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Wearable Tech

Lumus DK40 smartglasses are your personal HUD (hands-on)

One of the best demonstrations of wearable glasses at CES 2014 comes from a company that isn't even trying to make them.

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LAS VEGAS -- Don't call it a pair of smartglasses. The Lumus DK40 is a frame that has more than a passing resemblance to Google Glass, yes, and it does project information on a surface. Yet Lumus, the company behind the yellow, orange, and slate-colored frames, isn't trying to sell the glasses at all. Instead, the Israeli-based company is trying to sell the optics.

The Lumus is a well thought-out working prototpye of a personal head-up display, or HUD -- like the kind you'd find in high-end car dashes and in military equipment.

While many of the other smartglasses here at the show used plastic lenses that obscured my vision, this was crystal clear. And rather than looking at a semi-blurry square image, Lumus' smartframes cast a blue image of any shape in the center of the field of vision for your right eye.

The crew here sprinkled the room with fun easter eggs like mapping coordinates, Twitter posts, a Facebook update, and a Yelp review.

Perhaps the most important difference between the Lumus DK40 and others, apart from using actual glass lenses, is that there'e no fat cube of a beam splitter, or awkward separate projector screen. Lumus, a 13-year veteran in the field, has embedded prisms as part of a coating onto the glass. Though they appear striped when you look at them, your eye glues them together to form a cohesive image.

The optics are definitely Lumus' strong point. Although the actual frames that house the HUD are the most complete and polished here at the show, they're still lopsided, heavy, and -- for me -- ill-fitting. Lumus projects that its optical technology will graduate to commercial frames in about a year or year and a half.

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