Alpha glass by Alpha Labs has just been introduced on kickstarter. The glass main marketing feature is the same as laforge, which is "Casual AR" glasses but includes bone conduction hardware in it. My first impression of it is that the glasses looks bulky and to be frank, "quite ugly".
However, Alpha Labs introduction of the glasses got me thinking:
1) The size of Alpha Labs glasses somehow seems more realistic than Laforge glasses. I know Corey did justify the size of all its hardware on the Q&A video, but after looking at how bulky the competitor's glasses are, it makes me wonder if Laforge glass is real and achievable. (It could be due to the added camera & bone conduction hardware but somehow the differences is significant.)
2) The early bird price for Alpha Labs glass is $779 and this price only gives you a developer kit version with no promises that they would give you the final consumer set or any additional pair of glasses, which makes me wonder if Laforge $610 price for 2x glasses is for real.
3) Alpha Labs mentioned that there will be no prescription services available for their glasses and the frame will be standard in size while Laforge seems to be able to provide prescription services on top of customized frame for each and every glass. (So far even Vue and Zungle have also shown some constrain when it comes to glass customization)
4) Alpha labs already provided real life demo and preparing for public first look despite introducing their idea to the public only this month. Laforge has yet to demo or provide any first look even though the glasses is already set to deliver in summer.
> The whole thing makes me felt like Laforge glasses is slowly becoming a "too good to be true" thing.
With the constant delay from Laforge on the delivery date, no actual first look or even demo and slow updates, I just hope someone who participated the experiment 1 in real life with Corey could shed some light. I also hope that the "Order Status" page would be updated as written on the "next update date". I want to know what you guys think about this.
Ooh, a surprise...!?! :-)
@Brett: We are going to have something for you (and other pre-order holders) in the meantime. Announcement soon on that.
I just hope my duck tape and super glue holds out on my current specs. I really don't want to have to buy a new pair of glasses just to almost immediately replace them with my Shima.
I only ordered mine late last year, and kind of expected them to arrive sometime this summer, so hopefully just half a years delay compared to my initial estimate...
It's kind of crazy to stop and think about how long ago I originally thought I would have my Alpha. No one else has announced anything quite like this, though, and LaForge has their patents, so I expect that there is no danger in them taking the time to get it right.
So, a one-month delay according to the new update... 45 days until the first Alphas ship out in the beginning of November; that means I just might be lucky and get my Rev 3's this year.
Website, forum & other campaign requires effort and resources but those does not even cost a fraction of the money obtained from pre-order backers. One unit cost $610 and Laforge has close to 1,000 based on the invoice number last pre-ordered few months back or even much more, not counting some who ordered more than 1 unit, the interest earned from stashing the money on hedge fund is substantial and could easily fund a person cost of living without even using the fund itself. I am not saying Laforge is a scam but there are reasons to why people would be skeptical especially when a project being constantly delayed. One of the main reason being that there are many new tech companies out there being formed to scam for funding.
Here is one of an example :
Have you heard of Batband? People were furious that the project has been delayed for 2 whole years and sources found out that they actually delayed the project on purpose as they have been using the funding for "personal gains" rather than actually using it for R&D and production. They have used false marketing and advertisement to lure the backers and even staged fake demos and first look. They demoed the prototype 2 years ago with feedback from the "public" being amazing but the project delayed 2 years with constant excuse on having "development problem". Made no sense if the product is so incredible back then but needed 2 years to fix a product that was perceived by the public that is incredible. Nevertheless, they finally delivered the product few months ago and guess what? Their product is nowhere near as incredible as mentioned by the so called "public" that they demoed to 2 years ago or even as advertise. In fact, it was worse than bad to the point that every single one of the backers complained that it is an unusable product. Many backers speculated that the company had just bought cheap china bone conduction hardware and slap it onto a plastic band on the last minute of delivery just to fulfill their legal obligations. Well the silver lining is that at least they did not run away with the backers money.
With that being said, since Laforge is developing AR glasses and there is no such technology in the market yet, I believe the company won't be able to just get a knockoff to fulfill their end of the bargain like what Batband had done. Moreover, Laforge has given a clear time frame that production will begin no earlier than 30 days as at 7th July and no later than 90 days. So basically by mid of October, the first batch of alpha users would have received their glasses and I trust the rest would receive latest by end of the year (In case I'm putting words into the company's mouth, I hope Corey could verify this statement).
My two cents...
Considering the effort laid into the Laforge website, these forums, staging experiment 1 and the hardware showcased in videos and on Skype, I don't deem it likely that this is some sort of con.
I don't even see the tech as being far fetched, really; a processor handling data produced by the much more powerful processor in our smartphones, and a minute display sending an image into a reflector embedded in the glass-lenses? I'm guessing the most complicated process is their unique approach in marrying reflector-technology with lens production, creating a tailor-made piece of wearable tech...
The latest update indicates a production start on the Alpha units of early October at the latest. Lets be conservative, give Laforge a chance of getting their lens-production down and assume production will not start until the end of that estimate. With a production rate of 500 devices a month, I'm guessing I'll be getting mine at the start of December. During this production run and the subsequent testing, Laforge should be busy getting the details in place for the Beta units, so the production of these could realistically be set to late spring 2018. I'm guessing the Beta-bold version will be a refinement of the Beta units, so production of these could follow closely behind, perhaps late summer 2018.
All of this is assuming some tech giant doesn't decide to buy some research headway/IP, and give Laforge an offer they can't refuse...
I'm impressed by the level of openness lately.
The Shima does seem almost too good to be true, so it's exciting that it's going to happen!
1. We are waiting for approval. I operate no 'magic levers' here.
2. Order status is tied to your first question. There will be probably two updates for June (on more so for developers the other an update for a general audience)
3. When it comes to press we generally do the demos confidentially. We want for to secure certain story angles and the press wants to do certain storylines. What we are doing is common practice, in that you often talk to the press weeks and months in advance. It's the difference bewteen a blog post that comes of as an advertisement and one that is an editorial. There is a story to tell and people want to see how the story unfolds before writing about it.
As for the forum there were some issues, caused by me, that ripped the heart out of the forums and work is being done to resurrect it.
A final note to you is that the purpose of this forum is to exhange ideas and support the Company's vision. Asking the "when" question about every week moves nothing forward. Implying that we are not forthright or hiding things moves nothing forward. I am asking you to redirect your energy into something that helps us move things forward.
People on this site reach out to me directly and we exchange ideas, we work on things together: we dream, we conceptualize, we create. I'm not aware of any other AR project online that gives people more information or access to the creators than LAFORGE Optical. Look at how much time you have spent 'making noise' about how we could be illigeitmate and how little 'action' you have done to move the industry forward. We have prototypes, patents, trade secrets, samples, investment, and partnerships: all key ingredients one needs to develop something of value. We cannot predict every problem. We can only manage them once they occur.
What is you role going to be in this community? How are you going to help?
Thanks for the response.
I do know your constrain and I do hope everything could come in place. I apologies if my message come across as an offence but there are many questions left hanging :
1) Can the glass be shipped in summer as advertise or will there be another delay again?
2) Is there a new update on the progress this month and will the Order Status be updated as shown?
3) Was wondering why no one talk about the demos on the net.
The forum seems quiet these days...
@HolyPredator: Here are some comments:
1: You are comparing two different products, by two companies, trying to acheive two different things. So I would expect two different sizes. Per our numerous email updates, we have shown our circuit board design and even produced about a dozen of these that function. I'm not sure how comparing sizes of components proves or disproves anything.
2. We are intentionally taking a loss on the alpha versions and will make profit on the beta. The purpose of the alpha is to perform tests on human factors and convert assumptions into hypotheses for testing. You should note that LAFORGE Optical is backed by investors not by pre-orders. In short, the price difference shows a difference in strategy between the two companies.
3. We are able to provide virtually any prescription because our core tech is embedded within the lens. Prescriptions are something that occur on top of the lens by removing and polishing material. Our lenses undergo the same processes as conventional prescription eyewear. If you would like you should come do to LA and check us out or fly to Korea and get a tour of the factory where we do R&D to see just how we can do this. When it comes to lenses, we are not talking about what we could do, we are talking about what we have done.
4. We do demos all the time. We just did one last month at UploadLA, one at CES, and another will occur this week at UploadLA. You just have to know where they are.
When comparing boats and planes its not a good idea imply they are the same because they both have engines.
Don't forget, we offer a refund on your pre-order at anytime.