Augmented reality (AR) technology is about seeing virtual content and information in the real world around you, whether you’re looking through a smartphone or a pair of smart glasses.
But can there be augmented reality without a visual element? Audio-hardware firm Bose hopes so. It has been showing off a pair of AR sunglasses that use audio rather than visuals, with buzzphrases like “audio augmented platform” and “glasses to hear”.
What this means is a concept pair of specs with technology to project audio into the wearer’s ears (rather than making them wear an earbud attachment).
“Bose AR doesn’t change what you see, but knows what you’re looking at – without an integrated lens or phone camera,” is how the company pitched it to CNET. “And rather than superimposing visual objects on the real world, Bose AR adds an audible layer of information and experiences, making every day better, easier, more meaningful, and more productive.”
Examples including translating signs in a foreign language; audio descriptions of artworks that the wearer is looking at; weather forecasts and restaurant recommendations while walking down the street, etc.
Bose is also launching a $50m development fund to solicit content ideas: there may be something musical to be done here, for enterprising developers (and maybe even labels?)