Do we have to say it? Fine. The form factor of Vufine’s devices is familiar. What will blow your mind is how little it matters to the investors on Kickstarter. They backed the first version 400 times over the campaign goals.
That version suffered some design flaws. It was heavy. It was hard to read text. It wasn’t adjustable. Version 2, now on Kickstarter, aims to correct all those issues.
What’s even more interesting is the Kickstarter comments. There are multiple entries from frustrated backers of the first version who’ve reinvested in version two. It’s like some sort of technical Stockholm syndrome, where the backers have come to love their captors.
We’re going to outline exactly what is Vufine, how the plus version differs from the first one, then weigh in on this wearable beast.
Vufine (A.K.A. Not Glass)
So what is Vufine, exactly? It’s a heads-up display (HUD). The big difference from a hardware standpoint, separating Vufine from the esteemed Google Glass is the lack of an independent processor.
While Glass worked better when paired with a smartphone or any faster processor, Google designed Glass to live without help from your phone. Vufine is just a display.
There are some display variances too. Glass projected the HUD on an opaque cube of glass. You couldn’t see through that display, but light would pass through it. Vufine’s display blocks light and a portion of your field of view. (FOV).
That said, it’s a sharper display image than Glass, especially in version two. Vufine is also something you can actually purchase because the Glass project is on hold for now. Google never escaped the gravity of the development phase.
Also, Vufine is cheap compared to Glass, way cheaper, like more than $1000 cheaper.
Last but so not least, Vufine can strap onto any pair of glasses. Who’s to say what the final Glass options would have been, but Google limited the developer versions to a few frame styles.
Version 2.0 (Vufine+)
Biases aside, this seems to improve on some issues from the first Vufine. The first version was not as adjustable as version two. With this rendition, you will be able to move the HUD up, down or more to the left in your FOV.
The first version of Vufine maxed out at 720p, but this new version will offer 1080p. They’ve also increased the size of the screen to allow for more display options.
The ability to put the HUD where you want and the increase in quality may solve the display issues folks had with version one, but what about weight? For some people, the first version was too heavy. It would tilt their glasses over like a drunk.
Ostensibly, one could use one of the accessory mounts for a hat or headband instead of glasses, but if you were hoping to not add more weight to your daily load, this solution may sound disappointing.
Vufine+, with it’s mounting bracket, weighs 33 grams. The original Vufine was 26 grams. It seems folks will still suffer tilted frames.
For this reviewer, it’s easy to see everything about Vufine that it is not, especially compared to Glass. To be fair, I didn’t rush to line up for Glass line either.
For my money, the kind of HUD tech found in the Shima glasses is preferable, but it’s nowhere near as high definition. Somewhere between the two the is a Goldilocks middle where we will finally enjoy a HUD without looking like cyborgs.
Vufine+ will work for industrial uses, but we doubt individuals will put these on while riding the Metro. They’re too bulky to wear without getting mad stares.
Considering that many of us tech-geeks aren’t the most confident folks, still recovering from high school bullies, additional attention in this regard could be unwelcome.
Whatever we think, backers don’t appear to care. They’ve just launched Vufine+ on Kickstarter and it’s about halfway to goal. They’ll get the funding they need.
Hopefully, that means that version 3.0 will start cutting some weight. It would be nice to see a Bluetooth feature too. The cord hanging from the unit looks annoying.
The plus version lasts about 90-minutes on one charge, so they’ll have to get creative with battery power to go wireless. Maybe solar panels? Nuclear? A pin-prick of uranium could power it for eons.
Hey, if you’re gonna dream, get crazy.