Eric Cheng

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Avegant Glyph Founder's Edition personal theater is here!

The Avegant Glyph Founder's Edition

In January of 2014, the Glyph personal theater launched on Kickstarter, raising $1,509,506 from their stated $250,000 goal. 2 years later, the Avegant Glyph is finally real! I stopped by Avegant HQ on Feb 4, 2016, to pick up my Glyph Founder's Edition (I was an original backer), which is finally shipping to backers this week.

The headset's picture looks great. At CES this year, I stopped by a couple other personal theater manufacturers' booths and looked at their offerings. Almost all of them offered either tiny virtual screens, pixelated video, or some unfortunate combination of both. The Avegant Glyph's reflected micro-mirror display has no visible pixels and looks good even at it's 720p input resolution.

And now, for something a bit controversial. Avegant has gone through a lot of trouble to put head tracking into their headsets. Some backers complain that this might have been a misguided effort, arguing that Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) should have been prioritized over head tracking in a device ostensibly designed for airplane use. I don't know the specific decisions that led to ANC being left out, but it's likely that Avegant had to make some compromises to actually ship units (as opposed to so many other crowd-funded projects that end up failing and never shipping). I think ANC would be hugely useful on an airplane or train, and it will certainly be missed. But having head tracking is cool because the head tracker simulates a USB mouse, meaning that you can plug it into most computers and some other devices, and it just works. There will eventually be an SDK to explicitly support head tracking, but developers can just treat headset movements by designing for a USB-connected mouse, for now. There are 2 head tracking sensitivity settings, but applications will likely have to specifically target the Glyph for calibrated 1:1 movements, which will be important when navigating virtual spaces. I'm told that the 2nd (slow) setting maps perfectly to the DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter's gimbal. I haven't tried it on official Inspire 1 firmware yet, but should be able to plug the Avegant into an Inspire 1 controller's USB port and have it just work (with the latest firmware from DJI).

Anyway, on to the pictures!