Xiaomi is unveiling its new AR smart glasses at MWC this week

March 2, 2023 – Xiaomi, a provider of consumer electronics and smart manufacturing solutions, announced its brand new Augmented Reality (AR) glasses with the launch of the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition at Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC 2023) this week.

The glasses represent Xiaomi’s first wireless AR device that uses distributed computing and offers a retina-level adaptive display that adapts to the light environment. With improved connectivity to a Snapdragon Spaces-enabled smartphone, the company’s new AR device enables innovative hand-tracking at a more refined level, supports a full range of applications for larger displays and, according to Xiaomi, offers innovations in compatibility between devices.

Connectivity on the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition

Instead of relying on a wired connection to a host computing device, Xiaomi AR glasses weigh only 126g and use high-speed connection buses developed by Xiaomi to achieve high-speed data connection from a smartphone. The company is built on the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 platform and features Xiaomi’s proprietary low-latency communication link. The company states that its glasses, which support Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR developer platform, offer a wireless latency of just 3 ms between a smartphone and the glasses , and a wireless connection that is comparable to wired solutions, with a full Connection latency as low as 50ms.

Lightweight AR glasses design

The Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition features a lightweight design that aims to minimize user’s physical burden by integrating magnesium-lithium alloy, carbon fiber parts and a self-developed silicon-oxygen anode battery. According to Xiaomi, the goggles have been precisely calibrated, with the company taking into account details such as center of gravity, leg spacing, angle, nose pad and other factors, all based on analysis of tens of thousands of head-tracking data samples.

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Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition Display and Optics

According to the company, the glasses are also among the first in the industry to achieve a display at “retina level”. Xiaomi noted that there is a “critical value” quality threshold for AR glasses, and when the angular resolution or PPD (pixels per degree) approaches 60, the human eye cannot distinguish the granularity. The PPD of the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glasses is 58.

Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass adopts a free-form optical module composed of a pair of MicroOLED screens, and also features free-form light-guiding prisms to achieve clear image display. These free-form prisms are able to perform complex refractions of light in a limited volume. The content displayed on the screen is reflected off three surfaces within the light-guiding prisms, resulting in a final presentation before the user’s eyes.

The AR glasses optical module design minimizes light leakage and produces clear and bright images with a brightness of up to 1200 nits, providing a strong foundation for AR applications. In addition, the AR glasses are equipped with electrochromic lenses that can adapt to different lighting conditions. These lenses enable a blackout mode that offers an immersive experience when viewing content, while the transparent mode creates a more vivid AR experience that blends reality and virtual elements.

Xiaomi’s innovative take on AR gesture control

Xiaomi’s new glasses also feature micro-gesture interactions, enabling one-handed gesture interaction for users by using the joints of the user’s inner fingers as the gesture recognition area. The company explained that the direction is oriented from the second joint of the middle finger, with the second joint of the index finger representing the upward direction. Combined with the surrounding areas, this forms a four-way directional button for basic movement operations. In addition, the 12 knuckles allow text input by thumb tapping in the finger area. The thumb sliding on the index finger is used to enter and exit applications. Looking ahead, Xiaomi stated that it hopes to enable sliding and typing operations through the random movement of the thumb in the palm.

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According to the company, these micro-gestures on the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass will allow users to perform daily app usage operations such as selecting and opening apps, swiping through pages, and exiting apps to return to the home page without using a smartphone use controls.

Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass incorporates a low-power AON camera that enables longer gesture interaction and simplifies functions. However, users can also opt for traditional smartphone controls that can be paired and used as gesture or touchpad controls.

Control smart devices in AR with the Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition

The glasses support a variety of large-screen applications, as well as popular apps like TikTok and YouTube. Additionally, the device’s AR capability allows users to place familiar apps anywhere in their viewing area and adjust their interface size via spatial gestures.

In addition, as a smart home solution provider, Xiaomi has integrated AR to bring users a unique experience. For example, Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass allows users to “grab” the screen of a typical TV screencast and then continue watching it on the glasses. Xiaomi has also extracted common operations from smart devices, allowing users to operate devices through AR scenes. For example, according to Xiaomi, when looking at a lamp, users can use spatial gestures to click a virtual button to turn that lamp on or off. The company has also integrated a spatial audio experience that allows virtual speakers to connect to the real environment.

Xiaomi Wireless AR Glasses Discovery Edition requires pairing with Xiaomi 13 or other Snapdragon Spaces enabled devices. The glasses are compatible with Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces, OpenXR and Microsoft MRTK development frameworks, and Xiaomi added that it intends to work closely with developers to accelerate the widespread adoption of AR.

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For more information on Xiaomi and its new AR glasses, visit the company’s website.

Image/Video Credit: Xiaomi/YouTube

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the founder and editor-in-chief of Auganix. With a background in research and reporting, he has been reporting on XR industry news for the past five years.