experience – quite literally – to life.

What was most cool is these glasses are powered by Android. Admittedly, it’s an older version – Android 5.1 Lollipop, in fact – but that’s probably less important than what the glasses can achieve.

Aim them at an AR (Augmented Reality) activation zone, and content quite literally springs out of the scene. While you can’t see what I saw through the heads-up display, you can see something very close – Epson had a mobile on site which could show what the glasses were showing at the time:

While this was interesting, I really wanted to see what the glasses could do elsewhere. Unfortunately, as time was limited, this wasn’t really an option, but I’m keen to continue the conversation with Epson and see what else we could do with these smartglasses in a real-world application.

With Google Maps starting to offer AR navigation, and Translate being able to live-translate from camera input, we’d love to see some smartglasses applications developed to use these tools; how handy would that be in a foreign city?

It feels like there’s a lot of buzz about VR and AR and what they can do for us, but this was a practical demonstration of how AR can enhance existing experiences. I guess ‘Augmented’ kind of hints at how the tech can help.

Epson hosted Ausdroid in Melbourne for the day to attend this product demonstration. 

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Daniel Narbett

Ditto on wanting to see more glasses augmented reality in action – let us know if you can get more play time!