Mapping out the future of AR, ThirdEye is taking on Google and Microsoft in real-life scenarios
It takes a particular kind of chutzpah go up against the behemoths, especially when it comes to AR glasses. We already have Microsoft’s Hololens and Google Glass is being marketed as an enterprise device. But ThirdEye thinks its up for the challenge.
ThirdEye is a spin-off of a project for the Department of Defense. Stealthily, it has been making steady in-roads into the AR smart glasses and the accompanying AI software space.
The ThirdEye glasses may look like safety goggles — and they are, to some degree — but they do much more. The company’s second-gen X2 MR lets people access documents or schematics hands-free while working on a project. Live digital information can be projected onto the user’s field of view; it can also relay live images to a tablet or phone, allowing colleagues to provide guidance or oversee an activity. There’s also a low-resolution thermal sensor built into the glasses. And they’re lightweight.
The company quickly found a customer in the military, which is making use of the tech for classified things. But, ThirdEye CEO Nick Cherukuri told TechCrunch that the glasses could be used for more mundane applications, as well, like helping technicians make repairs in remote settings.
And that’s just the beginning. ThirdEye’s technology became especially important during the pandemic; the glasses allowed for clearer treatment options and diagnoses without too many people having to come into contact with each other. ThirdEye saw its opportunity and developed HIPAA-compliant telehealth AR software to go with it.
In August 2022, the U.K.’s National Health Service launched a trial where community nurses wore the goggles when making home visits. By transcribing a patient’s visit record directly to their notes (with their consent), the company says its glasses could reduce the amount of time nurses spent focusing on paperwork rather than with their patients.
The glasses could also help to reduce the need for doctors’ appointments or even hospital admissions by allowing health care professionals to share live footage with colleagues, giving patients an opportunity to get second opinions or more detailed diagnoses. The thermal imaging sensor can be used to assess wound healing, too.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.